Thursday, October 16, 2014

Minnesota Wild Autographs: 10/16/14

It has only been two weeks since the Angels season ended at the mercy of the Kansas City Royals, but it's felt like an eternity since the last time I've been to Angel Stadium of Anaheim. However with the bad comes some good. The offseason will give myself and fellow graphers a five to six month rest without the typical hassles, and it will also allow me to focus on other things, including hockey. I actually enjoy watching the sport of hockey more than I do baseball, and I certainly enjoy graphing more, but there is always that feeling of excitement hanging out at a Major League ballpark. Needless to say, I'm already looking forward to Spring Training 2015.

Not surprisingly, my first autographs since game two of the ALDS came from some hockey players, but not just any hockey players. The Minnesota Wild happened to be in town for a few days in advance of their game against the Anaheim Ducks, and in a rare occurrence, all of the pieces happened to fall in place. Visiting hockey teams are practically impossible to graph in Anaheim (so please don't email me asking how to do so after this post), but I was able to come away with my three main targets, including one of my favorite players, Zach Parise.

Ryan Suter, Thomas Vanek, and Parise autographs
Zach Parise and I
Considering hockey graphing can be nearly impossible in Southern California, I was more than glad to come away with two of the best U.S. born players in the game, as well as 40 goal scorer to make things even better. I'll have a few more hockey autographs to post over the next week or so, followed by some football and a couple of baseball posts in November. Thanks for reading!
 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Final Baseball Autos Of 2014

2014 was a very exciting and ultimately disappointing season for Angel fans. The Angels were able to finish with Major League Baseball's best record but ended up falling short in the postseason against the Kansas City Royals. I was fortunate enough to attend both games 1 and 2 of the series in Anaheim, and while the Angels lost both games in extra innings, I am glad to say that I was a part of Angels history.

Angel Stadium before ALDS game 1
After the Angels won the American League West title in mid-September, I made a vow not to obsess over autographs once the playoffs rolled around. This would be my first time at a MLB playoff game, and I wanted to take in the full experience without the stress of getting autographs. Luckily I was able to keep my vow and still manage to come away with some nice autos from both games. The first came from Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who happened to be at the game with his agent Scott Boras. That's the beauty behind playoff baseball, you never know who is going to show up.

Nolan Arenado autographed baseball
Apparently Arenado is becoming a tough autograph to get in Colorado, so I'm glad to get another signed ROMLB from him before he becomes too difficult. Unfortunately, I got some misinformation and ended up missing out on Cal Ripken Jr. while I was in the process of getting Arenado. A few years ago missing out on Ripken would've ruined my night, but luckily I've come to the realization that you can't have them all.

The other autograph I was able to get that night came from another semi-promising third baseman, Mike Moustakas. Moustakas hit the game winning home run in the 11th inning of game one, and since I had a hard copy of the ticket I decided to get him to sign it. Mike was in a great mood after the HR and even inscribed it "Game Winning Homerun".

Mike Moustakas autographed ALDS ticket
The third and final autograph I was able to get came from yet another promising third baseman, Cubs prospect Kris Bryant. Bryant was the #2 overall pick by the Cubs last year and has torn it up in the minors, so obviously all of the graphers were excited when he tweeted a photo saying he was at game 2 of the series. After waiting around for a while I was able to score Bryant on a ROMLB.

Kris Bryant autographed baseball
This was actually my third ball signed by Bryant, as I was able to get two back in February at the USD Alumni Game. If you click on the link to the left you can see the difference in Bryant's signature not even a year later. That's why a lot of graphers always use the saying "get them while they're young".

My final autograph of the 2014 season came a couple of days after the Angels were eliminated by the Royals. I decided to go down to the stadium at a last ditch effort to add a couple of last guys to my 2014 Angels team ball. Luckily I didn't go home empty handed as Huston Street came over and signed a couple of cards on his way out.

Huston Street autographed cards
I also got Street to sign my team baseball which now only needs three signatures to be complete. I'll likely have to wait until next season to finish it, but once I do I'll make sure to make a separate post showing it off a bit. I want to sincerely thank everyone who read my posts throughout the 2014 season, as well as all of the great people who I had the opportunity to graph with. I want to give a special thanks to Ryan, Kyle, Alex G, Rob G, Lori, David P, Mike, Benson, Matt Crocker, Eddie, Phil, and the legendary Scott Chavers for another great season at the stadium. I'll make sure to keep everyone updated with some hockey and football posts throughout the offseason, but until then, thank you again for reading!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

GTSM Show: 9/27/14

If you've been reading my blog for long enough, you probably read about my trip up to San Francisco last October for GT Sports Marketing's annual Bay Area Show. Fast forward to September 27, 2014 and GTSM was back in the Bay Area for another autograph show, and I found myself, once again, making the trip up to Northern California.

