Sunday, December 30, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed... Try, Try Again!


         For the second straight day I decided to head out to the Murphy Ranch Baseball Complex in Whittier for former MLB catchers Matt Stark, Jim McNamara, Carl Nichols and Jeff DeWillis. All four players were scheduled to do a catchers baseball camp this weekend at the facility. Yesterday I attempted to get the foursome, but my plans quickly changed as the weather took a turn for the worse and the camp was cancelled. I had no intentions of going back to camp. The fact that all four players were not necessarily guys that I "needed" to add to my collection as well as that the camp is coming back in July made me not worry to much about skipping the camp, however last night my plans changed thanks to one simple phone call. Remember how yesterday, while at the fields my friend David and his brother called the organization's number? Well our call may not have been answered then, but it sure was later that night. Apparently the number didn't belong to the organization, it belonged to Matt Stark, THE Matt Stark, a former major league catcher. Stark told David that they would for sure be out at the field tomorrow and encouraged us to stop by. So sure enough, I woke up early Sunday morning and made the trip out to Whittier.

          I got to the camp around ten o'clock and quickly met up with David and my other friend Scotty, who heard about the event last night. We headed up to the fields and quickly spotted two of our targets. The event was real kicked back. There were only about twenty kids at the camp and only about six or seven parents looking on. We spotted both Stark and Nichols, but couldn't find DeWillis or McNamara anywhere. We later found out thanks to Matt Stark that DeWillis only coaches for their Texas and Florida programs, and that McNamara couldn't make it because of his duties as a MLB agent. We waited around for the lunch break and I was able to snap a few photos of Stark, Nichols and the fields.


          Finally, lunch time came. We approached Stark and kindly asked him if he would sign some autographs. Stark looked like a very intimidating individual, and after we got his autographs, all three of us agreed that we expected him to be somewhat of a jerk. I guess look are deceiving because he was one of the nicest guys you'll meet. He was super friendly asking us questions like, "Have you gone to other camps to get guys before?"and, "Where did you find some of these cards?". He even remembered David from talking on the phone with him last night. Like I said above, Stark also informed us that McNamara and DeWillis were not at the camp so that narrowed our target down to just Carl Nichols. Stark was even kind enough to take a few photos and thank us for coming out as well as wish us luck with our collections. He was a true, genuinely nice guy.


          Stark even offered to us to walk across the field and get Nichols who was sitting in the dugout on the opposite side of the field. We decided not to bother him quite yet because it appeared as if he was looking on his phone and eating his lunch. We waited around until he finished up and walk back onto the field. Then we approached him and asked him for an autograph as well. Nichols was also very kind. You could tell that he was surprised that we had cards of him. He kindly signed all of my eight cards and took photographs with us as well. I was very happy to get Nichols since he was probably the best former player at the camp.


          Overall it was another successful day of graphing. It was certainly nice being able to rebound and to pick up a few autographs after striking out the day before. The only downer was that McNamara and DeWillis both weren't there, but all in all, there are no complaints, especially since I was pry one of the few graphers in SoCal to pick up an autograph on what was an unusually dead weekend for graphing. A big thanks to Matt Stark and Carl Nichols for signing and making the second trip out to Whittier worth it. Also a shout out to David and Scotty who were my "partners in crime" today. Thanks for reading and enjoy your week!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Autographing Failure


          As I was searching the internet earlier this week, I stumbled upon some interesting information. Former big league catchers Matt Stark, Carl Nichols, Jim McNamara and Jeff DeWillis were scheduled to be in Whittier Saturday afternoon for a baseball camp. I figured this would be a great opportunity to get some autographs on an unusually dead graphing weekend. Unfortunately Saturday was another stormy day in SoCal, and my gut was telling me that the camp would be cancelled because of the weather. However I decided to avoid my feeling and headed down to the baseball field in Whittier where the camp was suppose to be located. 

