I attended the Albert Pujols Angels Press conference at Angels Stadium on 12-10-11 with the goal of getting Albert's autograph which is the holy grail for all baseball autograph collectors. As a surprise offseason move the Angels ended up signing both Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson. Nobody expected the Angels to sign Albert and it was a mad house at Angels stadium with over 4000 fans there to witness history. I figured this would be the best opportunity since everyone is in a good mood and there would be a ton of media covering this event. I drove out to the stadium really early around 7am to beat the crowd and to position myself perfectly for this autograph opportunity.
I figured the best way to get Albert was when he was driving into the stadium. Thus I had my friend's dad hold our spot at the press conference so we can try getting Albert at the players parking lot. We waited there for about an hour with no sign of Albert or any of the other players driving into the parking lot so we had to change plans. We noticed that there was heavy security forming around the Angels office where the employees walk through. As we were waiting security told all of us to leave and said we couldn't wait around the office anymore. That's when we figured for sure Albert will enter through the Angels office. We went back to the car and decided to drive near the parking lot and hide from security in our cars and wait until Albert drove in. As soon as Albert drove in we got out of the car and tried to approach Albert to get an autograph. There were other groups of people doing the same thing. Security unfortunately stopped us all except one little boy who went through and got his autograph on an Angels 2010 All Star ROMLB right underneath the All Star logo. Soon after this failure I decided to go back to the spot which was being held by my friend Scotty's dad. By then there were a ton of people so I had to weave through the lines and position myself. It was 50/50 and I was hoping as soon as the conference was over Albert would walk over to sign for us in our side.
In the beginning current Angels players were on hand to support Albert and CJ including Torii Hunter, Dan Haren and Jered Weaver. I've never witnessed this type of attention for one single player. There were a crowd of Angels fans and a ton of media covering this event. It was like people were celebrating a World Series victory. The moment was historic.
As soon as the press conference Albert went over to speak to the media. Luckily he walked right in front of us instead of exiting the other side. As soon as his interview session ended he walked straight toward me and picked up my pen and signed by 2010 All Star baseball. I couldn't believe my luck. I was so happy he picked up my pen since one of my fears was that he'd run with a sharpie. I knew he wouldn't sweet spot his signature so I handed him my all star baseball hoping he would sign underneath the all star logo. Luckily he did. Even though I got his short handed signature I will take it any day of the week since it is Albert Pujols. It was chaos afterwards as people were trying to push and push to get closer to him thus I was pushed up against the railing. Albert only ended up signing for 10 of us out of the 4000 that came out to see him. I felt like I won the lotto.
Remember I told you about a ton of media being at the event. As soon as I got his autograph I got texted by all of my friends who saw me on tv asking me if I got Pujols' autograph. The coolest thing that happened was that I was also featured on page 33 in the Sports Illustrated December 19th, 2011 issue with Tim Tebow on the cover.
This was probably my best sports moment ever. As soon as I got his autograph I wanted to get out of the mob. I made sure to place the signed baseball in my backpack and I got out of there. Retrospectively I should have stayed in place since a few minutes later CJ Wilson walked by and signed for everyone. Luckily I got CJ to sign two baseballs for me last season when the Rangers were in town so I didn't need anything else signed from him.
After I got out of the crowd I decided to hang around for a bit to see what else was going on. I noticed that Torii was doing an interview so I was standing by the rails on the 1st base side of the stadium to see if he would sign afterwards. As soon as he finished he signed for all of us waiting for him. I ended up getting my ROMLB signed.
I decided that it was about time to leave. As I was headed toward the parking lot I ran into Mike Scioscia so I had him sign my ROMLB.