Saturday, July 30, 2011

Drew League Part 2 7-30-11

I decided to check out the Drew League again for autographs and also to watch some basketball games up close. I found out through twitter that James Harden and Josh Smith were going to play. As soon as I arrived another grapher informed me that Amare Stoudemire was going to show up to watch the games. About five minutes later I see Amare strolling in but he didn't sign for anyone so I went in to watch Team Go Ham play. Today Demar DeRozan and Cuttino Mobley played for Team Go Ham.

As soon as the game was over everyone went after Amare for autographs. Amare was nice enough to sign my basketball for me.

Next game up was Kings of LA which featured two pros, James Harden of the Thunder and Josh Smith of the Hawks.

I ended up getting Harden and Smith after the game and Kenneth Faried as he was coming into the game.

The third game featured Kenneth Faried vs Austin Daye. In this game Kenneth Faried stole the show with his monstrous slam dunks. Check out this youtube video of this game featuring Kenneth's highlights.

Here are some in game action shots. Note how cool that the NBA players like Nick Young and James Harden stay and watch the games with the crowd. What I love about the Drew League is accessibility to the players and the fact that every seat in the gym is a great seat for basketball.

Looking back now I wish I attended every game. Top pros like Kobe, Lebron and KD stopped by the Drew League over the summer to showcase their skills.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Clayton Kershaw Living Spaces 7-23-11

Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to sign at Living Spaces in La Mirada on 7-23-11 from 10am-12pm. I arrived at the signing around 8am and there were already about 400 people waiting in line. This was my fault since I went out the night before with my buddies, slept late and got to the signing late as well. I made the rookie mistake of not getting to the signing earlier but I wasn't going to camp out either for 10 hours. One of my buddies Joseph was smart enough to get there early and he camped out the night before since midnight. Thus he was able to get two wristbands and get two items signed.

Personally i'd never do a 10-12 hour campout. That's just completely insane for an autograph. That's why I sometimes prefer paid signings since it's less of an hassle. By the time I arrived Living Spaces staff already distributed wristbands. There was chaos at Living Spaces as people were getting multiple wristbands and people in the back were cutting in line. The entire event was a fiasco. I ran into the usual graphers there like Martin, Scotty, Mike and Joseph but none of them had any extra wristbands for me except Joseph. I didn't ask Joseph for the extra wristband since he did earn it waiting over 10 hours for this signing. Thus I did what anyone would do bribe a stranger for his wristband. I ended up chilling near by buddy Joseph who camped out the night before in front of the line and yelled out "twenty bux for the first person to offer me their extra wristband." A random guy came up to me and agreed to sell me his extra wristband for 20 bucks. The guy brought like four of his kids so I don't think he needed more items signed. For me that was a good investment since I was able to sleep in and also if it was an actual paid signing fees for a small item would have been at least $50.

I ended up getting Kershaw to sign a ROMLB on the SS with the 2011 All Star Inscription. My buddy Joseph got a jersey signed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Drew League Part 1 7-10-11

This was my first trip out to Washington Park to check out the Drew League. Due to the NBA lockout a lot of local pros were playing in this summer pro am to work out. I heard through Derrick Williams' twitter page that he would be playing that day so I had to check it out. My goal was to get Derrick Williams' autograph since he is a local product from La Mirada and the #2 pick in the NBA draft. As soon as I arrived I noticed that there weren't that many graphers and the gym that the players played in was smaller than a high school gym. It looked more like a rec league gym which was great since every seat in the house was great. As soon as I parked I ran into Nick Young (Wizards) and Austin Daye (Pistons) in the parking lot.

Nick rolled up in his Maseratti. I ended up getting both of them to sign my basketball before they left.

The next scheduled team to play was GO HAM which is a team comprised of a lot of NBA players. A week prior to this both Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley played for the GO HAM team. Today featured players included DeMar Derozan, Derrick Williams, Terrence Williams and the rapper The Game. I ran into both DeMar Derozan and The Game in the bench/picnic area between the players locker room and the gym.

I had Demar sign by basketball (add on to my Nick Young and Austin Daye basketball) and I had The Game sign a SS ROMLB since I had nothing prepared for him to sign.

