Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dodgers vs Marlins Viva Los Dodgers/Tornado Relief 5-29-11

I decided to attend the Viva Los Dodgers/Tornado Relief Dodgers vs Marlins Game after hearing from friends that the Dodgers were doing autograph signings to collect money for the Tornado victims of Joplin Missouri at Viva Los Dodgers. This event was scheduled to take place before the Dodgers vs Marlins. I ended up going through stubhub to pick up my tickets for $5. Like the previous day I got very lucky at the line. I will explain later. I ended up driving out to Dodgers Stadium early in the morning to get the best possible spot to pick up some autographs. I heard at previous events that Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly were signing. I went out with the goal of getting Don Mattingly. As soon as I arrived at the stadium there were already cars waiting in line before the gates opened as expected. Dodgers stadium has three entrance points and I ended up going through the main entrance. That was a bigtime rookie mistake. The parking attendants made me park behind the stadium near home plate which was in opposite direction to Viva Los Dodgers which is located near the outfield parking lots. Thus I had to run as fast as I could to get a nice spot in the line. When I arrived I was about number 150 in line.  As expected there were hundreds of fans trying to get autographs and the players were only signing for about an hour. I had my friend Roberto from  hold up my spot since I noticed that Darren Dreifort was signing at autograph alley. I ended up getting Darren to sign my ROMLB I got from batting practice. Darren was nice signing multiples for fans and also taking photos with them. Had he not had those career ending injuries he might have ended up as a legend. It's good to see him back at Dodgers Stadium.

After getting Dreifort's autograph I went back in line. The lines were terribly unorganized and what make it worse was that Don Mattingly cancelled last minute and no Clayton Kershaw this time. I was very upset since I figured this was a golden opportunity to get Don Mattingly. Don is my white whale. I'm the weird grapher than can get Albert Pujols to sign for me yet I can never get Mattingly. I always have near misses with that guy. He's a great signer too but I always miss him. Initially the Dodgers staff that were managing the line had one line so everyone can get each player to sign for them with a small donation. Then they switched it up into three separate lines so you can only get the player you choose. Then in the end they went back to the single file line. It just got out of hand since a lot of people were cutting as expected. I was really annoyed. The Dodgers who signed today were Chad Billingsley, Rubby De La Rosa, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Matt Guerrier, Ramon Troncoso, Scott Elbert, Mike MacDougal, and Javy Guerra.

 Remember I mentioned previously I was getting really lucky in these lines. Well guess what, I was the cutoff man in line. I was the last person allowed to get the autographs. So many people behind me were angry due to the mismanagement of the lines. I ended up getting Kuroda, Lilly, Billingsley, De La Rosa on SS ROMLBs and Matt Guerrier, Ramon Troncoso, Scott Elbert, Mike MacDougal, Javy Guerra on my Dodgers mini helmet. There are other signatures i've accumulated over this past season on the helmet. I think I have about 18 Dodgers signatures on that helmet. Kuroda was nice enough to sign my baseball in Japanese. It will fit nicely with my Kuroda baseball signed in English. Anytime I can get an Asian MLB player to sign for me it's always a plus since that's what I collect.

Here are some pictures of the view from my assigned seat. Not bad for five bucks. Note I like to wander around the stadium a bit. I got bored so I took a bunch of Kershaw photos in the bullpen while he was warming up before the game.

Around the 7th inning I got bored so I did some more wandering. I ended up checking out the Vin Scully Press Box.

There was a small crowd gathered near the press box. I asked one of them what they were waiting for and they told me that Fernando Valenzuela leaves around the 8th inning and they were trying to get him to sign. They were also there to get Vin Scully as well. I had no clue about this. I got shut out a few years ago at the Best Buy Fernando Signing in West Covina so this was my perfect chance to get Fernando to sign my ROMLB. As soon as he came out of the press box Fernando signed for us. He was nice enough to sign by ROMLB for me on the sweet spot. The first picture shows him side paneling a ball for another fan in black ink. When it comes to graphing I always ask for the sweet spot. It never hurts to ask if you ask nicely.

