Sunday, December 14, 2014

Brandon Barnes Whiffleball Invitational: 12/14/14

On Sunday, December 14th, Rockies OF Brandon Barnes held his 2nd Annual Barnyard Whiffleball Invitational. The event only required a small donation to charity and featured some pretty decent MLB names. I decided to make the trip to Anaheim for this year's event after skipping it last year.

The event was held at The Office Sports
Once the doors opened I was able to go inside and catch up with some friends. The event was set up differently from what I imagined so I also had to spend some time checking things out. After a few minutes of waiting I was finally able to get my first autograph from Reds prospect and Cal State Fullerton alumni Michael Lorenzen. Lorenzen is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and has remembered me from his college days. After talking to him for a while I was able to get an ROMLB signed with "2013 1st Round Pick".

Michael Lorenzen autographed baseball
A while later I went back and asked him if he'd mind putting the bible verse that he would sometimes add. After talking for a few minutes he asked what my favorite scripture was and added it along with his favorite. I think it's a pretty cool piece.

The next guy I got was Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly. Kelly was one of my main targets coming in to the day and would knock out a pair of 8x10's and several cards for me.

Joe Kelly autographed 8x10's
I was also able to get the host of the event, Brandon Barnes to sign a few cards. I felt a bit bad for Barnes since he was running around the whole day, but I will give him credit for being a much better host than Bobby Wagner was at his event earlier this year.


Brandon Barnes autographed cards
One of the last guys to show up was Angels pitcher CJ Wilson. Wilson wasn't actually participating in the games but made an appearance to support the cause. He was cool as always and signed and 11x14 with "P.M.A." and a 2013 Bowman.

CJ Wilson autographed 11x14
On his way out I also had CJ sign a ROMLB on the sweet spot with "P.M.A." on it as well. P.M.A. stands for Positive Mental Attitude, which is a motto CJ lives by and has promoted publicly. Some might call the inscription stupid but I think it's pretty cool.

CJ Wilson autographed baseball
Ironically CJ asked to take a photo with me. Usually I'm the one asking to take photos with athletes, but CJ noticed that I was wearing a "Violent Gentlemen" sweater and asked for a photo to send to his friend who owns the company.

By far the most difficult autograph to get was Nolan Arenado. Arenado decided to sign a few at a time and then go and hide from the fans instead of signing for everyone at once like all of the other athletes did. Arenado probably could've avoided being mobbed by just signing for the 30 people who were waiting, instead he was the only person who seemed to have an issue signing. Luckily I was able to get him on a Rawlings Gold Glove baseball underneath the logo.

Nolan Arenado autographed GG baseball
I guess karma does really come back to get people since Arenado's team lost in the semi-finals to Justin Sellers and his teammates. 

To wrap things up I was able to get cards signed by Tyler Matzek, Mark Trumbo, and Christian Colon, who made a brief cameo in the Royals World series run. 

Random autographed cards
I've always heard stories of Trumbo being a not-so-pleasant guy, but as I've stated in the past, I've never had a bad experience with him. He was very friendly today and I took the opportunity to get a quick photo with him.

Thanks to Kyle for the photo
That wrapped up what was a very good day of graphing. It's nice to see that there are still autograph friendly events like this one and that Barnes and all of the participants (Arenado excluded) went out of their way to sign. It was nice catching up with my summer family including David P, Alex, Kyle, Ryan, Scotty, Mike, Tyler, Jack, Phil, Rick, and others. Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Giveaway Winner

I must say that I was very surprised by how quickly the 10 spots for my holiday giveaway filled up. I was expecting the spots to fill up over time, and my hope was to fill all ten before Christmas, so I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up to see that all ten spots were filled within 15 hours. So without further distractions, here are the results via Random.org:

There were 10 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
  1. Daniel Wilson
  2. Marlena Karavolis
  3. Ryan F
  4. Jeff Rojas
  5. Steve Diaz
  6. Kyle Sid
  7. irondequoit36
  8. RJ Ryan
  9. Al Kawamoto
  10. Justo Limon
Timestamp: 2014-12-13 01:08:05 UTC

Daniel Wilson, you are the winner! It's nice to see a long time reader of this blog and someone who've I met before get the prize. In case you guys haven't already, make sure to give his blog, It's like having my own Card Shop, a quick look. Please email me your address as soon as possible so I can get this out for you in time for the holiday's:

Justin Sellers autographed 8x10
P.S.- The results were generated in random order via Random.com. All I did was plug in the names, hit the "Random" button once, and copied and pasted the results to make it as fair as possible. Thanks again and happy holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Giveaway

I know I've mentioned this a ton of times before, and it might begin to sound repetitive, but I really do appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read this blog over the years. Especially the one's who have continued to read over the past year or so despite my lack of consistency when it comes to posting. With that being said, I thought that I'd get in to the holiday spirit and giveaway a couple of autographs to one lucky person. Here is what the winner will receive:

Justin Sellers autographed "spotlight" 8x10
The image is from Justin Sellers' first career MLB homerun in 2011. As you can see, Justin autographed the photo and inscribed it "1st MLB HR 8-14-11" nearly two years ago (you can read about me getting the autograph here). I do know that Justin Sellers isn't a household name, so that is why I'll also throw in a few autographed cards from one of your favorite teams. Also, if you're someone who enjoys collecting random base cards and inserts, let me know and I'll also make sure to throw in several of those as well. In the end you have the possibility to win nine or ten things for absolutely FREE. Here's all you have to do:

1. Follow this blog or become a member by clicking the "Join this site" button on the right hand side. If you do not have a Google or a Yahoo account for whatever reason, email me at MatthewCourville24@gmail.com and I'll give you an alternative option.

