I attended the Angels vs Yankees Game at Angels Stadium on 6-4-11 with the hopes of getting Dean Chance's autograph. Dean was throwing out the first pitch in celebration of the Angels 50th Anniversary. I made it out to the stadium about 2 hours before the gates were supposed to open to see if I can get some Yankee autographs as they were coming in and so that I could get a good spot in line since they only hand out 100 wristbands for autographs. Unfortunately none of the Yankees walked through the front so I got in line early to enter the stadium. The usual graphers at the stadium were all there including Scotty, Keith, Nancy, Doug, Spencer and Ian. While we were all waiting in line we noticed a familiar face near the ticket booth. It was the legend himself Wally Joyner. He was at the ticket booth to pick up will call tickets for the game. Wally signed for a bunch of fans including me. He signed a ROMLB on the SS for me.
As soon as the gates opened I made a mad dash to the center field area to pick up my wristband for Dean Chance's autograph. I ended up making it on time and got a wristband. Afterwards I went over to the Yankee dugout to try to get autographs from the Yankees. The Yankees are by far the toughest team to graph. Most of the major players rarely sign (due to Steiner Sports) and they usually get dropped off into the back of the stadium either by bus or through drivers. During batting practice the competition factor is high since all of the crazy Yankee fans come out of nowhere and pack the seats at Angels Stadium. It gets chaotic at times. I didn't have any luck getting Yankee autographs since there were too many fans but I was able to take some photos during batting practice.
As soon as BP was over I headed back to the line for Dean Chance's autograph. I was about 20th in line. I really got lucky here as Dean would end up signing only for the first 50 fans since he was tired and felt ill. He stopped signing and left. Therefore the other 50 people who had wristbands didn't get autographs that day. A lot of fans left angry including my friend Nancy who stormed off the signing in disgust since the Angels did nothing to compensate the fans who weren't able to get Dean's autograph. Nancy is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and i've never seen her this mad before. It takes a lot to get her mad but I felt the Angels should have at least compensated all the fans who had wristbands but missed out on the autograph. Dean signed a ROMLB on the SS for me.
After getting my autograph I went to my designated seat which was located at Left Field. I love those seats. Normally I buy the cheap seats and sit in field level since I know some of the ushers at Angels Stadium who don't mind it when I sit at field level especially when the seats are empty. However when the Yanks or Dodgers are in town it's usually a sell out so you have to sit in your assigned seats. I expect even worse this year due to the signing of Albert Pujols. Angels Stadium will never be the same.
As I sat down I heard two people behind me calling out my name. It was my friends James and Tim. James who at the time was living in Philly was in town to visit his cousin Tim. Tim and James are cousins of Stan who is one of my closest friends from dental school. It was weird seeing the two of them since I haven't seen them for years. What a small world. I decided to sit next to them for the game. Here is our view from left field.
The only downside to the game was that the Angels ended up losing the game to CC Sabathia and the Yanks 3-2. ARod and Cano both hit home runs. After the game I said bye to my old friends and ended up graphing in front of the stadium gates to hopefully catch some players coming out of the stadium. As I was waiting a familiar face walked right past me. It was Angel great Mark Langston. I asked Mark to sign my ROMLB on the SS.
He was a spectator just like any normal fan and was an invited guest by the owner himself Arte Moreno to watch the Angels play the Yankees. There is a unique side story to this game. A lucky Angels fan by the name of Mike Langdon ended up getting Mark's tickets at this particular game at the will call ticket booth by mistake. You can read his story here http://www.ocregister.com/articles/langdon-303930-moreno-angels.html
If you read the story you can tell why Arte Moreno is one of the best most fan friendly owners in baseball and all of sports in general.
After getting Mark Langston's autograph Curtis Granderson left through the front gates and soon a mob formed following Curtis to get his autograph. I was fortunate enough to get Curtis to sign my baseball. It was a rushed signature and he ended up side panelling it. I was happy to get Curtis' autograph regardless.
Soon afterwards Yankees infield coach and former Angel Mick Kelleher walked out and signed autographs for fans. I had Mick sign my Yankees mini helmet.
The last person to walk out of the stadium was the one and only Arte Moreno. Mr. Moreno is by far the most fan friendly and best owner there is in professional sports. He interacts with fans and never says no for an autograph or picture request. He is normally the last person to leave the stadium with his wife. I've ran into him numerous occasions and he is always fan friendly. I had Arte sign a ROMLB that I got from batting practice on the SS for me.
I asked Arte what the inscription of 6/11 stood for and he told me that he inscribes the month and year each time he signs to date the autograph. Since the baseball was signed in June 4th, 2011 he inscribed it as 6/11. I initially thought that the numbers had special meaning to him. If you see other variations in Arte's inscriptions there is your answer. Overall it was a great day of signing as usual at Angels Stadium.