Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kole Calhoun: 4/25/15

Before heading to the ballpark to graph the Texas Rangers, I stopped by Sports Authority in La Playa where Kole Calhoun was doing an autograph signing. The event was set up nicely since they gave you numbered wristbands and didn't require you to stand in line until the signing was scheduled to start. Personally, I think that's how all signings should be.

I ended up being somewhere in the mid-100's by the time I got my wristband. Luckily Kole got to the signing on time and started blowing through the line. My first item that I got signed was my 2014 AL West champagne bottle. Hopefully I'll be able to add a few more in the weeks to come, but Calhoun is a great start.

I was also able to get a ROMLB signed thanks to my mom who tagged along. It's been years since I've asked her for help at the ballpark, but having an extra person is always helpful at these events.

Thanks to Kole Calhoun and Sports Authority for putting on a great event and, as always, thanks for reading.

Angels vs. Rangers: 4/24-4/25/15

It has been a while since I wrote up my past blog post, so it's time to get caught back up. I was able to get out and graph the Texas Rangers in Anaheim a couple of nights. Instead of showing which autographs I got on each day, I'm just going to show them all together, starting with the cards.

The biggest surprise of the series was getting Neftali Feliz to sign a couple of cards. Feliz was one of the few Rangers that I have never gotten before, so it was nice to get a card for myself and another for my friend Ryan who couldn't make it.

My best autograph of the series came from Adrian Beltre. Unfortunately Beltre wouldn't sweet spot my baseball but I can't complain since he has always been a good signer in Anaheim. Regardless, it's nice to add a guy who *should* eventually make his way into the Hall of Fame.

I also was shown on the Texas Rangers Instagram page getting Beltre's autograph. I find it funny that they posted a photo of him signing with zero Ranger fans in sight.

Overall it was a fun series. I didn't much too much time or effort in to the series and still came away with several good autographs. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Angels vs. Athletics: 4/21/15

The Oakland A's came to Anaheim for their first meeting of the new season. I decided to attend only one game since all four games happened to fall on weekdays. Also Oakland will come to Anaheim two more times this season, so my opportunities to graph them are plentiful.

I was able to get a few good guys during batting practice including RJ Alvarez, Ben Zobrist, Sam Fuld, and Jesse Chavez. Billy Butler and Stephen Vogt both signed after the game.

I was also able to get Sonny Gray on a ROMLB. It was a bit strange since he didn't personalize for either of the two graphers who went before me, however when I tossed him my ball he immediately asked for my name. I guess that's what I get for wearing Angels gear. The ball still came out very nice and I have no complaints.

My last (and probably favorite) thing I got was an empty champagne bottle and cork used in the clubhouse after the Angels clinched the AL West in 2014. I picked them up for only $20 and they both came with MLB Authentication holograms. Hopefully I'll get the bottle signed in the near future.

The game itself was an absolute blowout. The Angels ended up winning 14-1 and near the end of the game a couple of fans behind me started stacking beer cups. It took them a while, but the stack ended up getting eight or nine feet high. I was just impressed that they were able to stay balanced after drinking so many.

Thanks for reading and Go Ducks!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vince Ferragamo: 4/18/15

On Saturday my friend, Dr. Alex Corbin Liu, hosted an autograph signing with former Rams QB Vince Ferragamo. I decided to attend the event at the last minute since I was already in the area picking up some cards. Ferragamo was signing autographs for free but since I didn't bring anything for him to sign I ended up buying an 8x10 from Dr. Liu. Five dollars and several minutes later I had myself a Vince Ferragamo autograph.

A big thanks to Dr. Liu for another great event. His next signing will be on June 13th with former Slam Dunk Champ James "Hollywood" Robinson. All of the info is on the flyer below for those interested.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Angels vs. Royals: 4/10-4/11/15

The 2015 MLB season is officially underway and the Kansas City Royals came to Anaheim for the first regular season series at the Big A. Historically, the Royals have always been an autograph friendly team, however you could definitely tell the difference in the players' attitudes now that they're legitimate contenders. Still, it was nice to be back at the ballpark and hanging out with friends.

Game One (4/10/15):

Pre-game was, as expected, rough for autographs. Like all Opening Day games, the stadium was packed and there was very little room to move around. It did not help either that Angel Stadium (and all MLB stadiums, for that matter) installed metal detectors at the front gates. Let's just say that I've gotten through airport security quicker than I got into the stadium. I was still able to get autographs from two of the nicest guys in baseball, Kris Meden and Danny Duffy, before the game started.

The three cards at the bottom were all signed after the game by So-Cal native Mike Moustakas, Jason Vargas, and Chris Young.