This year's show happened to include a change of venue from the Cow Palace in San Francisco to the Santa Clara Convention Center. The convention center is located right across the street from the 49ers new stadium, Levi's Stadium, and being a Niner fan it was a must to snap a couple of pics.

Levi's Stadium, home of the 49ers
The show itself was actually pretty weak compared to past shows. There were only a few vendors and mostly everything was overpriced. I ended up buying just a few cards I found while waiting around between signings. Also, the volunteers "working" the event were pretty pathetic. I usually don't complain about staff, but something should be said when customers who are paying hundreds of dollars are being treated like crap throughout the day.

Now for the autographs, I was able to get former San Francisco Giant Kevin Mitchell and current Giant pitcher Tim Hudson on ROMLB's. Both guys were very friendly and Mitchell was kind enough to inscribe "NL 1989 MVP" for free.

Kevin Mitchell (left) and Tim Hudson (right)
One of the bigger names at the show was boxing legend Mike Tyson. I was given a Tyson glove as a gift from a friend a while back, but wanted to get a nice 11x14 to go with it. The photo was nearly bend in half by Tyson's handler, but luckily the top loader below it helped to protect the photo and it ended up just fine.

Mike Tyson autographed 11x14
I know that the photo can be a bit difficult to see with the glare, but if anyone can tell me who Tyson is knocking out in the photo above, I would be very appreciative.

Now for the guy that most people attended the event for, MLB's Home Run King (Yes, he still is in the record books.), Barry Bonds. Yes, Bonds cheated, and yes, he lied to a grand jury, but he is still very much loved by San Francisco fans, and that was apparent by the 300 tickets they sold in less than two months. This was Bonds' first autograph signing in over ten years, so I decided to go big and get a couple of premiums signed, starting with an authentic jersey signed and inscribed "7x MVP".

Barry Bonds autograph jersey
As you can see, I got the jersey PSA'd along with the Bonds hologram, which is the silver hologram below. Bonds also hand signed each COA that was given out for free along with the hologram.

I was also able to get a Bonds model SSK bat signed along with "#762 HR's" along with the dual authentication.

Barry Bonds autographed bat
Overall it was a very successful and expensive day. I'm very happy with how each and every item came out and am looking forward to attending next year's event. As always, thanks for reading!

The final haul

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blake Griffin: 9/15/14

On Monday, September 15th, the OC Dugout hosted an autograph signing with Clipper star Blake Griffin. The prices for the event were actually comparable to the last autograph signing that Griffin did after his rookie season in 2011, in fact premium items were only $150 compared to $125 at his last signing. Griffin also has an exclusive autograph deal with Panini Authentics, which makes it rare to get a clean, legible signature from him without paying.

The autograph signing was announced last minute, which can be a nightmare for any grapher at times. Luckily I was able to find a pair of 2011 Nike Hyperdunks at a local shoe store, and picked them up on my way down to the autograph signing.

Blake Griffin autographed Nike Hyperdunks
These happened to be the same color-wave and design that Griffin wore when he won the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest, so I decided to get the left shoe inscribed "'11 Slam Dunk Champ".

Griffin autograph (right) and inscription (left)
All items included free Panini Authentication, and as a bonus you were able to take free pictures with Griffin. A big thanks to my friend Marc for taking these photos of Blake and I.


Griffin is one of the humblest athletes that I've ever met, and has been that way for a while now. He may get a bad rap for "only being able to dunk", but his overall game is improving at a rapid pace. Best of luck to him and the Clippers in the 2014-15 season and, as always, thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Graphing Recap: Lot's of Awesome Stuff

Yes, I know I haven't been blogging much lately. Believe me, I feel more guilty about it than anyone, especially after putting so much time in to this page over the past two years. With that being said, August wrapped up what was quite possibly the best summer I've ever had both at the ballpark and away from it. I got a lot of great autographs and wanted to share them with you before I get too deep in the hole, so without further distractions:

This first autograph wasn't obtained in the month of August, but considering that it was less than a week before August began, I think it's fair to show it off a bit. Angels pitcher Garrett Richards was doing a free signing at Angel Stadium. Garrett is a great young pitcher and a fairly tough autograph to get, so I was happy to get this 2011 Angels 50th Anniversary baseball along with his MLB debut date of "8-10-11". Hopefully Garrett can make a quick recovery and bounce back in 2015.

