Tuesday, February 26, 2013

First Trip to Spring Training

          I decided to make the trip down to Arizona on Wednesday night for some Spring Training baseball. This was my third straight year going to the Cactus League, and must I admit, I was not nearly as prepared the first two trips as I was this time. My plan was to arrive at my aunt and uncle's house in Goodyear, Arizona late Wednesday night and come back home on Sunday for a total of four full days of graphing. Sure enough, things went as planned and I arrived in Goodyear around 9:30 on Wednesday night.

Day 1 (2/21/13):

          After a short night's sleep (4 hours or so) I woke up around 6:00 am with intentions of heading out to Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. However my plans quickly changed. Wednesday happened to be one of the worst weather days in the Phoenix area all year, and Scottsdale by far got the worse end of it. I saw photographs from the Diamondbacks Twitter feed of Salt River Fields covered in snow the day before, but was too naive to think that it would affect the practice that I was planning on attending. After getting dressed I looked at my phone and saw another tweet from the Diamondbacks saying that practice was moved to 1:00 so that the snow could be cleared. I found myself in a small pickle. I could either: A. Go back to sleep and go to the practice later in the afternoon B. Sit around my aunt and uncle's home and wait the practice started or C. Go to another practice and then go to Salt River Fields once the Diamondbacks were scheduled to practice. Knowing the autograph hound I am, C was the obvious choice. I decided to go to the closest stadium near by, Goodyear Ballpark, just 5 minutes from where I was staying, so I raced upstairs and quickly gathered my Reds cards and headed down the road to the practice fields. For those of you that don't know, the Reds and Indians actually practice at a set of fields about a mile away from the main ballpark, this is by far the best place to graph.

          I got to the fields around 8, nice and early. The only problem was that I had my day planned for Scottsdale, which is a 45 minute drive from Goodyear, and we could not enter the practice facility until 9. Since it was freezing outside (For Arizona standards) me and my parents decided to take a drive to McDonald's for some breakfast, and then take a quick drive around the hills in the area to kill some time. I ended up back at the practice fields around 8:55 and the gates opened soon after. I raced to the Reds side with about 5 other friendly graphers who I had just met, and saw this...

          It may not look like much, but this photograph is just an example of how awesome Spring Training is. It's not like a regular season game, you can get withing 10 feet of a player at any given moment, and hear word-by-word of what every coach or instructor says to their players. While this was a cool place to watch some pitchers warm-up, it was not a good place for autographs, so I went around to the other side of the complex where most of the players are almost forced to walk by. When I got there here was my scene...

          Pretty cool, no? The minor league field was to my left and the major league field was to my right. The only thing separating the players that walk by from the fans was a four foot tall chain link fence. Most of the Reds walked right by us on our way to the fields, and almost all of them said that they'd sign later, which is pretty much as good as a "No". The only player to stop was Todd Fraizer, but I couldn't recognize him before he signed for the three people waiting and left. After about 20 minutes of warm-up drills, Reds' manager Dusty Baker came over and signed for a few fans. Dusty was as nice as could be and talked with all of the fans while signing for about 7 or 8 people. Luckily I was one of those people and was able to get all three of my cards signed by the Reds' skipper and former Dodger.

          Not a bad way to start out the baseball season for me! After that things got real slow. The Reds are known for being a good signing team at practice, but today they were fairly stingy. But things took a turn for the better. One of baseball's elite players, Joey Votto, walked by the fans on his way to the cages and said he would sign after. I've heard some bad stories about Joey and him being a real jerk, but it seemed as if Joey was in a real good mood, and I actually believed that Joey would come back. Sure enough, after finishing up some drills, Joey grabbed his bag and came over to sign. I wasn't sure if he would sweetspot or not, so I decided to play it safe and grab a 2012 All Star baseball and also handed my mother an 8x10 of his 2010 M.V.P. season. I noticed that Joey was indeed sweetspoting, but at this point, I wasn't in the mood to crouch down, unwrap a new ball, and try to get him to sign it in the crowd. Joey eventually got to where we were standing and signed both the 8x10 and All-Star baseball under the logo.

          I was really excited to get Votto's autograph since I do not get a chance to graph him or the Reds much. He was definitely one of my main guys that I wanted to get and it was a weight off of my shoulders to get him on the first day. After that a few random names signed here and there, I was able to do okay but it was certainly quality over quantity.

