Sunday, March 6, 2016

Willie Mays: 3/6/16

I'll get around to posting a full Spring Training recap, but this man deserves a post of his own. The "Say Hey Kid" Mr. Willie Mays...

Had someone told me that I'd get the opportunity to meet Willie Mays, I probably wouldn't have believed them. After all, he is 84, not in the greatest of health, and he's just one of those iconic figures that you could never even dream of meeting. But as we (a friend and myself) were on our way back to California, I found out about a special event and high-tailed it back to Phoenix. The event was far from free, but it was worth every penny.

For those that don't know, Mays can't physically sign in pen. He actually hasn't been able to for a few years now. His eye sight and grip is too bad to hold a pen, so he has to sign everything in Sharpie. I knew that going into the event, but I was surprised at how many people did not.

It was an amazing opportunity to meet Mr. Mays and a memory that I won't be forgetting anytime soon. Sure, I could go online and buy an autographed baseball, but that doesn't even compare to meeting him, shaking his hand, and getting a photograph with him. Again, I'll have a full Spring Training recap soon. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

LA Dodgers Fan Fest: 1/30/16

The Los Angeles Dodgers held their annual Fan Fest at Dodger Stadium on January 30, 2016. Fan Fests are always the first taste of a new baseball season, and since the Angels haven't had one since 2011, I'm usually left relying on the Dodgers.

I was fortunate enough to snag two Chase Utley autograph vouchers from the Dodgers website. Many of the autograph sessions were already sold out by the time the vouchers were made available to the general public, so I was just happy to get two from the main guy that I wanted. Luckily everything went smoothly and I was able to get a pair of baseballs signed by Utley.

I also picked up a Joc Pederson autograph voucher off of eBay. I had some extra money to spend after flipping a few items and decided to splurge a bit to get my 2015 All-Star jersey signed.

As great as the jersey came out, I walked away pretty disappointed at the way Joc acted. He barely looked up at fans and literally threw a fit when I asked him to use my pen. It's more disappointing than anything since technically it was a "paid event" and I wasn't expecting to be scoffed at for asking someone to sign with my pen.

Trayce Thompson was also signing with Joc and thankfully he was as nice as could be.

He also had no problem using my pen, so thanks Trayce.

Overall it was a nice day and a good way to (sort of) begin the baseball season. Even as an Angels fan, I must admit that the Dodgers know how to treat their fans well. I should have a Spring Training post up by the beginning of the season, but until then, thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Johnny Bench: 12/19/15

December is usually a slow month for graphing, but thankfully the OC Dugout had baseball legend Johnny Bench in for a signing this past Saturday. Bench was recently named one of the four greatest living players in MLB history, and after passing up an opportunity to get his autograph back in July, I had to go an meet him. 

I've heard some mixed reviews on Bench in the past but had a terrific experience meeting him. We talked for about a minute and then he asked me how/where I wanted my photo signed. He also stood up for the photograph that I took with him, which is something that I always appreciate. I ended up getting my 11x14 signed with "Catch Ya Later" and "HOF 89".

(You can ignore the blue corners, those are just part of a photo holder that I use)

Thanks to Brian and the OC Dugout for bringing in a rare-December autograph guest, and thanks for reading.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Dustin Brown: 11/27/15

LA Kings captain Dustin Brown was signing at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Black Friday. I'm not a huge fan of Black Friday shopping and this year I even decided against my annual trip to Sports Authority since too many people were beginning to take notice and were taking it way to seriously, just like very other Black Friday sale. I guess I'm more of an online shopping guy anyways, so instead of dealing with all of the crowds I decided to sleep in and go get an autograph.

This turned out to be one of the easiest and best ran signings of the year. I showed up a couple of hours early, was handed a numbered card by a Toyota employee, and was told that I didn't have to come back until a half an hour before it started. After grabbing some lunch I met up with a few friends and sat around waiting for the signing to start. There was literally no line waiting at all as they called up your numbers in groups of 10 at a time. I had #64 so it wasn't too long before I got up to Brown and had him sign a couple of pucks.

By the time I got through the line was fairly short, so I hopped in the back and got a NHL Stadium Series puck that I had lying around my house signed by the Captain.

In the end I was happy with my decision and walked away with a few nice autographs. It's so rare that events in Southern California go so smoothly, so I've learned to appreciate them over the years. Good on Toyota for a great event and a thanks to Ryan, Benson, and Marc for keeping me company throughout the signing.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fanatics Authentics Show: 11/21/15 - 11/22/15

One of my favorite things about my birthday is that it's usually close enough to Thanksgiving to where I have the day off of school. It's also just far enough away from Christmas to where it's not forgotten in the holiday madness. So really, it's a win-win. This year it happened to fall on a Saturday, and after a few weeks of saving I was able to raise enough money to afford a short weekend trip to the Fanatics Authentics show in Chicago. 