Vin Scully also left the press box after the game. He seemed very rushed and in a hurry and wouldn't sign autographs, not even for the kids who waited for him. He is a tough one to get. All in all it was a great day of Dodger graphing. Not bad for a five dollar game ticket.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dioner Navarro and Jamey Carroll Signings 5-28-11

It was Saturday and when I have nothing to do on Saturdays I try to go to a signing. I found out that Dioner Navarro and Jamey Carrol were having autograph signings around the same time so I went out to LA and Sherman Oaks to get both autographs. I know these guys are scrubs but I can't say no to getting an autograph especially if I have a free day to graph. I went out to the Dioner Navarro signing at Kragen Auto Parts which is located in Los Angeles near the Staples Center. There weren't that many fans luckily. I'd say only about 20 fans showed up. I actually expected more since Dodger signings can get psychotic even for scrubs since Dodger fans are nuts. However there were three signings going on that day. A Jerry Sands Paid signing, Jamey Carroll and Dioner Navarro so I figure all the Dodgers fans were spread out.
I ended up getting a ROMLB signed by Dioner and he was nice enough to inscribe All Star 08' for me. People forget this guy was once a promising All Star player back when he played for the Rays.

As soon as I got my autograph I bolted out of there so I would make it to the Jamey Carroll signing on time. The signing took place at the new Sports Authority store in Sherman Oaks. When I arrived they cut the line off since Jamey had to leave for practice. I was so upset since they cut off the line 5 mins before I arrived. Luckily I ran into a fellow grapher who was at the end of the line. He ended up getting my baseball signed for me. Noticed how scuffed up the ROMLB is. This is another one from batting practice which I got for free. Batting practice ROMLBs always come in handy especially if you don't have anything for the player to sign.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Angels vs Braves Rod Carew Signing 5-22-11

I went to the Angels vs Braves game on 5-22-11 with the purpose of getting Don Sutton's autograph. Don was scheduled to throw out the first pitch. However he ended up not signing at the Angels 50th Anniversary autograph table since he was part of the Braves broadcasting team. Thus the replacement to Sutton was Rod Carew. I tried all weekend during the Braves series to get Don Sutton's autograph before and after the game. He did sign for several fans but I always ended up missing him. I headed out to the stadium early in the morning so that I could be one of the first 100 people to get a wristband for Rod Carew's autograph and to also try to get Don Sutton's autograph as he was coming in.

Since there is no batting practice on Sunday games I decided to graph the Braves near the dugout. The Braves roster is filled with young talent including guys like Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, Tommy Hanson, and Freddie Freeman. However I ended up with zero autographs from the guys mentioned above. I almost got Brian McCann's autograph but he left after signing for a couple of fans. I did however get Brooks Conrad and Diory Hernandez to sign my ROMLB Braves team ball I am working on. Sadly I know that it will never be completed. I should have had these guys sign a mini helmet but I wasn't able to get one on time before the Braves series.

I did however get the Braves legend Terry Pendleton to sign my ROMLB on the SS. Terry has always been one of my favorite hitters from the 90s and he dominated back when the Braves had their dynasty. I've always wanted to get his autograph so I was happy I was able to get his auto at this game.

Once the game started I headed out to the autograph line. I ended up getting Rod Carew to sign my ROMLB on the SS. He was nice enough to add the HOF 91 inscription on my baseball.

After the game ended I was trying to decide between waiting in front of the gates or behind the stadium. I figured since it was a travel day for the Braves the front would be bad for graphing since the Braves would be leaving the stadium on their team bus. My friend Scott mentioned that Alfredo Griffin and Mickey Hatcher always walk out of the back since they park outside of the player parking lot area. Thus I went to graph them instead so I can add to my Dodgers signed baseball collection. Mickey signed about 15 cards for my friend Scott and he signed my ROMLB on the SS. Alfredo if you guys have ever tried graphing him is tough to get. He always gives you a mean look before he signs and always seems to look angry. It can get very intimidating asking Alfredo for his autograph. Luckily he was nice enough to sign today and he also signed my ROMLB on the SS as well.

As I was headed toward my car to leave my friend Darryl comes up to me and shows me a signed Don Sutton baseball. I asked him how he got it and supposedly Sutton walked out of the front gates and signed for fans after the game. I was so mad at myself for missing out on Sutton again. Sutton like Mattingly is my white whale. Hopefully I can get them off my wish list this upcoming baseball season.