Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dodgers vs Cardinals Game 4-17-11

This was my first Dodger game of 2011 and it was on a beautiful sunny Sunday game with my dad. My dad is a huge Dodger fan so this was one of those father/son trips out to the stadium. The Dodgers were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals. Sunday games are fun for graphing but it sux for ball hawking since there is no batting practice. Thus I focused on getting autographs. Before the gates opened the Dodgers had the Viva Los Dodgers Celebration and it featured Derrel Thomas. Derrel signed a stock photo available at the table for me as well as a ROMLB on the SS.

Once the gates opened I headed toward the right field area on the field level where the Cardinals pitchers were practicing. Miguel Batista and Jake Westbrook came over to sign for us. I got Batista on a SS ROMLB and side panel underneath the MLB logo signed by Westbrook. I should have asked Westbrook for the sweet spot but this was back when I was a rookie in the graphing game so I didn't know any better. I should have just had them both sign a mini helmet but I didn't have a Cards one on  me at the time.

I decided to wander around some more and take pictures. I ran into two kids who had the holy grail of all autographs. The both had Albert Pujols sign their ROMLBs on the SS with a full signature. I couldn't believe my eyes. I asked them how they got the signature and they said Albert signed for both of them and another boy. They literally tossed the ball and a pen over the Cardinals dugout and had him sign. My lucky day would come later at the end of the year at the Angels Pujols Press Conference.

See the man standing next to the Dodger dugout wearing the dodger cap and white dodger polo? He played a major role in me getting autographs that day. I will explain later. On the last photo you can see a Dodger player playing toss past the 3rd base foul line. That's Ivan De Jesus. He ended up tossing me that baseball while he was heading back to the dugout.

I noticed that Andre Ethier was stretching in the outfield. Normally both Kemp and Ethier sign for fans after they stretch and they did so today. However it is very difficult to graph the Dodgers since security doesn't allow access to the VIP field level seats along the 3rd base side unless you have a ticket to the designated seats. Even though I had field level seats mine weren't part of the VIP level so I couldn't get access to Andre or Matt. Thus the rich get richer. I ended up getting an elderly lady to get my baseball signed by Andre Ethier. However Andre ended up side panelling the signature using a sharpie. I ended up giving that baseball away to a friend so it is not pictured. I still thanked the lady for hooking me up with the autograph.

I walked over to hang out behind the Dodger dugout as the national anthem was being played. I noticed that Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw were both standing near the dugout. If you know how Dodger Stadium is designed the dugout areas are blocked off from the field level as well. They really restrict regular fans from entering the VIP levels. Remember that man I mentioned in my post earlier. I convinced him to get me Kuroda's autograph by tossing the baseball and pen over to him. Another lady who had dugout seats also helped me out as well getting me Kershaw's autograph. The biggest mistake I made was that I didn't ask them to ask the players to sweet spot the baseballs so I ended up getting side panelled signatures. Kuroda ended up giving me his English signature.

Here is picture of Ethier and Kemp. These two guys will play a major role in this game.

The Dodgers were down 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th inning. Ethier hits a double and Kemp comes up to the plate. The rest is history. Walk off HR by Mr. Kemp. Check out this video

And here are some photos I took after the walk off HR.

What a great way to cap off a father/son Dodger day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Steve Garvey Black Angus Signing 4-13-11

Steve Garvey had an autograph signing a Black Angus in Buena Park on 4-13-11 from 6pm-7pm. I got a tip about this signing from my buddy Martin who runs Normally I can't make weekday signings due to my hectic work schedule. If you have noticed from all the signings I have posted most of them are on the weekends. This particular day the stars were aligned and I was able to make this signing since my patients cancelled on me in the afternoon. Thus I was able to make it out to this signing. I arrived at Black Angus around 4:30 and there were about 10 fans already in line. This was my first time meeting Steve Garvey and I was excited to get his autograph finally. I brought some ROMLBs, a bat to get signed and a third item which was my vintage Dodgers New Era fitted had from the 80s. I was hoping that he would sign multiple items. Steve Garvey arrived a bit early and he had a steak for dinner at the restaurant before the signing began. At the time of the signing i'd say there were about 100 fans in attendance. Steve was nice as can be signing multiple items for everyone and also inscribing everything. He signed a baseball, hat and a bat for me.

I want to thank Martin for the heads up and Black Angus for this signing.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Angels vs Blue Jays 1st Angels Regular Season Game 4-10-11

The Angels were hosting an opening weekend series vs the Toronto Blue Jays. Fortunately I was able to score free tickets to this game through AAA Insurance during Angels Fanfest. This was my first regular season game of the year and I was excited. Since it was a day game on a Sunday there was unfortunately no batting practice which gave me an opportunity to take a ton of pictures of the stadium and graph. Now that I look back retrospectively I think this was the game the started it all for me in terms of taking sports graphing to a new level especially for baseball. Before I was a casual fan who would attend signings here and there. Now it's come to a point where I get a bit bummed if I don't attend 1 signing per week especially on the weekends. This game also marked the first time I found about about the Angels 50th Anniversary 1st pitch autograph signings.

As I was aimlessly wandering around the stadium I noticed that the Fox Sports West was setting up for Angels Live near the outfield wall. I noticed a familiar face there. It was the legend himself Tim Salmon.

I was surprised there wasn't a crowd. Nobody seemed to notice that Tim was there. It was just me and another fan who got Tim to come over to sign autographs for us. Tim was nice enough to sign my ROMLB on the SS.

I decided afterwards to hang out and watch Ricky Romero and the Blue Jays practice near the outfield on the 1st base side of the stadium. Ricky is a local player who played for Cal State Fullerton and since he has family and friends here I figured he'd probably be in a good mood to sign. I was right. Ricky is one of the friendliest athletes. He was signing for fans for about 15-20 mins taking photos with fans as well. Ricky signed a ROMLB on the SS for me.

Soon afterwards Brett Cecil and John McDonald came over to sign autographs for fans. Since I had nothing for them to sign I had them sign my ticket stub.

After getting the autographs I headed toward my seat in Right Field Pavilion since the game was about to begin. I heard an announcement that the Angels were celebrating their 50th Anniversary and they were hosting an autograph signing at the 2nd inning of each game this season featuring the former Angel greats who were throwing out the first pitch. Today's 1st pitch Angel great was Bob Lee. As soon as I heard the announcement I went over to the autograph line in center field near the rock wall. There were about 50 fans in line waiting for an autograph. I realized at this point that there were more incentives to attend Angels games this year since you were pretty much guaranteed at least one autograph if you arrived early and on time to the games. Angel greats such as Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, and Rod Carew were all part of the 50th anniversary first pitch participants and all of them did free signings this past year. I ended up having Bob Lee sign my ROMLB on the SS. He was also nice enough to inscribe "65 All Star"

This was a great way to start a new baseball season.