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!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jose Bautista: 7/8/14

Over the past five years, nobody has done a better job at making pitcher's pay than Jose Bautista. Bautista has lead Major League Baseball in the longball category for two of the past four seasons, and has been an All-Star for five consecutive years since his claim to fame in 2010. Of course, he is the main target for graphers whenever the Toronto Blue Jays come to Anaheim for a rare West Coast visit, and 2014 was no different.

Bautista ended up keeping his promise that he'd sign on the second day of the series, as he picked up a pen after BP and signed continuously for a good ten minutes. I was one of the few lucky ones to get Bautista on a ball before he switched to Sharpie and started signing only flats, and thanks to some good graphers in the front row, I was able to come away with a Joey Bats autographed 2014 All-Star baseball.

Jose Bautista autographed baseball
It was nice to get a replacement Bautista after I had a major pen fail while getting his autograph last year, so now I can forget about that one and replace it with this beautiful baseball. A big thanks to my friend Jeremy for letting me jump in his spot after he got his signature. It's always nice to have friends who think of others in the frenzies like this. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Hall of Fame Day: 6/25/14

Other than getting Mark Langston's autograph, Tuesday was pretty much a bust for me. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time for Joe Mauer, I had gotten denied one-on-one right before first pitch by Paul Molitor, and had missed getting David Eckstein, who was at the game with his brother Rick Eckstein. I was hoping for a much better day on Wednesday, and before the gates even opened I was already having a legendary day.

The first autograph that I got came from Hall of Fame member Rod Carew. Carew had gone in to the stadium well before the game was scheduled to start. Initially, he denied my friend Alex and I, but turned around and told us that he'd maybe get us on his way out. Alex and I decided to stick it out and were two of four people to get Carew's autograph on Wednesday.

Rod Carew autographed baseball
A while later we got a call from one of our friends telling us that Paul Molitor had gone out for a jog with some of the other Twins coaches. We made our way over to where Molitor had left and about twenty minutes later he returned and signed for every grapher waiting.

Paul Molitor autographed baseball

I ended up missing out on Joe Mauer for the second straight day, but luckily I had some Steiner gift cards saved up and ended up spending them on a nice Mauer piece later that night. I also did get some cards signed, but since I titled this post "A Hall of Fame Day", I won't waist your time with any Kevin Correa or Matt Shoemaker base cards. I'm sorry for not keeping this blog up to the minute like I have in the past, but I do have a life outside of graphing, and sometimes it interferes with events that I'd like to go to, but can't. With that being said, I'll continue to post as frequently as possible. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mark Langston: 6/24/14

If you've followed this blog for long enough, one name that you've heard me mention quite often is Mark Langston. Langston was an All-Star pitcher for the Angels and the Mariners in the late 80's and the early 90's. He now serves as the one of the Angels radio announcers, and is basically a "sure-thing" autograph if you go to Angel Stadium. Over time I've slowly ran out of items to have Langston sign, but the other day I noticed that I still had one last item to get him on, so on prior to Monday's game vs. Minnesota, I finally got Mark Langston on a Rawlings Gold Glove baseball with "7x Gold Glove".
 
Mark Langston autographed baseball
I was actually very happy to finally get this ball done. Langston is one of the nicest former athletes that I've ever met, and even when I don't have anything to get signed he always says hello and asks how all of the graphers are doing. With that being said, I'll make sure to display this ball proudly next to my other Gold Glove winners. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

David Freese: 6/8/14

For those of you, like myself, who were born after Carlton Fisk's famous 1975 "If it stays fair" World Series home run, or Joe Carter's mammoth shot off of Mitch Williams in the 1993 World Series, then David Freese's heroic effort in game 6 of the 2011 World Series may go down as the greatest baseball moment that you've ever witnessed. Freese's game-tying triple and, eventually, his game-winning home run has made him a part of baseball history, and no matter what the rest of his career beholds, he will always be part of baseball immortality.

The OC Dugout had Freese sign autographs at their shop following Sunday's Angel win over the White Sox. Freese was actually scheduled to sign back in May, but a fractured finger caused him to reschedule. I decided to hold on to my items and attend the rescheduled event on June 8th, and I'm thrilled with the way both items came out.

David Freese autographed ROMLB
David Freese autographed 11x14
In case you're having a tough time reading the inscriptions, the ball says "Game 6 Winning HR" and the 11x14 has two inscriptions, the first being "2011 WS Game 6 HR 10/27/2011" and the second being a quote from Joe Buck "'We will see you tomorrow night!'". Both items, especially the photo, came out flawless, and I can' wait to properly display them along with my other World Series MVP's. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Tony LaRussa: 6/7/14

Saturday was a very lucky day for myself. As I mentioned in my previous post, I got very lucky and got Jose Abreu's autograph prior to Saturday's game vs. the Angels. I also got lucky later in the day and got Paul Konerko's autograph along with my friends Ryan and Lori. My final lucky encounter came nearly seven hours after my previous two. 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Tony LaRussa was at the Angels game on Saturday to celebrate Albert Pujols' 500th career home run. Once again Ryan, Lori, and my other friend Mike decided to wait where we thought was best for LaRussa, and moments after the final out, the legendary manager walked out and signed for all four of us before leaving the stadium.

Tony LaRussa autographed ROMLB
Even though it's not LaRussa's "full signature", I'm more than happy to add one of the cleanest short sigs that I've seen to my collection. LaRussa is and will be one of my all-time favorite baseball figures, so just to meet him and see him sign my ball was certainly a moment that I won't forget. Unfortunately, not every day is as great as Saturday was, but days like this certainly make up for the bad ones. Thanks for reading.

Jose Abreu: 6/7/14

If you haven't heard of Jose Abreu's name by now, you've been hiding under a rock for the past two months. The Cuban "rookie" has already made his mark in American with the Chicago White Sox, hitting 17 home runs in his first 50 Major League games. With power numbers like that, it's clear why graphers in Anaheim were scrambling to get Abreu's autograph when the Sox played the Angels this past weekend.

I decided to skip game one of the series on Friday night to graph the Nationals in San Diego, however I ended up getting very lucky and got Jose Abreu to autograph my ROMLB prior to Saturday's game.

Jose Abreu autographed ROMLB
Getting Abreu's autograph was pure luck, but none the less I got the auto and am thrilled to add his "rookie sig" to my collection before he shortens up his signature like Yoenis Cespedes did. Thanks for reading.