Friday, September 23, 2011

Angels vs A's Series September 23-25, 2011

I went out to Angels Stadium to check out the entire Angels vs Oakland A's series from September 23-25. I heard from a fellow grapher that the A's are one of the easiest teams to graph since literally every member of the team gets dropped off in front of the stadium and most of the players are willing signers. I also I to attend this series to get David Eckstein's autograph. I had tickets to the September 24th and 25th game but none for the September 23rd game. When I don't have tickets to a game I usually try to get autographs before the game as the players are coming in or after the game as the players are leaving.

September 23rd Recap:
I ended up leaving my house after the 5th inning to wait near the stadium gates. It takes me about 20 mins from my house to get to the stadium. I made it to the front gates around the bottom of the 7th inning. One of ushers in the entrance let me into the stadium for free since there was only a few innings left in the game. I swear Angels Stadium has the nicest people working there. There has been numerous games where i've been able to enter the stadium for free at the tail end of each game. I decided to take this opportunity to check out the final few innings of the game and to also hope to get a toss up baseball from a player. Outside of graphing I am an amateur ballhawk. I use the baseballs I get for free at batting practice at the stadium and get those signed as well. It's tough to pay for dozens of baseballs these days with ROMLBs going for about $15-20 bux per baseball. I decided to go sit right behind the A's dugout hoping for a toss up. I wore my Dallas Braden Oakland A's shirt hoping to get their attention for a toss up.

At the end of the game they interviewed Andrew Bailey right next to the dugout area. Do you notice the baseball next to his foot? After the interview I asked him for the baseball and he tossed it to me. I noticed that it was game used indeed since it had the Lena Blackburne's Rubbing Mud that umpires use to prepare the game used baseballs. As a bonus it was also an Angels 50th baseball.

If you notice the picture above the ball was signed by Coach Scioscia. I'll go into how I got the autograph a bit later.

After the game I waited outside the Stadium Gates. Rex Hudler walked out of the front gates so I had him sign a ROMLB I got from batting practice earlier in the season.

Michael Taylor and Scott Sizemore of the A's walked out of the front gates so I had them sign my Oakland A's Mini Helmet.

Then Coach Scioscia walked out through the front. This is a rare sighting since he normally parks at the players parking lot in the back. He came out of the front gates to meet some friends. He was out there for a good 30 mins. There was also a wiffle ball game being played in front of the stadium gates organized by my friends Nancy, Keith, and Scotty. Coach Scioscia actually joined in and took a few swings. It was a classic moment. He then took time to sign autographs for fans. I ended up getting my 50th anniversary baseball signed by Coach Scioscia courtesy of Andrew Bailey.

September 24th Recap:
I ended up heading out to the stadium around noon to get autographs as the players were coming in. I also had game tickets for the night as well. Joe Rudi was the scheduled player to throw out the first pitch and to sign autographs for the 50th Anniversary celebration. We all had a field day as the players were walking into the stadium. Ended up getting everything signed. Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill, Brian Fuentes, Gio Gonzalez, Kurt Suzuki, Michael Taylor, and Dallas Braden signed ROMLBs for me.

I also got Andrew Bailey #40, Jerry Blevins #13, Craig Breslow #56, Trevor Cahill #53, Graham Godfrey #65, Gio Gonzalez #47, Brandon McCarthy #32, Landon Powell #11, Anthony Recker #26, Cliff Pennington #2, Adam Rosales #7, Eric Sogard #36, David DeJesus #12, Ryan Sweeney #15, Tye Waller #46, Mike Gallego #3, Dallas Braden #51 to sign my A's Mini Helmet.

This was a major haul since all of this came before the game. I went into the stadium and ran to get my wristband for Joe Rudi. The Angels had this awesome promotion last season to commemorate their 50th Anniversary by bringing legendary Angels Alumni to throw out the first pitch and to sign autograph for fans behind center field after the 2nd inning of each game. Notable guests including HOFers Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, and Dave Winfield and members of the 2002 World Series Championship team members such as David Eckstein, Darin Erstad, Troy Glaus and Garret Anderson. Depending on the popularity of the player fans had to get to the stadium early to grab one of the first 100 wristbands which guarantees an autograph. After getting my wristband I decided to hang out near the Angels dugout to get some Angels autographs. I figured I was done with the A's since I almost got every member of the team. I noticed that Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout was hanging out near the dugout. I got his attention and had him sign my 50th Anniversary ROMLB underneath the 50th logo.

My 3rd and last Mike Trout signed baseball this year. You can never get enough Trout autographs. He is primed to be the next Angels superstar so I have high hopes for this guy. After getting Trout I decided to take a few more photos near the dugout.

Afterwards I headed out to get Joe Rudi's Autograph. I ended up getting Joe to sign a ROMLB I picked up during batting practice for me.

I decided to go home after getting Joe Rudi's autograph. I was tired from a long day of graphing and I knew I had to get up early the next day so I can secure a spot for the David Eckstein signing.

September 25th Recap:
Woke up early in the morning since it was a day game. I knew I had to get to Angels Stadium early and wait in front of the gate so I can get my wristband for David Eckstein. The "X" Factor is still one of the most beloved Angels due to his significant role in the 2002 World Series Championship Season. He was scheduled to throw out the first pitch. I arrived at the stadium at around 9:30am and was a bit bummed since I missed out on getting Jemile Weeks' autograph. He was one of the few guys missing on my A's mini helmet. I ended up going straight to the line to wait for the gates to open up. As soon as the ushers let us in I ran towards center field where they were handing out wristbands for David Eckstein's autograph. Luckily I got one. Sunday games are usually a bit boring especially since there is no batting practice so ballhawking goes out the window. The only thing left to do is graph. I try to do both when the opportunity arises but on Sunday games I try for autographs. There wasn't much action nor signing going on today. I was too worried since I got most of the players I wanted in the series the last two days. I hung out again near the Angels dugout hoping to get David Eckstein before he had his official signing in the 2nd inning. David did sign for a few fans including a baseball card for my buddy Scotty. However he was using his short handed signature with just his initials. I was hoping that when signed for all of us it wouldn't be his initials but a full signature. Since I struck out with Eckstein I decided to take a few photos.

After the first pitch I decided to get in line for the Eckstein signing. I ended up getting Eckstein to sign a ROMLB for me. Lucily he used his full signature and his autograph came out nicely.

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