          As I kept getting closer to Whittier I began to notice that the weather was clearing up a bit compared to what it was at my home in Upland. Sure there were still some rain clouds and a few light drizzles, but you could definitely tell a difference in how thick the clouds were. This gave me hope that the camp may not be cancelled. I arrived at the field around one, shortly after my friend David and his brother Josh showed up, but unfortunately, Stark, Nichols, McNamara, DeWillis, and/or any of the camp participants were no where to be found. We instantly knew that the camp was cancelled due to weather. We attempted calling the organization to see if the camp was moved to a different location, but our calls kept going to voice mail and were not answered. We decided to take things to a desperate level. We found a hotel on the organizations website where the players who were from out of the area were staying at. We figured that since some of the participants were staying there, some of the coaches may be too. We drove about two miles to the hotel and decided to wait in the lobby hoping that at least one of the former major leaguers would come out and sign. Unfortunately none of the coaches came out and we were not even able to find out if any of them were actually staying at the hotel or not, so after about an hour of failed graphing, we decided to call it a day and grab a bite to eat.

          This is the first day I have had in a while that I didn't get any autographs. Most of the time I will come away with one or two at least when I try. In fact I believe the last time I was shut out was back in 2010. To make things worse it wasn't by some big shot or superstar, it was by a few guys who barely played 150 games in the majors... combined. However the fact that this was the only event going on this weekend didn't completely dampen my spirits, it's not like I decided to pass on another event to go to this one. Now that would of really burned! It's time to put this one behind me and look forward to what will hopefully be a much better week for graphing! Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Landreaux, Leary at Del Amo Fashion Center


          They say all good things must eventually come to an end. That was the case Saturday afternoon as the dodgers hosted their sixth and final Holiday Mall Tour event. This was the fourth mall tour that I have attended, and the second at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance. Former Dodgers Kenny Landreaux and Tim Leary were scheduled to attend and sign autographs for fans. Both Landreux and Leary had already made appearances at the mall tours, so it was sort of a disappointment for some of the local graphers that had already gotten the pair. Luckily for me I had missed out on both players and even though getting their autographs wasn't a priority for me, it still made me happy to see that I could get a second chance at both guys.

          I arrived at the signing around 11:30 and quickly met up with my friends Scotty and Tyler who were first in line. I noticed that there were only about 15 people in line, which didn't surprise me since most people have probably already gotten Landreaux and Leary at one of the other mall tours. Soon after that my friend David and his brother Josh arrived, as always talking to my wonderful graphing friends made time go by very fast. About 30 minutes before the signing Scotty calls me and tells me that he saw Landreaux walk into the Wetzle's Pretzels. Me, Tyler and David decided to go and just see if we could get him. Unfortunately Landreaux came out and said he would get us when he signs, which wasn't a big deal to me. He started signing right on time and Tyler and I went up to him first with our page full of cards. He said to us that he'd only do two but that if we want more we would have to get back in line. This made me very relieved since my intentions were to get back in line anyways and it assured me that he didn't mind us doing so. So he signed two cards each and sure enough, we got back in line.

          Even by the time Landreaux started signing the line was very short, to top things off he was blowing through the line so it made it very easy for the whole gang to get back in line again, and again, and again. I was eventually able to get all nine of my cards done and got back in line for a final time to get a baseball signed. When I got up to Kenny I kindly asked him if he would put "81 World Series Champs" on it. Most of the time players have no problem doing so and on a few occasions, I have heard of older players actually enjoying putting stuff like their World Series year. But obviously Kenny isn't one of them. When I asked he just shook his head "no" and then told me as he handed back to me that, "You need to go to a show to get that done." I told him that I understood and moved on.


          After walking around the mall a little, we went back and met up with David who was holding our spot at the Leary line. Tim arrived right on time as well and began signing right away. He wasn't very talkative but was signing everything that you had and immediately knocked all of my ten cards out on the first round. I decided to go back and get a ball done. I knew for a fact that Leary would inscribe so I asked him to put "88 World Series Champs" on it. Leary was kind enough to inscribe it but put the inscription in a weird place. He put it below the sweetspot, which I have seen people do, but kept writing down the baseball using a different line for every single word. It ended up taking up all of the side panel almost. I guess I can't complain. The ball still came out nice, I was just a little surprised by where the inscription was put since I haven't seen anyone do it before. You'll see what I mean on my picture below.


