Saturday, December 10, 2011

Albert Pujols Angels Stadium Press Conference

I attended the Albert Pujols Angels Press conference at Angels Stadium on 12-10-11 with the goal of getting Albert's autograph which is the holy grail for all baseball autograph collectors. As a surprise offseason move the Angels ended up signing both Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson. Nobody expected the Angels to sign Albert and it was a mad house at Angels stadium with over 4000 fans there to witness history. I figured this would be the best opportunity since everyone is in a good mood and there would be a ton of media covering this event. I drove out to the stadium really early around 7am to beat the crowd and to position myself perfectly for this autograph opportunity.

I figured the best way to get Albert was when he was driving into the stadium. Thus I had my friend's dad hold our spot at the press conference so we can try getting Albert at the players parking lot. We waited there for about an hour with no sign of Albert or any of the other players driving into the parking lot so we had to change plans. We noticed that there was heavy security forming around the Angels office where the employees walk through. As we were waiting security told all of us to leave and said we couldn't wait around the office anymore. That's when we figured for sure Albert will enter through the Angels office. We went back to the car and decided to drive near the parking lot and hide from security in our cars and wait until Albert drove in. As soon as Albert drove in we got out of the car and tried to approach Albert to get an autograph. There were other groups of people doing the same thing. Security unfortunately stopped us all except one little boy who went through and got his autograph on an Angels 2010 All Star ROMLB right underneath the All Star logo. Soon after this failure I decided to go back to the spot which was being held by my friend Scotty's dad. By then there were a ton of people so I had to weave through the lines and position myself. It was 50/50 and I was hoping as soon as the conference was over Albert would walk over to sign for us in our side.

In the beginning current Angels players were on hand to support Albert and CJ including Torii Hunter, Dan Haren and Jered Weaver. I've never witnessed this type of attention for one single player. There were a crowd of Angels fans and a ton of media covering this event. It was like people were celebrating a World Series victory. The moment was historic.

As soon as the press conference Albert went over to speak to the media. Luckily he walked right in front of us instead of exiting the other side. As soon as his interview session ended he walked straight toward me and picked up my pen and signed by 2010 All Star baseball. I couldn't believe my luck. I was so happy he picked up my pen since one of my fears was that he'd run with a sharpie. I knew he wouldn't sweet spot his signature so I handed him my all star baseball hoping he would sign underneath the all star logo. Luckily he did. Even though I got his short handed signature I will take it any day of the week since it is Albert Pujols. It was chaos afterwards as people were trying to push and push to get closer to him thus I was pushed up against the railing. Albert only ended up signing for 10 of us out of the 4000 that came out to see him. I felt like I won the lotto.

 Remember I told you about a ton of media being at the event. As soon as I got his autograph I got texted by all of my friends who saw me on tv asking me if I got Pujols' autograph. The coolest thing that happened was that I was also featured on page 33 in the Sports Illustrated December 19th, 2011 issue with Tim Tebow on the cover.

This was probably my best sports moment ever. As soon as I got his autograph I wanted to get out of the mob. I made sure to place the signed baseball in my backpack and I got out of there. Retrospectively I should have stayed in place since a few minutes later CJ Wilson walked by and signed for everyone. Luckily I got CJ to sign two baseballs for me last season when the Rangers were in town so I didn't need anything else signed from him.

After I got out of the crowd I decided to hang around for a bit to see what else was going on. I noticed that Torii was doing an interview so I was standing by the rails on the 1st base side of the stadium to see if he would sign afterwards. As soon as he finished he signed for all of us waiting for him. I ended up getting my ROMLB signed.