As usual, the Angels had a big pregame ceremony to celebrate the new season. This included a fly-over, player introductions, etc. If you've never been to an Opening Day game, I recommend doing so. It's a great experience for any baseball fan.

On hand to throw out the first pitch was former Angel pitcher Mike Witt. Witt has always been a tough autograph to get since he rarely comes to Angel games and does not sign TTM (through the mail). The only times that I've seen him at the ballpark was during the Angels 50th anniversary season in 2011. Ironically, I saw him at both games that I went to this weekend, and had him sign a ROMLB.

I had to ask Witt to sign it under the sweet spot instead of on it. That's because I planned on turning it into a dual ball with Mark Langston. Langston and Witt threw the first (and only) combined No-Hitter in Angel history on April 11th, 1990, so I had Langston, who started the game, sign it on the sweet spot with the inscription later that night.

The ball might be irrelevant to anyone else, but for an Angel fan like myself, it's a great piece to have.

Game Two (4/11/15):

Game two was pretty much a carbon copy of game one. I didn't do great the first half of the day and only got some cards signed by a few Royals.

Amongst those five cards you'll notice a card signed by Jeff Montgomery. Montgomery is the Royals all-times saves leader, and I had no idea that he was traveling with the team until this awesome experience: While waiting for Royals players to come in, a man dressed in a Royals t-shirt came up to us and asked if we were autograph seekers. Of course, we said yes and the man proceeded to ask if he could borrow a Sharpie. One of my friends, Jeremy, asked if he was a fan looking for autographs and the man replies, "No, I'm an old player and got these cards in the mail to sign. I asked the front desk for a Sharpie and they didn't have one". He then pulled out some cards from an envelope and it was none other than Jeff Montgomery. He ended up giving me one of the cards since I let him use my Sharpie, so if anyone gets their Montgomery TTM back one short, thanks for the card. 

My day took a turn for the better right before the game started as I was able to get the best player in baseball, Mike Trout to sign a ball. Trout ran with a blue Sharpie right before the game was about to start, and I didn't have time to pull out anything other than my ball, but I can't complain since I was one of the very few that he sweet spotted.

The final autograph I got came from Eric Karros. Karros was calling the game for Fox Sports 1 and stopped to sign on his way out. Unfortunately he was in a hurry and was giving out sloppy autographs. Had I known this I wouldn't have asked for an autograph, but he was still kind enough to add "92 ROY".

That wrapped up the weekend. A shout out to the usual including Mike, David, Ryan, Phil, Scotty, and others. Thanks for reading!  

Friday, April 3, 2015

Angels vs. Dodgers: 4/3/15

The Dodgers came in to town for their annual Freeway Series exhibition game against the Angels. In the past few years I've done poorly whenever graphing the Dodgers, however it was my first opportunity to get back to Angel Stadium and watch some baseball. 

As usual, the morning started off poorly thanks to Southern California traffic. I ended up missing out on a few good names including Joc Pederson and Don Mattingly who apparently signed on their way in. Luckily, I was still able to grab a few good graphs pre-game, including cards signed by Juan Nicasio, Joel Peralta, Yimi Garcia, David Aardsma, and a team card by Chris Hatcher, Paco Rodriguez, and Alex Guerrero.

My final autograph before the game came from Yasiel Puig. I'm not the biggest Puig fan in the world, but I was happy to see him come over and sign almost exactly where I was standing. I ended up getting my 2014 All-Star game baseball signed underneath the logo, my first Puig autograph since his A-ball days.

I was only able to get three autographs post game, but all three came from the two guys that I originally wanted going in to the day. The first came from top prospect Joc Pederson, who signed a ROMLB for me underneath the MLB logo. I asked him for the sweet spot several times but considered myself lucky just to come away with one of the few autographs that he signed.

Thankfully I was able to get a Pederson sweet spot at Dodger Fan Fest in January. I can already tell that Pederson will be a tough autograph to get in the future, so I'll likely hold on to both baseballs and the cards that I got signed when he was in A-ball.

My final autographs came from Dodger skipper Don Mattingly. I had been carrying around my authentic Yankees jersey of Mattingly for years, so it was quite a relief to finally get it signed. Unfortunately, I didn't have a ton of time to prep my paint pen so the beginning of the autograph came out a bit light.

As you can see, the jersey is photographed with the other three baseballs that I got signed. The one in the middle was my second Mattingly autograph courtesy of my friend Moe. The ball is an old American League baseball from the Gene Buding days, which means that it was made anywhere from 1992-1999, the tail end of Mattingly's career.

A shout out to Alex, Rob, Daniel, David, Mike, Phil and Moe as usual. I look forward to posting more baseball autos as the season rolls around. Thanks for reading!