2. Answer the following question: "Who was the first pitcher in Angels history to throw a No-Hitter?" (Hint: It was thrown on May 5th, 1962 vs. the Baltimore Orioles)

3. Comment "Done" and include the answer to the following question.

The first 10 people who comment with the correct answer will have their names entered on Random.org to determine a winner. Results will be posted before Christmas and my goal is for the winner to receive the items before then as well. Also, while it is not required, I always appreciate mentions on other blogs, so if you have time to spread the word it would be very much appreciated. Thanks as always and happy holdiays!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Clayton Kershaw: 11/30/14

2014 NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to appear at the LA Auto Show on Sunday, November 30th. There was an unusual amount of confusion leading up to the event after the appearance information was taken off of the Auto Show's page and Acura's Twitter account. As it turned out, they actually took down the information in order to keep the crowd smaller, which is one of the first times I've ever heard of a promoter wanting less people to show up.

Even after confirming that Kershaw would still be signing there was still some confusion in the air. None of the Acura employees seemed to know whether or not Kershaw would be signing outside items or not. I was fully expecting Kershaw to not sign any outside items but figured it was worth a shot to get a free autograph from the game's best pitcher.

2014 NL MVP Clayton Kershaw
Sure enough it was announced at the very last second that Kershaw would only signed the provided photos. My last hope was that the photos would at least be of decent quality, but sadly they were printed on cheap photo paper with a nice, bold Acura logo on the upper left-hand corner.

Clayton Kershaw autographed photos
I'm sure Acura and all of their employees running the event knew well before that Kershaw would not being signing any outside items. It makes me really disrespect their company the way they handled the event compared to the way Kia handled their past Blake Griffin signings at the Auto Show. I'll still gladly take two free autographs from the best pitcher in baseball, but I really wish that the employees would've answered honestly when being asked a question directly. Rant over. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson: 11/22/14

NFL's all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith and former league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson were on hand to sign autographs at the Frank & Sons collectors show. Smith and Tomlinson were two guys that I've wanted to meet for a while, and while Smith's high prices turned away a lot of collectors, I was able to use some of my birthday cash from the day prior to get my 11x14 signed with "HOF 2010".

Emmitt Smith autographed 11x14
Photo credits to my friend Mikey Pele
Emmitt was very friendly and a pleasure to meet which made me feel a little bit better about dropping that kind of money for an autograph. Thankfully LaDainian Tomlinson wasn't charging nearly as much, and I was able to get him to sign my official NFL football with "2006 NFL MVP".

LaDainian Tomlinson autographed football
Overall it was a great experience meeting two NFL greats and a good way to cap off my 16th birthday weekend. There is slowly becoming more and more football graphing opportunities in Southern California which will hopefully continue until Los Angeles finally gets a football team back. Until then, thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Andre Reed: 11/15/14

2014 Football Hall of Fame inductee Andre Reed was scheduled to sign autographs at Dr. Alex Corbin Liu's optometry office this Saturday. If you've read any of my blog posts over the past couple of weeks, you've probably seen me mention this signing at least once or twice. Well Saturday was the big day and after my photographs nearly came late (despite paying for overnight shipping FOUR DAYS AGO) I finally had the chance to meet Reed for the first time since being inducted in to the Hall of Fame. I was able to get a pair of Photofile 11x14's signed, both with "7x Pro Bowler" and "HOF 14".

Andre Reed autographed 11x14 #1
Andre Reed autographed 11x14 #2
The signing was going great until Reed dropped my Sharpie on the first photograph, which subsequently left a big mark right below his foot. Had it not been for some friends in the graphing community, the photo would have basically been ruined, but luckily someone suggested tracing over the marking with an Expo erase marker. It ended up working like a charm, but the true moral of the story came before I erased the mark. Dr. Liu saw the photo and after I explained to him what had happened, he immediately gave me a free 8x10 and autograph ticket. In a world where most promoters are greedy it's nice to see someone like Dr. Liu who cares about his customers, which is why I advertise his signings in the first place. A big thanks to Dr. Liu for putting on the event and handling the situation like a professional, also a thanks to Andre Reed, who was as cool the second time I met him as he was the first. Thanks for reading!

Photo creds go to my bud Spencer for this one

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Jim Abbott: 11/8/14 Continued...

After getting Don Sutton's autograph in Whittier, I quickly made my way over to Irvine for another autograph signing. Former Angel and one-armed pitcher Jim Abbott was signing autographs at the grand opening of a new Sports Authority at the Irvine Spectrum. The event was kept under the radar until the very last minute, and most graphers that I talked to after the event had no idea that it was going on. That, of course, was ideal for me as I was in and out with five autographs in under 20 minutes.

Jim Abbott autographed Yankee Stadium ball
Jim Abbott autographed ROMLB

Jim Abbott autographed cards
The fifth and final autograph was a photo provided at the event that I got for my brother-in-law, so I did not take a picture of that. Overall it was one of the easier events that I had been to and a great chance to meet one of the most inspiring players in MLB history. On a side note, Abbott is a big Detroit Lions fan and talked some smack to me after noticing my 49ers iPhone case. I just wish that I could talk to him today after the Niners overtime win against the Saints.

A final reminder to all Southern California graphers that 2014 HOF inductee Andre Reed will be at Dr. Alex Corbin Liu's office next weekend. Tickets are just $30 for flats and mini's and $40 for premiums. If anyone from outside of California wants any photos signed then contact Dr. Liu, he usually has a few left over after every signing. 


As always, thanks for reading!