Garrett Richards autographed baseball
Next up, the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies came to Anaheim for a pair of three game sets. Both teams have a tendency to be tough for graphers, but for some reason the Sox were even more difficult to graph than before. Maybe they're still bitter that they still can't put back-to-back winning season's together. The only major auto I came away with was from John Farrell, who autographed a 2013 World series baseball with "13 Champs!".

John Farrell autographed baseball
The Phillies, on the other hand, were a surprisingly good team to graph this year. Starting off with the cards, I was able to get Antonio Bastardo, Cody Asche, Dominic Brown, Darren Ruff, and Ben Revere (who is quite possibly the nicest guy alive) on some cardboard.

Phillies autographed cards
Much like the rest of the Phillies, Jimmy Rollins was surprisingly nice and signed a lot of autographs over the course of the series. I was able to come away with three Rollins', my favorite being this 2001 All-Star baseball.

Jimmy Rollins autographed baseball
I was also able to get AJ Burnett, who signed a baseball on the sweetspot with the date of his No-hitter back in 2001.

AJ Burnett autographed baseball
And finally, maybe the best IP autograph that I've gotten all season long, I was able to get Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg on a Rawlings Gold Glove baseball along with the inscription "9x G.G.'s".

Ryne Sandberg autographed baseball
But wait... There's more:

I got word at the very last minute that Josh Hamilton would be doing a private autograph signing with MLB Alumni Marketing. Hamilton has become one of my favorite players since joining the Angels and I had been planning on sending in a jersey the next time he did a private signing. I may have spent a little bit more than I originally wanted to, but I'd say in the end it was well worth it...

Josh Hamilton autographed & inscribed jersey
...and yes, there's still more. I was able to pick up this Mark McGwire ball and some cash in a trade with my friend Spencer. I was bummed after getting skipped by Big Mac earlier in the month but quickly recovered by getting this sit-down quality signature.

Mark McGwire autographed baseball
For the final adventure of the summer, I decided to go down to the OC Dugout for their fan appreciation day. The Dugout raffles off autographed items every so often at these events, and after gathering up enough tickets I decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately I did not win the grand prize, which was a Mike Trout autographed bat, but I was able to come away with this CJ Cron autographed baseball with "MLB Debut" and PSA/DNA authentication.

CJ Cron autographed baseball
And to wrap things up, I was able to get Bronco legend Terrell Davis to sign an official NFL football along with "SB 32 MVP" thanks to my friend Greg, who hooked it up with some last minute information.

Terrell Davis autographed football
That should get me up to date as far as posting goes. I apologize for the recent lack of posts, but I encourage you to continue checking in over the next month or so, as I will have some pretty amazing items coming in. I won't give away any names, but I will say that they involve an NBA Rookie of the Year, a Home Run King, a guy nicknamed "Iron", and a guy who threw a post-season No-Hitter. So make sure to check back in soon, you won't be disappointed. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Updated Sale/Trade List!!!

For those of you interested in acquiring some new autographs, I just recently updated by Sale/Trade list, which can be found by clicking on the "Autographs For Sale/Trade" tab at the top of the screen. I updated the list with over 80 autographed items including baseballs, photos, bats, footballs, and more! If you are interested in any of the items, please feel free to email me at MatthewCourville24@gmail.com, or DM me on Facebook at MC's Autographs if you are looking for an even faster response. Thanks for reading and make sure to check out my new Sale/Trade list!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The X-Factor: 7/21/14

Several years ago I attended my first ever baseball game at PetCo Park in San Diego. I remember three things from that game: the Padres lost to the Diamondbacks, I was getting annoyed by the group of D-Backs fans sitting to the right of me, and David Eckstein. I remembered Eckstein specifically from game 5 of the 2006 World Series, the first ever baseball game I actually sat down and watched. Ironically, I remember three things from that game as well: Adam Wainwright getting the final save, the players dog-piling on top of each other, and Eckstein winning that bright yellow Corvette. I apologize if I nearly bored you to death with that story, but I'm hoping that it puts an end to all of the "why?"'s when I say that David Eckstein is my baseball idol.

David happened to visit Angel Stadium this past home stand with his brother Rick, who is now a coach for the Angels, and I was finally able to get him on my 2006 World Series baseball that I had been carrying around for years.

David Eckstein autographed baseball
It was a great experience being able to talk to Eckstein and tell him how much of a fan I am. David has also hinted that he wouldn't mind becoming a coach for the Angels in the near future, so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the "X-Factor" will once again return to the field full-time. Thanks for reading!