          I ended up leaving the mall with everything that I had brought signed, which is impressive considering that there were only two people signing. I'm very sad to see all the mall tour events come to an end. It was a great way to add onto my baseball collection during what is typically a mediocre time for baseball graphing. I would like to thank everyone that I have met during the four mall tours that I have attended and I hope that I will see you all again very soon. I would also like to thank Kenny Landreaux and Tim Leary for being very kind and signing autographs today. A big shout out to Scotty, Tyler, Larry, David and his brother Josh who I saw at the signing today. Thanks for reading and everyone have a safe and wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jerry Robinson at Raider Image Ontario


          Now that this whole Mayan Apocalypse thing is behind us, it's time to get back to more important things... like autographs. Former Raider Jerry Robinson made an appearance at the Raider Image store in Ontario Friday evening. This was the first time I have seen Jerry sign at this Raider Image, which is only 10 minutes from my house, so I knew I had to go. Jerry was scheduled to sign from 4-8. After dealing with some horrific parking I was finally able to get inside the mall around 5. I found the store but noticed that Jerry was no where to be found. Apparently he was dealing with traffic and was running very late. Fast forward 20 minutes and Jerry finally arrived, nearly one and a half hours late. He was in very good spirits and made a joke as he was setting up his booth saying, "It was easier getting my first divorce than finding a place to park around here." I feel you Jerry!

          I brought along three cards with me to get signed. Once again I knew this was a paid signing, as are all of the Raider Image signings, but figured it was well worth it. I noticed that Jerry had some nice 8x10's on his table for a reasonable price, so I decided to pick one of those up as well. Jerry was personalizing all the photographs he signed, and to be honest, I have begun not to mind people personalizing photographs. It's not like I sell any of my things, so as long as it's something small like a photo and not a jersey or a football, I see nothing wrong with it. The photo came out great and he put "To Matthew- 'Raider Nation for life'" as well as the "81 Pro Bowl" inscription that I asked him to put on there.


          The three cards came out great as well. Jerry was very personable and funny, commonly cracking jokes like, "I better hurry through this line before the world ends". He also called you by your name whenever he talked to you, which I found to be very nice. He was also very reasonable with his pricing so I had no problem with getting all four items signed.


          I snapped a quick photo with Jerry (as seen above) and left the mall pleased as usual. Overall it was another quick and easy Raider Image signing. If it weren't for him running late, I pry would of been in and out of the mall in under 10 minutes. All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't get to the signing at four, that would of been a long wait. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Personal Autograph


          For those of you who know me or have talked to me, you may have overheard that my P.E. teacher was Gregg Martin, a pitcher in the Toronto Blue Jays system. Gregg, or should I say Mr. Martin, was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 21st round of the 1989 MLB Amateur Draft and played a combined four years in the Blue Jays system before he blew out his arm and retired. Mr. Martin has played with some notable major leaguers over his career, including Al Lieter, Carlos Delgado and Jeff Kent. He had a combined record of 11-9 with a 2.55 ERA in 176.1 innings pitched. As you could imagine he has some pretty cool baseball stories as well.

          Even though he never reached the major league level, he still has had some cards made of him that can be found on card websites such as eBay or Checkoutmycards.com. Ever since I saw his cards online I have wanted to get some and get him to sign them. Luckily I came across some cheap ones and brought them after school to get them signed. You could tell that Mr. Martin was impressed, I'm sure it's not every day that people ask him to sign autographs, and especially not on three cards, so he took his time signing them and even brought me into a different room where there was a table so that they would come out better. The three cards came out great and even though he never reached the majors, the personal connection I have with him makes them just as special as any other card I have gotten signed.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

CHOC Charity Hockey Game at Anaheim Ice


          Some of the NHL's best joined together Friday night for a charity hockey game with proceeds going to CHOC Children's Hospital. The event was to be held at Anaheim Ice, which is a very easy place to graph, so I decided to head out to the rink after school and try my luck. I figured that most of the players would arrive early to practice and warm-up, so my plan was to get to the rink early, and try to get the players walking in.

