Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Angels vs. Blue Jays: 8/1 & 8/2
The Toronto Blue Jays came into town for the first and only series against the Angels this past weekend. The 'Jays (much like the Angels) had a busy offseason acquiring super-star talent including Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buerhle. While the club has definitely struggled on the diamond, they are still one of the best teams in the majors from an autograph perspective, so I made the trip to Angel Stadium for the first two games of the four game set.
Game One (8/1/13):
I decided to dedicate this day completely to the "big names". By that, I mean that I wasn't planning on doing many cards, and I certainly wasn't going to run after any scrubs like some other graphers tend to do. I've always noticed that when I do this, the quality of the autographs I get seem to be better, therefore I was hoping that this trend could continue today.
The first autograph I got came from catcher J.P. Arencibia. J.P. kindly walked over and signed autographs for the few graphers that were waiting and was kind enough to sign a pair of cards.
Next up was former Angel Macier Izturis. Izturis was always a tough get when he was with the Angels, and I was only able to get him a hand-full of times over the past few years. With that said, I was happy to be able to get my 2012 Topps card signed by him.
I found it kind of ironic that my first two autos of the day came on cards when my main goal for the day was to focus on the bigger names. I guess the autographs were just coming to me at that point and I wasn't about to pass them up.
The next guy to sign was 2013 All-Star Steve Delabar. Delabar has a really cool story, and I encourage everybody to go look it up if you haven't already. His story is almost identical to that of Evan Gattis, however it is a bit more low key and isn't as well known as Gattis'. I was able to get all of my cards signed by Delabar last season when he was with Seattle, so this time I decided to get him on a 2013 All-Star baseball with the "#RaiseTheBar" inscription.
To me, it was really cool to get that inscription since I actually used that hash-tag to vote for Delabar back in July, and in the end, I was more than happy with how it came out.
After Delabar, back-up catcher Josh Thole came over and signed. Thole was one-per as he was last season with the Mets, and I was able to get him on my 2013 Heritage card.
That wrapped up things for pre-game, so I grabbed a quick bite to eat and then went inside Angel Stadium for Jays' BP.
The first autograph I got inside came within about ten minutes of the gates opening. Reigning CY Young Award winner R.A. Dickey came over an signed near the suite seats. I was thrilled to see R.A. sign since he denied all of us pre-game, and was able to get my Mets 50th Anniversary baseball signed by R.A.
Dickey was probably the best signer over the four game series, and I saw a lot of people take advantage of that by getting six or eight things signed. That's too far if you ask me. I don't mind seeing people go back and get two, but when people get that many, you know that it's a problem. In this case, I was happy to get my one and leave Dickey alone for the rest of the series.
I then positioned myself over the Toronto dugout in hopes of getting Jose Bautista, who was in the second group. Bautista had told us earlier that he'd sign after he hits, and sure enough, he came over and began signing. Jose knew how to do things, he told us that he'd sign exactly until 6:05 (five minutes) and used one pen (mine actually) to knock out all of the baseballs before switching to a Sharpie and knocking out photos, cards, etc. In the end I'd say he got at least 50 autographs in, very impressive for a player of his caliber. I was able to get Bautista on my 2013 All-Star baseball underneath the logo.
That was it for BP, or at least, for me. I decided to go up to my seats and skip pre-game warm ups, figuring that my luck was probably about to run out. After the game, however, my luck continued. The first player to sign was former Marlins' ace, Josh Johnson. Johnson came out the front with his family and still signed for everybody despite the fact that he got destroyed on the mound. I was able to get Josh on a 2010 All-Star baseball.
Finally, I decided to got to the back where I was able to get Casey Janssen on a pair of cards and former Angel Darren Oliver on a card, wrapping up day one.
Game Two (8/2/13):
I got one autograph the entire day, and to me, it was more than worth the trip down. Jose Reyes came over and signed just as he finished up stretching. Reyes ended up signing for about twenty people and in the end, I was able to get my 2010 All-Star baseball signed.
I actually got a second autograph later that night, as I was able to get Kole Calhoun on a baseball for my cousin who was visiting. Kole hit his first big league home run that night and I was able to get him to inscribe "First Home Run Day", however I gave it away before I was ble to take a photo, so you'll just have to believe me.
In the end it was a great series. A big shout out to Kyle, David P., Benson, Kyle M., Alex, Rob, Crocker, Mike, and everyone else that I graphed with. A quick side note, I'm going to try and attend about two games a series for the rest of the season, so don't expect to see entire series recaps. I just live a bit too far away to drive out just for post game or just because I feel like it. Thanks again for your continued support and thanks for reading!