I decided that it was about time to leave. As I was headed toward the parking lot I ran into Mike Scioscia so I had him sign my ROMLB.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

LAUNFD "For the City" Charity Basketball Game 11-27-11

I was horribly sick with the flu the day of this charity game. However I still went out to LA Southwest College with my friends James and Nick to check out the LAUNFD "For the City" Charity Basketball Game with the goal of getting Paul Pierce's Autograph on a basketball and Russell Westbrook on his signature Nike Hyperfuse shoes. The charity basketball event was one of the many basketball events last year that were available due to the NBA lockout. Baron Davis and Tina Thompson hosted the event and scheduled players to play and participate were, Paul Pierce, Russell Westbrook, Dorell Wright, Amir Johnson, Darren Collison, Jason Collins, Ryan Hollins, James Harden, Nick Young, Arron Afflalo, Jordan Hamilton, Trevor Ariza, Demar Derozan, Craig Smith, Jarron Collins, Matt Barnes, and Chase Budinger. During the day of the event we found out that the lockout was over which was bad news in that a lot of players were no shows including Pierce, Westbrook, Collison, and Budinger and the players didn't really try hard when playing. It felt more like a practice as opposed to a real game. It was one of the more disappointing charity basketball games i've been to especially since I was sick with the flu and both Pierce and Westbrook were no shows.

I intially tried to get players coming in. The few people I got coming in were Trevor Ariza and Aaron Afflalo. Aaron didn't even play in the game as scheduled but just hung out with family and friends probably due to the fact that he didn't want to get involved in a freak injury especially since the lockout was officially over. I ended up starting a new team basketball featuring all the great UCLA players who made the NBA so I had both Trevor and Aaron sign my basketball.

Security was tough since they didn't let graphers wait near the parking lot. It was much easier getting players to sign inside. However I didn't do much graphing afterwards since I was sick and also due to the fact that i've gotten the other players featured at this event before last summer at the Drew League and other summer pro am leagues like the Nike Real Run in Inglewood High School.

After the game ended I had Baron Davis sign his All Star Li Ning shoes for me.  This model was the same ones that Baron wore during the NBA Slam Dunk Contest when he threw the lob pass from inside the Kia to Blake Griffin for the dunk contest victory.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Derrick Rose GNC, Brandon Jennings Flag Football 11-5-11

Went out to Westfield Mall in Culver City to check out the meet and greet Derrick Rose event at the GNC store. From facebook I found out that Derrick was doing a photo op at the GNC store so I went out there to check it out hoping that GNC would let Derrick sign some items for his fans or get him while he is coming in or as he is leaving the mall. When I arrived at the mall about an hour before the meet and greet I noticed that there weren't that many fans out there i'd say less than 100 people. If it was an official signing the numbers would have been more i'd say about 500. I asked the guys in front of the line how early they arrived and they said 3am. The meet and greet didn't take place until about 11am. Hardcore for no guaranteed autograph. Although there weren't that many people Derrick's reps and GNC didn't allow for any autographs and only photo ops provided by the GNC store. Everyone in line were all pissed off especially the ones who camped out for hours. The staff and GNC didn't even all fans to bring their items into the store. I wasn't too angry since I didn't expect anything. I brought a pair of D Rose All Star Adidas shoes to get signed but left home without anything. A group of us tried to get him as he was leaving but he refused to sign for any of the fans. The only person who ended up with a D Rose autograph is my friend Mike who won a raffle from GNC for a signed basketball. I ended up with a crappy photo of me and D. Rose courtesy of GNC.

After the bad news I picked up a pair of Brandon Jennings' new shoe called the Bloodline made by Under Armour. He had a signing and shoe release the day before the D Rose event at Footlocker which was literally next to the GNC at the mall. My friend James who got me into getting shoes signed ended up getting Jennings during his shoe release the day before. The true reason why I was out in the LA area was to attend Brandon Jennings' Flag Football Game at Rowley Park in Gardena which I heard about through Brandon's twitter page. I figured since i'd be in the area i'd check out the D. Rose meet and greet and try to get lucky. Since the D Rose event was an epic fail I was hoping for better at the Jennings Flag Football event. Drove out to Rowley Park in Gardena, Brandon's old stomping grounds. Under Armour even remodeled the basketball court at Rowley in honor of Brandon.

After checking out the basketball court I went over to the football field in search of Brandon. Brandon ended up riding his custom bike to the park.

As soon as I saw Brandon I approached him and asked politely for his autograph. I showed him the Bloodlines and he was happy to see I picked up his new signature shoes telling me "Cool you bought the Bloodlines, I'll definitely sign these." Brandon was nice enough to take a photo with me as well.

