Sunday, April 21, 2013
Angels vs. Tigers Series Recap: 4/19-4/21
The Detroit Tigers came into town for their first and only series in Southern California. Last year I had terrible luck with the Tigers and missed out on Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder both in one night, but this year I was hoping things would be different.
Game One (4/19/13):
I headed down to Angel Stadium directly from school to try and catch the tail end of pregame graphing. When I got to the stadium, I was informed that only Max Sherzer and Joaquin Benoit had came up and signed in the morning, and also that Miguel Cabrera, my main goal for the series, had not come in yet. The first person to come in was Tigers' reliever Phil Coke. Coke was friendly as usual and signed my 2013 Topps Heritage card for me.
About 20 minutes later Ramon Santiago pulled up in a taxi and signed for everyone that asked. Ramon was kind enough to sign three cards for me.
Not to long after the gates to the stadium opened and I hustled down to the Tigers' dugout to try and catch some players as they come out to stretch. It was about five minutes later that I noticed C.J. Wilson and Joe Blanton having a bullpen session in left field. I noticed that there was already a big crowd surrounding the dugout, and figured that I'd give the bullpens a try. So I hustled over to the bullpens and was able to get C.J. Wilson to sign my 2013 Topps Heritage card.
Joe Blanton then came out and completely ignored me and the other kid waiting. Joe is a terrible signer and never even looks at the fans. There should be a rule that if your career ERA is over 4.20, then you should at least be decent about signing. So after being denied I raced back over to the Tigers dugout where I got shut out. In fact almost everyone got shut out. Max Sherzer signed for a few people, but signed while I was over getting C.J.'s autograph. The biggest surprise was Prince Fielder signing for a good 5 minutes over the dugout, but by the time I got there, it was a mess and I had no chance of getting his autograph. Disappointed, but not overly surprised, I headed up to my seat where I got this picture of Torii Hunter in his first at-bat back at Angel Stadium.
Luckily all wasn't bad. The Angels came out victorious in an 8-1 contest, and I enjoyed the game along side my fiends Josh and Benson. As for post-game, let's just say it was a nightmare. I've never before seen such a big crowd waiting for autographs, and what annoyed me was half of the people were expected Angel players to walk out or were bugging us asking who every person that walked out was. There were probably a good 100 people waiting and the only two people I was able to get were Joaquin Benoit and Anibal Sanchez.
That was it for game one. As I was waiting in line at McDonalds, I got a text from my fiend Mike that Torii Hunter had just walked out and signed for the remaining ten graphers. I could have easily had my best night ever at Angel Stadium. Had I been more prepared, I could have had Miguel Cabrera (the story is too complicated to share), Prince Fielder, and Torii Hunter all in one night, but instead, I got none of them. That's how some nights go though. Kind of like when I was at Superfest in San Diego earlier this year, getting shut out by Adrian Gonzalez while my friends were getting Grienke, McGuire, and every other big name Dodger imaginable. Luckily I still had two more days to try and rebound.
Game Two (4/20/13):
I made the trip back down to Angel Stadium for game two of the series in hopes of rebounding from the rough night prior. Since the game was being televised nationally, it started at 12:00, which meant I would have to be at the stadium way too early after being up until 2:00 a.m. the night prior, so instead I just decided to graph post-game. I got to the stadium just minutes after the Angels pulled out a 10-1 victory and found my friend David who was lucky enough to have gotten Erik Karros' autograph. I was really hoping for E.K.'s autograph but obviously it wasn't meant to be. A couple of minutes later USC quarterback and top draft prospect Matt Barkley came out and signed for a few fans. I didn't bring anything specific for Barkely since I didn't know he was going to be in attendance, but I did, however, have an extra ROMLB which Matt kindly signed.
Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson, and Max Sherzer all walked out within 15 minutes of each other, and none of them signed but for maybe one person. So I then headed to the back in hopes of getting Torii Hunter's autograph. As I got to the back I noticed Johnny Peralta just finishing up signing. I was able to catch Johnny at the last second and was able to get all six of my cards signed by the Tigers' shortstop.
Then the man, Torii Hunter, came up the tunnel and signed. Torii was super cool and signed for every fan waiting. I was able to get Torii to sign my Rawlings Gold Glove Award baseball under the "Gold Glove" logo.
Apparently, in getting Torii's autograph, I missed out on Garrett Richards and Jim Leyland, both guys who I've gotten before. But I was more than happy to get Torii's autograph and head home, concluding the second day of graphing.
Game Three (4/21/13):
Since it would be my final chance this year at getting Miguel Cabrera's autograph on a baseball, I figured I'd wake up early and head down for some pre-game graphing. I decided to try the Angels side first in hopes of getting some of the big names (Trout, Pujols, etc.), but none of them stopped and signed. After seeing most of the big names roll in, I decided to head to the front and try to graph some Tiger walk-ups. My goal was still to get Miguel Cabrera's autograph on a ball, unfortunately there was no sight of Miggy. The only Tigers I was able to get were Andy Dirks, Omar Infante, Joaquin Benoit, and Brayan Villareal.
That concluded the day and the series for me. Overall it was a tough series. I don't know what it is about the Tigers, but I never seem to have any luck when they come in to town. Hopefully my luck will change either next season or if they meet the Angels in the playoffs come October. A big shout out to Josh, David, Ryan, Nancy, Kieth, Benson, and everybody else that I saw this weekend. Thanks for reading!