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 vinscullyismyhomeboy.com 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.