Saturday, December 1, 2012
Lasorda, Dodgers at Westfield Century City
Dodger legends Tommy Lasorda, Steve Yeager and current Dodger infielder Justin Sellers made an appearance at the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles Friday afternoon. The appearance was the third of now six Dodgers' Holiday Mall Tours where the organization brings out players in hopes of trying to sell mini and season ticket packages. Obviously Tommy was the main attraction of the event, this was his first free signing he has done since he had a stroke about a year ago, so I definitely wanted to get Tommy as his days are probably limited.
The drive out to Los Angeles was horrid. What is usually a 45 minute drive from my house turned into a two and a half hour drive due to the rain and work traffic heading into downtown. I find it amusing how people here in Southern California drive in a slight rain shower like it's a full-on snow storm. People were literally going 40 mph in a 75 mph zone. Eventually these over-cautious drivers completely slow down the freeway and we were in non-stop traffic from Covina all the way to the mall. I finally arrived at the mall around 8:30 and immediately went to the dining terrace where the signing was located at. There were only about 40 people in line which is not bad, so we hopped in line under one of the covers and started waiting it out.
One of my worries would be that Tommy just wouldn't show up in general. He is a very grumpy man sometimes and just one small thing canturn him into a grouch so I was worried that the sight of gridlock traffic, the though of signing in the slight rain, or even something as small as a rain-drop blowing in his face could turn him into a grouch or even make him question about going to the signing. Luckily Tommy showed up, actually about 5 minutes early, and started signing right away. Surprisingly he was in a very good mood, in fact one of the best moods I've ever seen him in. I've had two previous encounters with Mr. Lasorda before, one was a charity event one mile away to my house that I refer to as my "rookie mistake", and the other at a Quakes game last year where he got upset and left not even half-way into the scheduled signing. Anyways the line moved very slow and we ended up getting up to Tommy about 45 minutes later. He was friendly, signing my Rawlings Hall of Fame baseball on the sweetspot as well as a ROMLB on the sweetspot for my dad. Tommy was also adding H-O-F 97 to most items without you even having to ask! In fact a couple of people asked him to put it and Tommy got upset and didn't put it on their items! Good old Tommy!
Then it was my mom's turn to get something signed for me. Now if you know Tommy, you know that he loves three things, food, small children and women. So naturally he and my mom started talking for a minute. My mom told him how much she loved to old photo of him back in his playing days that I gave to her to get signed, and Tommy, thinking that the photo was for her, asked her for her name. I heard this as I was walking away and my heart automatically dropped, I wanted to turn around and yell, "noooooo!" but that isn't the type of person I am, or want to become. Tommy ended up putting "To Shelley (which he spelt wrong) love you, Tommy Lasorda H-O-F 97" I thought it was kind of cool with the love you inscription.
My mom felt really bad about the photo. Now to be honest, I have the best mom in the world in my eyes, I am only fourteen so obviously I can't "legally" drive for two more years, so it's my mom that takes me around everywhere. However she does not collect, she loves helping me and meeting the players, but even she will admit that she could care less for a signed photograph of Tommy Lasorda, even with the "love you" thing. In fact two years ago I gave her a Bobby Abreu signed photo, that WAS her favorite Angel, and neither of us know where that now is! She offered to give me the money of what the photograph cost, $5, but I told her not to worry about it and that I would just keep it as a memory and keep it safe in my photo binder, she was perfectly happy with that since she pry wouldn't of done anything with it anyways.
Tommy ended up staying 15 minutes past his scheduled time but not every fan got an autograph, Tommy was signing super slow as he was putting the H-O-F inscription and taking photographs with everybody. Luckily those who didn't get him didn't go home empty handed, they just had to settle for Steve Yeager, which is a nice consolation prize in my opinion. Yeager showed up a few minutes late but also started signing right away. By the time he had arrived about half of the people from the overflow Lasorda line had left so the line only had about 60 people in it. Yeager blew through the line but as I got up to him, I realized he had one of the Dodgers handlers with him! I briefly mentioned them in the last mall tour post about how thse guys yell and throw fits if people asked for inscription or multiples, therefore I just settled without asking Yeager for the inscription in my baseball. However later, as I was eating pizza waiting for the Sellers line to start, I noticed that the handler was gone so I went back up to Yeager and asked him if he could put the 81 WS MVP inscription on there to go with my Cey ball. Sure enough he did but it is kind of squished underneath the signature since he didn;t make room for the inscription when he originally signed it.
Here are the signed photos me and my parents got signed this time, luckily there was no personalizing!
Then after finishing up my pizza, I got in line for Justin Sellers, the thrid and final person of the day. By the time Sellers got there only about 20 people remained. Justin took his time with fans and was very cool and talkative. Coming into this morning I had nothing for Sellers, I had four cards left over form when he rehabbed with the Quakes and I thought I knew where they were, I looked for about 15 minutes before giving up. Luckily I was able to pick up three photos from my friend Larry as well as two cards from my other friend Daniel. I got two photos, one a regular and one a spotlight, of Justin's frist major league home run and asked him to inscribe it. Sure enough he did for both me and my mom's photo. However it was still really moist outside and on my mom's photo, there was a bit of a residue on it and Justin left a small handprint on it when he grabbed it. To my surprise Justin has fairly small hands!
My dad was also able to get the photo signed above. Since I had two more cards of Justin I decided to get back in line. I had two cards but three people to get autographs, so I decided to get one of my extra ROMLB signed. You never know who may become big and on top of that, I like Justin and sometimes personal preferences come before stats. I was able to get my 2011 Bowman, my 2011 Bowman Chrome and my ROMLB on the sweetspot with the first major league home run inscription as well.
Overall it was another good, but long day for autographing. Not everything came out perfect but that can always be expected from a free signing, especially when the weather isn't on your side either. But I certainly can't complain! I came away with three Tommy Lasorda's, four Steve Yeager's and six Justin Seller's. I would like to thank the Westfield Century City mall as well as the Dodgers organization for hosting and puttin on this event. I would also like to thanks Tommy, Steve and Justin for coming out and signing despite the bad weather. A big shout out to David (aka David Price), Scott Cr, Larry, Spencer's parents, Daniel and Greg. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!