          I arrived at the event about three hours early. I quickly set up base outside the player's parking lot and began the wait. Unfortunately Friday was a very stormy and cold day in Southern California, so I had to try and keep warm during the wait. Time went by and nobody came in, around 5:00 it began raining. I figured that even if a player did come in, they probably wouldn't stop and I would not want to expose my cards and damage them in the rain. So I decided to go inside and see if anyone would come through the front door. About five minutes after going inside, I got my first action of the day. Kings star Dustin Penner came in and signed for the few people that noticed him. Penner signed three cards for me and four for my friend Scotty, however Penner mistook one of Scotty's Rob Scuderi cards for one of his and signed that one as well. Scotty didn't mind though.


           That was it for players walking in. I became clueless on how the players came in since they didn't come in through the back or the front at least not when we were waiting. I grabbed my tickets at Will-Call and went inside the event. The way the event was set-up made it very difficult for autographs. To even get a guy, you would have to get their attention and throw down whatever you wanted signed about 10 feet down. I was however able to get Brad Staubitz on two cards and Scottie Upshall on three. Upshall was having a lot of fun trying to catch and throw the cards back. He was laughing the entire time and trying to come up with ways to get them up and down. The game then started and we took our seats. About five minutes into the game future NHL Hall of Famer Scott Niedemayer started signing. The line wasn't long at all so Scott was very friendly and signed three cards for me and three for my mother.


          The game itself was very entertaining, but autographs were no where to be found. Ryan Getzlaf scored four goals and the "home" team, which was mostly containing Ducks, won 9-5. The only thing that I wasn't a big fan of was that there was no checking or fighting, two things that always makes a hockey game more exciting. After the game everything completely turned around. I found out that all the players would have to walk right past the fans to get to the parking lot. This was graphing heaven since all the players practically came to you. I was able to get everybody at the event except for the two no-shows, Matt Greene and Sheldon Sourray. I don't have many stories about the autographs, so here are a few pictures followed by my autograph numbers.


Home Team:

George Parros 1/4
Ryan Getzlaf 1/4 
Toni Lydman 4/4
Bryan Allen 3/3
Jonas Hiller 0/9 ("I have to get home")
Teemu Selanne 4/4 1/1 puck
Brad Staubitz 2/2
Sheldon Sourray 0/7 (Didn't show up)
Francois Beauchemin 1/4

Away Team:

Jeff Carter 1/7
Ryan Miller 3/7 3/4 (Had help)
Matt Greene 0/7 (No show)
Dustin Penner 3/8
Dion Phaneuf 1/7 (Kept skipping over me until very end)
Justin Williams 1/7
Rob Scuderi 1/4
Kent Huskins 4/4
Scottie Upshall 3/7

Scott Niedemayer 3/6 3/3 (Had help) (Didn't play in game, just was signing autographs)

          Overall everything went smoothly. It was a bit crazy at the beginning because a lot of players were coming out at once and a bunch of people were asking to borrow my Sharpie. Word of advice, if you come to an event with something to get signed, bring a Sharpie or whatever you want it signed with!!! I had seven people ask to borrow my Sharpie or DECO and one kid ended up not even giving one of my Sharpies back. But in the end I got pretty much all of the autographs I wanted. I noticed a lot of guys doing one per person, probably because there were quite a few people and they pry wanted to get back home. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Monday, December 10, 2012

We've Got A Winner!!!


          First of all I would like to thank you all for the tremendous support I have received since starting this blog! I've been fortunate enough to know some people with blogs and have always imagined myself starting one, however, I could never of imagined how much support and viewership I have had since starting this blog just over a month ago. Anyways, as you know I posted my first official giveaway Friday night. After going two days without a response, I began to wonder if there would ever be a winner! But, sure enough, today I had five responses, enoguh to close the polls and determine a winner! Before I announce the winner, let me refresh your guy's memories on what the prize was:

Kevin Kouzmanoff 2007 Topps "Co-Signers" #163/200
Brandon Roy 2010 Pannini "Crown Royale" jersey card #347/499

          I decided to use random.org to randomly decide my results. This is a great site for all of you who want a non-controversial way to randomly pick a winner, so without further a due, the winner is.... (Drum role.......) Fuji!!! Here are the final results via random.org:

List Randomizer

There were 5 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
  1. Fuji
  2. Superduperman99
  3. dkwilson
  4. Al Kawamoto
  5. Tyler K.
Timestamp: 2012-12-11 04:01:55 UTC
You have randomized this list 1 time.