Of course, that weekend Chicago got hit by the city's largest snow storm in years. The high all weekend was a warm 32 degrees, but I loved it. To give you an idea, here was the view outside of our hotel room on Saturday morning:

Here is another from inside of our lobby:

It might not look like a ton of snow, but for someone from Southern California who has only seen snow at ski/snowboard resorts, it was a lot. Luckily the airport, hotel, and the convention center was all within a coupe of miles, so we were able to cab/Uber everywhere.

the first half of Saturday's show went fairly well. My first autograph was from St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha. I've mentioned it several times in the past, but the Cardinals are the team that I root for in the National League. It's been that way since I was on the Cardinals tee-ball team, and Wacha happens to be one of my favorite pitchers, so it was neat to get an opportunity to finally meet him. 

The next autograph I got came from Ryne Sandberg. I had been debating on getting Sandberg's autograph for the previous week or so, but after a few signers cancelled due to the weather it was an easy decision. I ended up having him sign a ROMLB with "'Ryno'", "HOF 05" and "84 NL MVP".

Of course, it turned out to be one of my favorite autographs all weekend, so I was happy with my decision. I had regretted getting Sandberg on a Gold Glove ball instead of a sweet spot when he visited Angel Stadium with the Phillies, so it was a nice "redemption" autograph for me.

The third and final guy that I got on Saturday was Cubs phenom Kris Bryant. Bryant had just won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year award and the most popular signer at the show. He ended up selling out of tickets before the day began, but I was smart enough to have pre-ordered them a couple of days before.

The bald guy to Bryant's left turned out to be one of the biggest (fill in the blank) of the year. I only bring this up because I've had promoters email me in the past when I complain about a worker, and I hope Fanatics does the same here. In reality, there is no need to be rushing people who are spending more money to get one person's autograph than what he (the handler) is making all weekend. It was frustrating because I feel as if this man was encouraging Bryant to give out sloppier signatures by constantly telling fans, and even Bryant, to "hurry up" or "keep it moving". I ended up getting both items that I wanted signed, but I do wish that it would have been a less chaotic experience, like every other athlete at the show who was not rushed. 

Saturday ended like any good day would, with Chicago-style pizza from Giordano's.

There was only one big signer on Sunday that I was worried about and that was Carlos Correa. I had already gotten some really nice Bryant's from his first few months in pro baseball, but Correa has never been the nicest guy or easiest signer ever since his days in A-ball. My goal was basically to get a couple of nice, full signatures from Correa and not have to worry about the sloppy signature that he gives out at the ballpark.

The first ball is inscribed "2015 AL ROY', and the second is inscribed the same, plus "Showrrea". It was kind of a cheesy inscription to get done but Correa thought it was funny and unique, which was basically what I was going for. 

Ironically he turned out to be one of the nicer signers at the show. His line was probably the third longest all weekend, behind only Bryant and Brett Favre, and yet he wasn't rushed and actually had good conversations with everyone. That's the way it should be for every athlete. You can see him and I talking in the photo above, actually about Mike Trout since I was wearing an Angels hat. It was cool to have that experience since he is a complete opposite at the stadium.

I got a few smaller guys on Sunday but nobody big. Overall it was a fun weekend and another great trip to Chicago, which is an amazing place to visit. Thanks as always!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Updated For Sale List

I have finally updated my "Autographs For Sale" list with many new autographed baseballs, photos, cards, etc. All items also have updated prices, and I'll be happy to email you any pictures upon request. To contact me about any of the items, you can refer to the "Contact Me" tab above.

Also, if there are any items that have caught your eye but are not on the list, feel free to email me asking about them. The worst I can say is "no". Many things are available for the right price, and all of the money is put right back in the hobby. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Warren Moon: 10/31/15

Hall of Fame quaterback Warren Moon held a free signing at a local Dick's Sporting Goods store. The signing was scheduled from 10:00 to noon on Halloween morning, so I assumed that getting there around 8:00 would give me a decent spot in line. When I got to the event I was surprised at the amount of people that had already shown up. The first people in line had gotten there at 10:00 the night before, which is a bit crazy for my liking. I ended up still getting a spot near the back of the line and eventually found myself in the middle thanks to poor line management by the store.

Moon arrived on time and began signing for the long line. I'd say there was about 100 people in front of us, but it took about an hour and a half to get to the front of the line since Moon was signing multiple and inscribing for everyone. I can't complain though, since once I got up to him he was extremely nice and signed both of my items with the "HOF 06" inscription.

I had a few people ask me, "why a football player on a baseball?" Quite simply, baseballs are pretty much a universal item in the hobby. Plus, they're much easier to display than full size footballs, and much, much cheaper too! This should be my only recap for a few weeks, but I should have a pretty exciting one near the end of November. Thanks for reading!