          2012 Rookie of the Year candidate, Todd Fraizer, signed again. Todd was friendly but was giving a rushed autograph and the Sharpie skipped as he was signing my 2012 Topps Heritage card, therefore the card did not come out that great. A side note for you graphers out there, Fraizer can NOT sweetspot, which is kind of surprising and disappointing at the same time. Todd denied one guy politely saying that he was under contract. It's pretty sad to see guys like Fraizer, who really aren't major names yet, getting signed to these contracts.

          The "fastest man in baseball", Billy Hamilton, signed as well. If you do not know who Billy Hamilton is, I suggest you look him up. The guy stole 155, yes 155, bases last season between Single-A and Double-A, which was a minor league baseball record. Hamilton is currently ranked the 11th prospect in baseball according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com and people are expecting him to do big things for the Reds in the next few years.

          The final guy to sign for me was Brandon Phillips. Phillips is always fan friendly and signs at the facility almost every day. It appeared as if he had sneaked out of the fields, but as I was putting my stuff away, I noticed Phillips signing where I was standing just moments ago. Luckily he signed for everyone waiting and was kind enough to sign my 8x10 photograph. Here is what I ended up getting signed at Goodyear...

Dusty Baker- 3/3
Billy Hamilton- 2/2
Todd Fraizer- 1/4
Ryan LaMarre- 3/4
Corky Miller- 2/2
Joey Votto- 2/2 (2012 All-Star ball and 8x10 photo)
Brandon Phillips- 1/1 (8x10 photo)

Total- 14 autographs

          We then got back to our car and booked it for Scottsdale. When we arrived at Salt River Fields we went up to a security guard standing in the parking lot. We were not 100% sure where the Diamondbacks would be practicing so we wanted clarification. However the guard told us that the team cancelled practice at Salt River, but were instead doing it at a different park. I once again pulled up the Diamondbacks Twitter page and found out that they were practicing at 2:00 at the Oakland Athletic's training facility, Papago Park. So we headed back the way we came until we got to the new facility, which was a great place for autographs. Basically none of the fields even had an outfield gate separating the field from the fans. Also, all of the players had to walk right by the fans with no barricades or fences to get back to the team bus. I ended up doing very good and was able to get both quantity and quality.

          Future Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Eaton signed. Eaton is seriously the nicest athlete I've meet. I asked him for an autograph earlier in the day and he told me that he had to hit and that he'd get me later. Well about an hour later I was flipping through my cards and felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Eaton. He asked, "So what do ya got for me?". I was in shock and felt bad because I wasn't even on the page with his cards, I apologized and he told me, "No worries" and just waited until I found his page. Eaton was kind enough to sign all four of my cards for me. He also told me that I had to get his new 2013 Topps card, since I didn't have one with me. I told him I'd for sure get one and he told me that whenever I do, just give him a tweet and he'd tell me exactly where to mail it to get signed, just an awesome dude!

          J.J. Putz also signed for fans. I ranked J.J. as the third biggest jerk that I encounter in 2012 due to my encounter with him at Angel Stadium. Putz will probably not make a reappearance on that list in 2013, as he was surprisingly friendly and signed a pair of cards for me.

         Top third base prospect Matt Davidson also signed. I won a bat through a Twitter contest of Davidson earlier this year and these two cards will go nice next to it!

          Paul Goldschmidt also signed. I was thrilled to get Goldschmidt for a first time since I believe that he will do big things in the majors. The dude has insane power and can easily hit 40 home runs a year once he gets settled in to the big leagues.

          Former A.L. M.V.P. Don Baylor signed as well. Baylor is an Angel legend and was a terrific player back in the day. I've gotten Baylor twice before on a pair of official baseballs, so this time I decided to go with a card. As for the rest of practice, here you go...