          I would like to thank you all for your support and participation. I'm sorry for all of you who didn't win, but let me remind you that I will be doing many more contests and giveaways! This will certainly not be my last! So, I will ask you all to remain following my blog and me on Twitter so that the next giveaway I will do, you guys will already be prepared! Thank you again for your support! Would Fuji please leave a comment in the comment box under this post and I will give you further instructions from there! Thanks again and enjoy your week!

Setoguchi, Clifford at Ontario Reign


           After a long couple of days, I decided to cap off my weekend of graphing by going to the Ontario Reign's "Post Game Player Party" at the local Boston's Pizza in Ontario. With the NHL still ongoing, many NHL players have found teams to temporarily play on either in the Minor Leagues, or in other countries around the world. I recently went to one of these player parties to get Minnesota Wild foward Devin Setoguchi, you can read about that by clicking here, but since then Kings foward and 2012 Stanley Cup Champ Kyle Clifford joined the team. I noticed that this would be the last player party until mid-January, so I decided to head out to see what I could get.

          When I got to the restaurant, I was informed that there were only four tables open for public seating as all of the others were reserved, the cool thing about this was that the table was three feet away from where the players sat and I was surrounded by some of there families. I ordered a delicious pasta and ate to pass some time until the players arrived. The Reign ended up winning in overtime and about an hour later, all the players started rolling in. I had my eyes out for three people, Clifford, Setoguchi and Paul Mara, who was also on the team. I quickly found Clifford and get this, he was sitting in the booth right behind me! I ended up sitting back-to-back with him. I was going to wait until he got up but realized that a few people were going up to the table and he was signing so I decided to do the same. Kyle signed all five of my cards, two 2012 SCORE's and 3 2012 Upper Deck's as well as my Kings logo puck which is pictured below next to my Setoguchi Sharks puck.


          Next up was Devin Setoguchi. On top of the ten cards and puck that I had for him, I also had my brother-in-law's jersey which he got in Minnesota as well as a card for him (He is a major Wild fan). I knew it would be a long shot to get all of them signed, but figured I would give it a try. Devin was just sitting at the table with most of the other players. He was mainly on his phone and was sipping on a beer but surprisingly didn't have the free pizza they laid out for them. I approached Devin and he was as nice as could be, he was a little bit quiet, but was very nice. I first handed him my brother's jersey. He signed it right across the "0" and it came out beautifully. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it and returned it to him before it came across my mind. I then asked him to sign my cards, he was kind enough to sign my ten as well as the one for my brother, that's now fifteen cards I have gotten Setoguchi on including the last player party. Finally, I kindly apologized for having so may things for him and asked him if he could sign my one last puck, sure enough he did. I was also able to snap a photo with him on my phone but couldn't find how to upload it. What I found cool about Setoguchi was that he didn't get annoyed when I asked him for the stuff. Sometimes I see players get annoyed if I ask them for one more thing, and I can sometimes understand why, but Devin was different and in my opinion, that's how these players getting paid millions of dollars from their fans should act. If you can't handle a fourteen year old with some cards and his brother's jersey, then you shouldn't be playing.

          Overall it was a very easy day. It was a nice change from waiting in line for so long. I ended up being at Boston's for three hours and spent half of that time eating and watching the Lakers game on the big screen. Unfortunately, Paul Mara didn't show up, but that's okay because he was the least important to me out of the three. I would like to thank the Ontario Reign and Boston's Pizza for hosting the event, as well as Kyle Clifford and Devin Setoguchi for being class acts and taking the time to sign. Thanks for reading and enjoy your week!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fernando Valenzuela at Westfield West Covina


          Dodger legend and former Cy Young Award winner Fernando Valenzuela made an appearance at the Westfield mall in West Covina Saturday afternoon. The appearance was the fourth of six Dodgers Holiday Mall Tours. I had attended the second and third mall tours so I thought I knew what to expect, but this one was much different. The night before a few of my friends called the mall to ask about the details and they were told that security would not be allowing anybody to line up until eight o'clock and that anyone who refused to leave would be arrested for loitering. This changed my plans entirely.

