Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chad Billingsley Rehab Start with Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

          Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley made a rehabilitation (rehab) start with the Dodgers' High-A affiliate, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Thursday night. Since I live only 10 minutes away from the Epicenter, I felt obligated to make the short trip for what would be an easy autograph. I got to the stadium shortly after the gates opened at 6:05. It was the California League season opener for the Quakes, so as expected, there was a slightly larger crowd than normal. Unfortunately, all of my Quakes and Storm cards came late in the mail, so I only had a few cards on me to get signed. I was, however, able to get Padres top prospects Cory Spangenberg and Jace Peterson to sign some cards for me.

          After that I headed back up to my seats and watched about the first three innings of the game while Billingsley was pitching. Around the third inning I looked at my phone and saw a rumor that Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was in attendance to watch Billingsley pitch. t made perfect sense since the Dodgers had an off day Thursday and were waiting for the Pirates to come into town. I searched around the stadium and finally spotted Mattingly in a suite behind home plate. However the window of the suite was closed and Billingsley had just gotten pulled out, so I decided to leave and come back after I got his autograph. Things ended up working out well though. As we were waiting by the Quakes clubhouse for Chad to emerge, Mattingly walked right in and had a few words with his pitcher before coming back out. One of the graphers approached Don and he was more than happy to sign autographs. I didn't come prepared with any Mattingly items, however I did bring my Carl Crawford ball which he side-paneled and decided to turn it into a team ball.

          Getting Don was an unexpected treat that really made my day. I then waited around for Billingsley to come out. About 15 minutes later, he popped out of the Quakes clubhouse and signed for the 20 or so fans waiting. Chad was strictly one per, claiming that he was in a hurry. Luckily my mother was able to help me out and get my recently started team ball signed by him as well.

          Right as I turned around I noticed former Dodger World Series Champion Dave Stewart standing waiting for Billingsley. Apparently Stewart is Billingsley's agent and was there to watch him pitch. Had I seen Stewart before I got Billingsley, I would have easily used my ROMLB for him, however I didn't and just took a picture with him instead.

          Overall it was a terrific night of graphing in Rancho. I came away with a lot more than I expected going into the stadium. A big thanks to Don and Chad for both signing, as well as Cory Spangenberg and Jace Peterson for signing earlier in the evening for me as well. Thanks for reading and happy Firday!