Adam Eaton- 4/4
Jason Kubel- 4/4
Eric Hinske- 3/4
Wil Nieves- 3/3
Matt Reynolds- 2/2
Brad Ziegler- 2/8
Mark Teahan- 2/3
Ian Kenndedy- 2/8 (Was doing more for some people than others)
Matt Davidson- 2/4
J.J. Putz- 2/4
Garret Mock- 2/2
Paul Goldschmidt- 1/2
Tony Sipp- 1/1
Gerado Parra- 1/7
Cody Ross- 1/4 1/1 (8x10 photo)
Brandon McCarthy- 1/4
Rod Barajas- 1/6
Trevor Cahill- 1/8
Steve Sax- 2/4
Charles Nagy- 1/4 (Some security guard kept telling him that he had to go, but he kept signing for another two or three minutes)
Don Baylor- 1/4
Glenn Sherlock- 1/1

Total- 38 autographs

Day 2 (2/22/13):

           Today was the first day of games around the Cactus League, and I decided to attend the Mariners vs. Padres game at Peoria. I've made Peoria an annual stop on all of my trips to Arizona, not only is the facility super fan friendly, but all of the players sign and the fans are normally very relaxed. I got to the facility around 9:30 and quickly headed over to the Padres practice fields, where I got off to a quick start.

          Jaff Decker came over and signed autographs. Decker was signing sheets of cards for some people and signed all four of my cards for me. I also attempted to take a photograph with Jaff but my mother couldn't figure out how to work the camera well, so it didn't take well.

          Former Cal State Fullerton star Mark Kotsay also came over and signed some autographs. Kotsay was kind enough to sign two out of four cards for me.

          Cameron Maybin signed as well. Cameron is always fan friendly and goes out of his way to sign at times. Cameron signed both cards at once, but I noticed that he gave me two different signatures, which I found interesting. The first one has a big loop at the end while the second one does not. I wonder if he forgot or maybe if it was just a mistake on his part, but either way I was happy to add some more Maybin autographs to the collection.

          Typically the best place for autographs at Peoria is a place called "Autograph Alley", which is where all of the players have to walk by the fans on their way from the clubhouses to the field. As time has gone on, more and more people crowd the area, and today their were quite a few fans down their, so I decided to try my luck down the lines, where surprisingly, there were only about 10 people. I ended up racking up and was able to get a few Mariners to come over as well, including top prospects Danny Hultzen and Mike Zunino.

          To my surprise I was the only person to recognize Hultzen, who was kind enough to come over and sign all four of my cards. Hultzen was very personable asking how my day was going and so on. I was very excited to get one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.

          Zunino wasn't recognized by many people either, and was only asked by a few people to sign. Luckily I caught Zunino out of the corner of my eye and I was able to get him on a Rawlings official baseball with the "3rd Pick" inscription.

          Overall the day was terrific for autographs and I was able to score quite a few more as the players got pulled out and by the Seattle parking lot as well. This was by far the best graphing day I have ever had and is very fitting considering this was probably the most prepared that I have been. Here are the final numbers on the day.

Cory Luebke- 8/8
Anthony Bass- 4/4
Fautino De Los Santos- 4/4
Jason Marquis- 3/4
Tyson Ross- 3/3
Joe Wieland- 2/2
Casey Kelley- 5/8 (No doubles)
Luke Gregerson- 3/3
Sean O'Sullivan- 4/4
Andrew Cashner- 2/4
Adys Portillo- 2/2
Jonathan Galvez- 4/4
Will Venable- 4/4
Kyle Blanks- 4/4
James Darnell- 4/4
Jason Hagerty- 4/4
Jaff Decker- 4/4
Austin Hedges- 7/7 1/1 (8x10 photo)
Yonder Alonso- 1/4
Edinson Rincon- 3/3
Nick Hundley- 3/3
Jedd Gyroko- 2/2
Alexi Amarista- 3/3 (Pic with)
Dale Thayer- 2/2
Tommy Layne- 2/3
Clayton Richard- 1/4
Chris Denorfia- 2/4
Cameron Maybin- 2/4
Mark Kotsay- 2/4
Kevin Quakenush- 2/7
Juedy Valdez- 2/4
Carlos Quentin- 1/3
Travis Buck- 1/3
Glenn Hoffman- 4/4
Alonso Powell- 3/3

Total- 142 autographs! A new record!

Danny Hultzen- 4/4
Taijuan Walker- 4/4
Nick Franklin- 4/4
Mike Jacobs- 4/4
Robert Andino- 7/7
James Paxton- 1/1
Logan Bawcom- 3/3
Carlos Peguero- 2/3
Eric Thames- 1/4
Vinnie Cartricala- 2/2
Alex Liddi- 1/4
Hector Noesi- 1/2 (Started game and got destroyed; lasted less than an inning)
Oliver Perez- 1/6
Eric Wedge- 2/5
Mike Zunino- 1/1 (Sweetspot baseball)

Total- 38 autographs

I was also thrown up the umpire's line-up card at the end of the game. It has both team's starting line-ups as well as both Bud Black's and Eric Wedge's signatures on the bottom.