As soon as I got these graphs I went back to my car to unload the signed items and brought back a brand new basketball to get it signed by Derrick Williams and also another basketball which was initially signed by Tayshaun Prince. The Tayshaun Prince auto was obtained at the Baron Davis Charity kickball event at Crossroads High School in Santa Monica. Tayshaun has the worst signature so I figured i'd add more signatures to this ball. His sig looks like the letter "L." (pictured in the Lower Right side)

The signatures shown above are Matt Barnes and Marcus Williams. Matt came out to the Drew League as a spectator with his sons. Marcus Williams was playing for team LA Unified.

Here are some photos of the game itself. Note how close everyone is sitting near the court.

At the end of the game I ended up getting Derrick Williams to sign by basketball and he was nice enough to take a photo with me as well.

At the bench/picnic area between the players locker room and the gym I was able to get Terrence Williams, Demar Derozan, and Derrick Williams to sign for me before they left.

Overall it was a fantastic event. Stay tuned for part 2.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Angels vs Mariners Post Game 7-7-11 Pearl Jam / David Koechner

I went out to Angels Stadium for graphing after the Angels game. I didn't have tickets to this game since it is a weekday game and due to work I can't make those games on time. Thus during last season if I had the urge to get autographs I would go to the stadium to graph after the game is over. The Angels were playing the Mariners that night and it was also Angels Flashback Adjustable Hat SGA night. The usual graphers were there waiting near the front gates of the stadium. I heard through another grapher that they got Mike McCready (the lead guitarist for Pearl Jam) to sign for them inside the stadium. Mike is a huge Mariners fan and I was hoping he would come out through the front gates.

If you have waited for players after the game it is random and always hit or miss. There are nights were you can get future HOFers to sign like Pudge Rodriguez and there are nights where you only end up with scrubs or coaches on the team. If they have local ties to California the players usually come out through the front to meet friends and family. Sometimes if they don't feel like signing they will ignore all the fans so it depends on how lucky you are. I usually go out with low expectations and hope to get at least one autograph so it's not a wasted trip to the stadium.

Tonight was pretty weak in terms of players walking out of the front gate. I guess most of the players took the team bus back to the hotel. I was able to get Doug Fister (this was before he got traded to the Tigers) to sign my Seattle Mariners mini helmet. I usually reserve mini helmets for the scrubs on each time. Now that I think of it retrospectively I regret that decision since Doug is now a future star the the Tigers. I should have had him sign a ROMLB. The Mariners never gave him any run support which was the reason for his poor W-L record. Doug stood out since he is really tall in person and was kind enough to sign for all of the fans waiting outside.

See that guy pictured next to Doug. That's my friend Keith. He plays a huge role in this post. He is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet at Angels Stadium. He is a regular there along with his girlfriend Nancy.

After Doug Fister there wasn't much action going on. I guess most of the players took the team bus to get back to their hotels. While waiting another fan noticed that David Koechner walking out. David is a star and has appeared in several major movies mostly comedies such as Anchorman and plays a recurring role as Todd Packer in The Office. The Office is one of my favorite shows all time so I had to get his autograph. David was nice as can be signing for fans and also taking pictures with us as well. Since I had nothing for David to sign I had him sign an ROMLB on the SS.

Soon afterwards Mike McCready from Pearl Jam walked out of the stadium with his family. Mike is a class act and was nice to sign for autographs for all the fans and posed for pictures as well. He is a diehard Mariners fan. Mike signed my ROMLB for me long with the Pearl Jam inscription.

The strangest thing happened afterwards. Hank Conger and Bobby Wilson came up to the front gates to get back into the stadium. Normally Angels players leave from the back of the stadium through the players parking lot. I asked Hank why he was back and he told me he left his keys in the locker room. Bobby Wilson was also there but I didn't ask. Both Bobby and Hank signed for fans as well. I didn't have any items left for Hank to sign. This is where my buddy Keith plays a key role. He ended up giving me his Flashback Angels SGA hat for free so that I can get Hank's autograph. Keith is a standout guy always willing to help another grapher out. Hank signed my hat and also took a photo with me. He's my bro from another mother. LOL

The last person to leave the stadium was Coach Eric Wedge of the Mariners. He signed my mini helmet for me.

All in all another great night of signings.