The flag football event was low key with less than 40 people in the audience. Most of the people who came to watch were family and friends of Brandon's. Less than 5 graphers were there. The game was MCed by the famous Clipper Darrell.

I wish more athletes would have low key events like this.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gail Goodrich Signing 10-15-11 (I HATE Honabach and Sons)

I went out to the Gail Goodrich signing at Frank and Sons on 10-15-11. This was a paid signing hosted by Honabach and Sons who also had Elgin Bailor in attendance signing along with Goodrich. I normally don't go for paid signings unless it's a player who rarely signs. They charged $39 for small items which includes flats 11"x14" and smaller, magazines and trading cards; for large items they were charging $59 and $20 additional for inscriptions. I went to the signing to get my Lakers Forum Floor signed. I personally bought another Forum Floor from ebay a few months back so I can add Lakers signatures prior to the showtime era (Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, etc). I have another floor with Worthy, AC green and Cooper. The size of the floor piece was 8.5" x 10.5" so I figured I would be charged the price for a small which was $39. Boy was I wrong. As soon as I went to the register to buy an autograph ticket the guy said that my item was considered a large. I complained and said that didn't make any sense since if you go by dimensions my item is smaller than 11"x 14." I was angry and upset since I had to fork down another $20 to get my floor piece signed. I figured they would rip people off since there weren't that many people attending the event and they had to make their money. I didn't even bother buying the Baylor ticket since he does a lot of free signings and I wasn't going to pay Honabach and Sons anymore money. Honabach and Sons are shady and they never offer any good deals even at their table at Frank and Sons. Since the event I stopped attending any of their signings. I don't want to feed into their shady business practices. Have fun paying for $80 for Matt Kemp and Ethier if you decide on attending any Honabach signings in the future. They offer the worst pricing on all their signings. Definitely not worth it. Sorry about the rant but that's how much I hate them. Here are some pictures of the event. The only thing I wish I did was to ask Gail to write smaller since he took up the entire floor piece leaving not much room for the other guys. Nonetheless I was happy with the results.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Drew League vs Goodman League Game 10-9-11

One of the best games and also one of the best days for graphing basketball. This hyped up game between the Drew League vs the Goodman League took place at the Long Beach Pyramid on 10-9-11. This was the revenge game for the Drew League and was dubbed "The Payback" since the Drew Crew lost to the Goodman League in Washington DC. Thanks to the NBA lockout the Drew League provided many fans an opportunity to watch top notch pro NBA players play basketball and gave us graphers a chance to pick up autographs of non local players like Kevin Durant and John Wall. I headed out there with my friend Nick a few hours before tipoff so that we can get autographs while the players were walking in. I met up with my friend James (the guy who got me into getting shoes signed) and also the guy who runs his own blog  at the event. If you haven't seen his blog you will be amazed by his signed shoe collection. My goal was to get my Nike Zoom KD IIIs signed by the man himself Kevin Durant. I've gotten Durant to sign last summer at the Elite 24 Event at Venice Beach so I had to get his shoes signed to add to the Durant Collection. I waited right next to the parking lot to check for players walking in. There were a lot of graphers with the same thing in mind. I'd say there were about 30 of us out there. I ended up getting Dorrell Wright, Trevor Ariza, Matt Barnes, Derrick Williams, Nick Young, JaVale McGee, James Harden as they were walking in on a basketball.

I ended up also getting John Wall on a single signed basektball

And finally Kevin Durant on his Nike Zoom KD IIIs which completes my KD signed baskebtall and shoe collection. My goal right now is to get a signature shoe signed as well as a single signed basketball from any notable NBA superstar or rising star. So far i've been able to do that for Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Brandon Jennings and Baron Davis.

The security was though at the Pyramid as they wouldn't let you bring in any outside items outside of what you are wearing. After getting all of my stuff signed I went in to watch the players warm up. While I was taking pictures Dee Gordon walks right by me trying to get to his seat. Luckily I had my Dodger Fitted on and so I had him sign my hat. Dee came out to watch the game just like all of us normal NBA fans. He looked a little surprised that anyone noticed him. Dee was nice as usual and he signed my cap for me.

Here are some pictures of the game itself. The Drew League ended up beating the Goodman League. Enjoy