Day 3 (2/23/13):

          For my third day I decided to head back down the road to Goodyear Ballpark for the Reds vs. Indians game, but first I headed out to the practice facility early in the morning. I decided to set my focus today on the Indians. The Indians spent a lot of money this offseason, and have a lot of guys that most graphers would love to get (Francona, Matsuzaka, Giambi, etc.). Also, I was able to graph the Reds on my first day and wasn't too impressed by the team and their signing habits.

          The first action I saw was over on the minor league fields, where a few non-roster invitees were taking batting practice. I was able to lure over both Matt Antonelli and Tony Wolters before heading back to the major league fields where the big names were taking BP. The Indians were actually very accessible and many of the players came over and signed, the only thing I didn't like was that all of the graphers were shy, and for some reason wouldn't attempt to call players over, so I was on my own in that sense. I was able to get quite a few quality autographs after the club finished up their training sessions, including these...

           At first it didn't appear as if Terry Francona, the Indians' new manager, was going to sign, but he broke down and ended up signing for a ton of people. Fancona was strictly one per person, but both of my parents were able to help me out by getting a card each signed by the World Series Champion skipper.

          Legendary slugger Jason Giambi also signed autographs. I met Giambi back in early 2012 at a little league park that he and his brother, Jeremy, were opening in Murrieta, and Giambi couldn't have been any nice. I got most of my premium items signed by Giambi back then so I was left with just four cards, and Giambi was kind enough to sign all four of them.

          I was able to get a few smaller names as well before heading back to the main ballpark for some more graphing. Today was "Autograph Day" at Goodyear Ballpark and the staff was handing out tickets at the gates which you could redeem for autographs from Reds and/or Indians players. I wasn't sure what to expect, so I grabbed as many tickets as I could find and asked my parents to wait in line while I went over to the Reds side for a second. On my way over there I noticed a table set up with Reds legend George Foster signing autographs. he autograph wasn't free, but it was just a mere $10 and included a photo with George as well. In my opinion it was a no brainer and I pulled out a baseball and got George to sign it. He was als kind enough to add the "NL MVP 1977" inscription on the ball as well.

          After getting Goerge's autograph I headed back to the line where my parents were at. The four Indians players had arrived and I was personally not impressed. The only player I needed was Carlos Carrasco, so I pulled out a ticket and practically walked right up to him. Carlos was kind enoughto sign all four of my cards for me.

          Soon after getting his autograph, the four Reds player's arrived. The four that were scheduled to sign Corky Miller, Kristopher Negron, Pedro Villareal and Kyle Lotzkar. Luckily I had cards for three of the four and were able to get all of them signed.

          I then headed down to the Indians side where I was able to get a few autographs before I found my seat and began watching the game. Around the third inning I began noticing some of the starter heading towards a door in the outfield wall, at first I thought that maybe they were going to the batting cages which were located inside the door, but upon further speculation, I realized that the players were being shuttled to the practice fields, where the clubhouse was, and then leaving early. I ran out to the car with my mother and made my way back to the Indians parking lot and began waiting. It didn't take long for me to get a quality autograph, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera came over and signed an autograph for me and the other grapher waiting. I was able to get Asdrubal on a beautiful 8x10 photograph, which was complimented nicely by his big, neat signature.

          I was also able to get Japanese legend Daisuke Matsuzaka to sign. Matsuzaka is usually a tough guy to get so I was happy to see that he was doing multiples for the now five graphers that were waiting. Dice-K kindly signed my Rawlings baseball across the sweetspot as well as 3 cards.

         In the end I was able to completely rack up autographs from most of the Indians starters. I also heard that most of the big name Reds signed near their parking lot as well, but I was thrilled with my haul non the less.

