Sunday, December 14, 2014

Brandon Barnes Whiffleball Invitational: 12/14/14

On Sunday, December 14th, Rockies OF Brandon Barnes held his 2nd Annual Barnyard Whiffleball Invitational. The event only required a small donation to charity and featured some pretty decent MLB names. I decided to make the trip to Anaheim for this year's event after skipping it last year.

The event was held at The Office Sports
Once the doors opened I was able to go inside and catch up with some friends. The event was set up differently from what I imagined so I also had to spend some time checking things out. After a few minutes of waiting I was finally able to get my first autograph from Reds prospect and Cal State Fullerton alumni Michael Lorenzen. Lorenzen is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and has remembered me from his college days. After talking to him for a while I was able to get an ROMLB signed with "2013 1st Round Pick".

Michael Lorenzen autographed baseball
A while later I went back and asked him if he'd mind putting the bible verse that he would sometimes add. After talking for a few minutes he asked what my favorite scripture was and added it along with his favorite. I think it's a pretty cool piece.

The next guy I got was Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly. Kelly was one of my main targets coming in to the day and would knock out a pair of 8x10's and several cards for me.

Joe Kelly autographed 8x10's
I was also able to get the host of the event, Brandon Barnes to sign a few cards. I felt a bit bad for Barnes since he was running around the whole day, but I will give him credit for being a much better host than Bobby Wagner was at his event earlier this year.

Brandon Barnes autographed cards
One of the last guys to show up was Angels pitcher CJ Wilson. Wilson wasn't actually participating in the games but made an appearance to support the cause. He was cool as always and signed and 11x14 with "P.M.A." and a 2013 Bowman.

CJ Wilson autographed 11x14
On his way out I also had CJ sign a ROMLB on the sweet spot with "P.M.A." on it as well. P.M.A. stands for Positive Mental Attitude, which is a motto CJ lives by and has promoted publicly. Some might call the inscription stupid but I think it's pretty cool.

CJ Wilson autographed baseball
Ironically CJ asked to take a photo with me. Usually I'm the one asking to take photos with athletes, but CJ noticed that I was wearing a "Violent Gentlemen" sweater and asked for a photo to send to his friend who owns the company.

By far the most difficult autograph to get was Nolan Arenado. Arenado decided to sign a few at a time and then go and hide from the fans instead of signing for everyone at once like all of the other athletes did. Arenado probably could've avoided being mobbed by just signing for the 30 people who were waiting, instead he was the only person who seemed to have an issue signing. Luckily I was able to get him on a Rawlings Gold Glove baseball underneath the logo.

Nolan Arenado autographed GG baseball
I guess karma does really come back to get people since Arenado's team lost in the semi-finals to Justin Sellers and his teammates. 

To wrap things up I was able to get cards signed by Tyler Matzek, Mark Trumbo, and Christian Colon, who made a brief cameo in the Royals World series run. 

Random autographed cards
I've always heard stories of Trumbo being a not-so-pleasant guy, but as I've stated in the past, I've never had a bad experience with him. He was very friendly today and I took the opportunity to get a quick photo with him.

Thanks to Kyle for the photo
That wrapped up what was a very good day of graphing. It's nice to see that there are still autograph friendly events like this one and that Barnes and all of the participants (Arenado excluded) went out of their way to sign. It was nice catching up with my summer family including David P, Alex, Kyle, Ryan, Scotty, Mike, Tyler, Jack, Phil, Rick, and others. Thanks for reading.

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