          I had originally planned on getting up around one. I expected a huge crowd, even bigger than the Tommy Lasorda signing, due to the fact that Fernando is a major icon in the latino community here in Southern California. However, after hearing this I decided to sleep in a little and get to the signing around five to see what was going to happen. Sure enough I woke up around 4:15 and immediately called my friend Scotty, who had been there since eleven the night before, to see how security was doing things. He told me that security was letting everybody line up and that there were sixty people already in line. So I hurried up, got dressed and made the fifteen minute drive out to the mall. When I got to the mall there were about eighty people, luckily I was able to meet up with Scotty, and my other fiends Chuck, Ken, Ken Jr, and David who I had just seen about six hours ago at the DeAndre Jordan signing they were kind enough to let my mother and I hop in line with them.

          Around 6:00 all hell broke loose. The head of security came out and told us that their boss was angry that we had been allowed to line up and they told us that we would have to leave the mall and come back at 7:30. This blew our minds since they had let people line up all night and then out of nowhere they tell us that we have to leave for one and a half hours! Luckily Ken and David talked to security and came up with an idea to create a list of people in line so that nobody would be able to get in front of everyone else. However, people were saying that they had groups of six or seven people, one person even said they had a group of twelve people coming! This could of all been avoided had they handed out numbered wristbands to everybody. Since we had to leave, me and David decided to go to the Denny's about two mile down the street. We had a nice breakfast and left around 7:10 knowing that we would get back by 7:30 with time to spare. We pulled out and accidentaly got in the wrong lane that got us on to the freeway, we figured we would just turn around at the next off-ramp but, there was a ton of construction and a bunch of the off-ramps were closed! We ended up getting lost and went as far as Baldwin Park! A drive that was less than two miles turned into a thirty minute drive and to make things worse, the fog was so terrible that we couldn't see 100 feet in front of us. In the end we were able to get to the signing and get in line.

          This was no doubt the most unorganized event I had ever been too! Security was telling us this and that, and even yelled at my mom for asking what they were doing! The guys running the event were complete idiots and had no idea what to do. They even made us put away our chairs three hours before the signing started. But finally Fernando came in driving a beautiful Corvette with his grandson. He started signing right away, but they didn't let the regular people in line go up until everyone that had bought a mini-plan that morning had gotten an autograph. We ended up getting his autograph around 11:40. Fernando was nice enough to sign two baseballs, one for me and one for my mom, on the sweetspot.


          Former Dodgers outfielder Kenny Landreux was also scheduled to sign later, but I did not have anything for him so I headed over to Frank and Sons, picked up some supplies, and headed home.

          As I said above this was a terribly unorganized event. This mall also hosted a signing earlier this year and even though I passed on it, I heard that it was unorganized as well. Obviously these guys need to learn how to handle an event before they volunteer to host another one. I would like to thank Fernando Valenzuela for making the appearance and kindly signing my baseballs. I would also like to give a shout out to Scotty, David, Ken, Ken Jr, Spencer, Alex, Spencer, Larry and George, pretty much the entire autograph community! Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, December 7, 2012

My First Giveaway!!!


         Ever since I started this blog I have been thinking about doing a giveaway. I've seen many bloggers do this before and it can really help their publicity. So, after a day or two of debating, I decided upon two cards I thought would be good giveaway pieces:

Kevin Kouzmanoff 2007 Topps "Co-Signers" #163/200
Brandon Roy 2010 Pannini "Crown Royale" jersey card #347/499

          Here is what you have to do, you must answer my trivia question that I will post at the bottom of post, HOWEVER, there are a few catches to try and up my publicity and if they are not met, the giveaway will be called off. ON TOP OF ANSWERING THE QUESTION, HERE ARE THE OTHER REQUIREMENTS THAT MUST BE MET:

-You MUST follow me on Twitter, my handle is @MCville27
-You MUST be a follower of this blog, just create a blogger account and press follow on the left hand side
-I MUST have AT LEAST 12 followers of this blog at the time the giveaway ends (Currently at 7)
-I MUST have at least 22 followers on Twitter by the time the giveaway ends (Currently at 18)
-You MUST post the CORRECT answer in the comments box under THIS post

          Again if you do not meet the requirements or I do not have have the amount of Twitter / Blogger followers that are stated above, then the giveaway IS CALLED OFF!!! So please ask your friends and anyone you know who enjoys autographs to follow this blog and me on Twitter.