Justin Masterson- 8/8 (Always extremely nice)
Carlos Carrasco- 4/4
Chris Perez- 4/4
Bryan Shaw- 8/8
Jason Kipnis- 3/4
Matt Laporta- 3/
Nick Hagadone- 2/4
Lou Marson- 4/4
Joe Smith- 4/4
Jason Giambi- 4/4
Daisuke Matsuzaka- 3/3 1/1 (Sweetpot baseball)
Trevor Bauer- 1/4 1/1 (8x10 photo)
Matt Capps- 3/7
Matt Albers- 3/3
Josh Tomlin- 2/2
Matt Carson- 3/3
Omir Santos- 3/3
David Huff- 2/4 ("Which two do you want signed?")
Carlos Santana- 3/3
Mike McDade- 3/3
Matt Antonelli- 2/2
Eziquel Carrera- 3/3
Mike Aviles- 2/4 (Thought the 2010 Upper Deck was a new card, guess he hasn't seen it before)
Tony Wolters- 2/2
Mark Reynolds- 1/4
Blake Wood- 3/3
Scott Barnes- 2/2
T.J. House- 2/2
Cord Phelps- 1/1
Lonnie Chisenhall- 1/4
Terry Francona- 3/4 (Had help)
Kenny Lofton- 2/2
Brad Mills- 3/3

Total- 100 autographs

Kyle Lotzkar- 2/2
Pedro Villareal- 2/2
Corky Miller- 1/1
George Foster- 1/1 (Sweetspot baseball)

Total- 6 autographs

Day 4 (2/24/13):

          For my fourth and final day in Arizona, I decided to attend the Diamondbacks vs. Rockies game at Salt River Fields. This was my first time this trip to Salt River Fields, if you recall, my plans on the first day of the trip were changed after the Diamondbacks practice got moved from Salt River to Papago Park, so I was eager to go to one of the best Spring Training facilities in all of baseball.

          Upon my arrival I headed over to the Rockies practice fields to try and get some pre game autographs. This was my first time graphing the Rockies side at Salt River and I was surprised by how much more accessible the Diamondbacks side was compared to the Rockies side, but I still decided to stick it out with hopes of getting a big name or two. Shortly after arriving my friends Alex, Rob and Matt arrived. Alex and Rob have been at Spring Training since the very first day I arrived in Arizona, however we were never able to meet up until now. Apparently we were both a Goodyear the day before, but they were attempting to get the Reds while I was on the Indians side. Anyways, all of our goals were to get Carlos Gonzalez and/or Troy Tulowitzki. Car-Go and Tulow are both very good signers, so we were hopeful that we would be able to knock out two birds with one stone. As for the practice fields, we didn't do all that great. I was able to get Manny Corpas on a few cards and all of us were able to get outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who has one of the nicest signatures in all of baseball.

          That was pretty much it for the practice fields. Like I said the fields were not very accessible and most of the players were able to avoid the few fans lined up along the rail. We then bought our tickets, and headed inside for the Rockies batting practice, which had already started. As we got inside we were able to immediately find Carlos Gonzalez, who was at the batting cages, however Tulowitzki was nowhere to be found the entire day. After Car-Go finished up his BP, he came over and signed autographs for us behind the dugout. Gonzalez was very friendly and was signing multiples for people as well, definitely one of the nicest stars in the game. I had two things for him, a 2012 All Star game ball and a beautiful 8x10 photograph. I threw down my 2012 All Star ball first, and Gonzalez was kind enough to sign it under the logo.

          On a typical day I would just put the photo on my clip board and toss it down, which is effective 99% of the time. But it was no typical day at all. The wind was ridiculous and gusts were up to 40 MPH, I thought about giving it a try, but I then saw Matt (The other Matt) attempt to toss down some cards. Both attempts landed on the dugout roof, and he had to reach out on to the dugout to grab the cards and toss them just over the ledge. Instead of trying, and most likely failing, I went over to the corner of the dugout and waited for Car-Go to come that way, sure enough, about three minutes later he grabbed his glove and walked right over to me. I told him that I would of tossed it over the dugout, but after seeing those cards there was no way that I was trying to throw a photo down, Gonzalez got a laugh out of that and kindly signed my 8x10 photo.

          Just getting Car-Go made my day well worth it. I was able to get him at Spring Training last year as well on a Rawlings official baseball so these two pieces will be a nice addition to the collection. I stayed over on the Rockies side until their batting practice came to an end. I was able to get a few cards signed but unfortunately, I forgot to take a photograph(s) of them I will leave it strictly to numbers.