The trivia question is... Who was the SECOND person picked by the Los Angeles Angels in the 1960 MLB expansion draft and what team did he formerly play for? The FIRST FIVE correct answers will be placed in a drawing where I will at random pick the winner. Make sure to meet ALL requirements posted above and enjoy!

DeAndre Jordan at Footlocker Beverly Hills


          Clippers star center DeAndre Jordan made an appearance at the Footlocker store in Beverly Hills Friday night. The appearance wasn't made public until earlier Friday afternoon when Footlocker posted the appearance on their Twitter page. Around 2:45 I got the news from three of my friends and debated on making the long, Friday night drive out to Beverly Hills or not, but in the end I decided to go.

          Traffic was fairly good, especially for a Friday night, and we got to the Footlocker around 6pm, one hour before the scheduled start time. My good friend David, not the one from David's Autograph Signings, was able to pick me up three cards at the card shop that he had stopped by on the way out. On top of that I had a few items laying around my room which I needed to be signed by D.J. Not to my surprise the long wasn't very long at all, in fact me, my mom, and David were third group in line. DeAndre arrived about twenty minutes late, most likely due to the L.A. traffic, but it is certainly not the first time a player arrived late to their own appearance, and I can guarantee you it won't be the last either.

          Then something fairly wierd and very unorganized happened. The Footlocker staff told us to bunch up together by the table to watch DeAndre do a Q and A before he started signing. The bad thing about this is that there are always stupid people who think that they are better than everyone else and just jump right to the front of the line, giving no concern for the people that have actually waited longer than they did. I ended up getting crowded and shoved around by people who were at the back of the line, who were trying to get to the front! Even though there were only thirty people there, it was still a mess and got me a little irritated that me and the other four people that were in front of us were getting pushed back to the rear of the group by people who had just arrived. Eventually DeAndre started signing, they made us form a NEW line against a wall and somehow, we were about 15 people back! I knew we were going to get the autograph either way, but it's the whole principal of people who think they are just better than you and decide to just blatantly get in front of people who have waited much, much longer than them. Anyways, now that my small rant is over, it's time to get back to the main goal, autographs.

          I noticed that not one person in front of us had given D.J. an outside item, instead having him sign the giveaway shirt or a cheap Under Armour poster that he had with him. It got me worried that maybe he wasn't doing outside items and only the cheap shirts or posters which personally, I could care less about. But sure enough he was doing outside items and signed the three cards David picked up for me as well as my 8x10 of him, Blake Griffin and Caron Butler. He was also kind enough to put "Lob City!" on my photo at my request.


          As you can see DeAndre signed my cards in black but the photo in blue. When I handed him the blue Sharpie, he looked at it, and then looked at the black one in his other hand, then set down my blue ones and signed the cards in black, which I thought was strange. He was also about to sign my photograph with black before I politely asked him if he could use the blue one I gave him. You'll pry also notice that the one card on the far-left didn't come out at all. Sadly I didn't have time to prepare the cards for signatures, but didn't think they would bubble, at least not that bad!


          He was also able to sign my Clippers team basketball for my mother who was nice enough to drive me. Basketball graphing is hard to come by in SoCal, and when they do sign, it is almost always out in Los Angeles and on a busy weekend for me! I now have Eric Bledsoe and former Clipper Bobby Simmons on the ball with D.J. who I both got last season. I also noticed that 2000 NCAA basketball champion and former NBA player Jay Williams was hanging out. I saw on Twitter that he would be there but didn't think much about it until I saw him checking out some hats. I asked him for a photograph and sure enough, he took one with me.


          After that we left the mall and headed home. Luckily traffic wasn't bad again so my mother and I considered ourselves very lucky that we didn't get caught in the terrible Los Angeles traffic. I would like to thank the Footlocker store in Beverly Hills as well as DeAndre Jordan and Jay Williams for hosting and making the appearance. Thanks for reading and until next time, enjoy!

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!