Charlie Culberson- 3/3
Gustavo Molina- 1/1
D.J. LaMaheiu- 4/4
Jordan Pacheco- 6/6
Manny Corpas- 3/3
Michael Cuddyer- 1/1 (8x10 photo)
Carlos Gonzalez- 1/1 (2012 All Star ball) 1/1 (8x10 photo)

Total- 20 autographs

         After batting practice came to a close, Alex, Rob, Matt and I went over to the Diamondbacks side and set up down the line. The Diamondbacks are actually told to sign autographs by their public relation directors since they are the hometown team, therefore you can get most of the Diamondbacks before every game down the third base line. All four of us were able to rack up and got most of the team in a 30 minute span.

          2012 All Star, Wade Miley stopped and signed. Miley used to do everything you had for him, but after his terrific rookie year, he is strictly one per person.

          Daniel Hudson followed soon after Miley. Hudson is one of my favorite pitchers in baseball, and I was able to meet him for a first time earlier this season when the Diamondbacks came to Angel Stadium. I felt like an idiot because I didn't recognize Hudson. He was wearing big Oakley sunglasses so I used that for my excuse! Luckily I saw someone get a Hudson card signed a few people in front of us and was able to get Daniel on a pair of cards.

          Slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt also came over and signed. I was able to get Goldy on my 8x10 photograph which I have had on me for a while. Goldschmidt was one of my main goals on the Diamondbacks, and now I can proudly saw that I got him twice this trip!

          The final person to sign for us was Heath Bell. Heath was running back to the bullpen just moments before game time. I was about to head up the stairs when I noticed Heath coming and called him over. Thankfully Heath obliged and signed a pair of cards for me. We all ended up doing great pre game, and I was able to come away with all of these...

Tyler Skaggs- 4/4
Heath Bell- 2/4
Daniel Hudson- 2/8
Zeke Spurril- 2/2
Jeremy Reed- 2/4
A.J. Pollock- 2/7
Aaron Hill- 2/3
Nelson Figueroa- 2/2
Cliff Pennington- 1/5
Mark Teahan- 1/1
Brad Snyder- 1/1
Wade Miley- 1/2
Jason Kubel- 1/1
Ian Kennedy- 1/8
Brad Ziegler- 1/6
Chris Owings- 1/4
Cody Ross- 1/3
Eric Chavez- 1/8
Paul Goldschmidt- 1/1 (8x10 photo)

Total- 29 autographs

          I then was faced with a decision, do I stay at Salt River, watch the game, and try to get a few Diamondbacks after the game? Or do I go to a different ballpark and try to get the starters that got pulled early? I decided to go with the second idea and headed all the way back to Goodyear, which was on our way back to California in the first place. I got back to the Indians practice fields around 2:00 and was almost immediately able to get Chris Perez, who was kind enough to sign my 2011 All Star baseball underneath the logo.

          I then shifted my focus to getting Scott Kazmir, yes, Scott Kazmir out of all people. Kazmir is probably my favorite pitcher in baseball overall. I was in love with him back when he was on the Angels and still have my "Kazmir 19" shirt hanging proudly in my closet. Luckily I was able to get Kazmir's attention and a few minutes later, he came out in his street clothes and signed for us. I was able to get Kazmir on my Rawlings official baseball across the sweetspot as well as four cards.

          As you can see I was all bundled up in my jacket and even had my hoodie on. The condition were miserable, it was cold, and the wind was even worse than in Scottsdale. The place that we were waiting was a dirt field, so we had dusk flying directly at us from all directions, and to make it worse, the sprinklers from the field parallel to us came on, showering us with tiny sprinkles of water that were carried by the wind. So after getting Kazmir, I decided to call it a day and a trip. Here is what I ended up getting at Goodyear...

Rich Hill- 3/3
Yan Gomes- 1/1
Scott Kazmir- 4/4 1/1 (Sweetspot baseball)
Chris PErez- 1/1 (2011 All Star ball)

Total- 10 autographs. Not great but I was just happy to get Kazmir and head back to So-Cal!

          Overall I had a great trip and a great time in Arizona! My total for the weekend was a mind-blowing 397 autographs in just four days, averaging to a total of 99.25 autographs a day. That also pushes my yearly goal of 1,300 autographs to somewhere around 575 autographs. For those of you wondering, I am heading back to Arizona for a second trip starting on Friday, March 15th, so there will be plenty more Arizona graphing upcoming for me. A big shout out to Greg, David (D.K.), Alex, Rob, Matt Crocker, and everybody else that I met on this trip! Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your week!