Monday, April 30, 2012

Angels vs Twins Post Game Graphing 4-30-12

I went out to Angels Stadium after the game to graph the Twins as they were leaving the stadium. Surprisingly it was a larger crowd that normal even though it was a Monday night game. I'd say roughly there were 20 graphers waiting in the front. Most of the regulars were there. There was absolutely no action in the beginning.

The first player to walk out was Trevor Plouffe who came out with his family and was holding hands with his girlfriend or wife thus he didn't sign for us as expected. When a player says "no" it's not the end of the world and it usually means no. You politely wish him a good night and move on. I was surprised that there were still graphers chasing him down across the street. That's really rude in my opinion. Sometimes you need to give players space. People need to learn some autographing etiquette. That kind of behavior makes us all look bad.

The next person to walk out was Coach Gardenhire. Ron is usually a gracious signer and he signed for all of us. I ended up getting my Topps Heritage Card signed from him. When I presented him my notebook of cards he asked me if I wanted my Ryan Doumit card signed too as a joke since it was placed next to his card. Another grapher got Ron's rookie card signed and Ron mentioned that he was skinnier back then before the steroids. Ron's a funny guy if you ask me.

Along with Ron, Chris Parmelee walked out as well. Not many fans noticed him. He was nice and signed three cards for me. Two Topps 2012 Heritage Rookie Cards and a Topps 2012 rookie card.

The last Twin to walk out was Josh Willingham. He seemed like in a rush to get out of there. I didn't have a card of him so I had him sign my Twins Topps Heritage 2012 team card. When he looked at the card he was confused and asked which card to sign. I guess he expected me to have his card. I asked him to sign the team card politely and he signed. However due to the number of fans he rushed most of his signatures. Still I was happy to get his autograph.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bryce Harper MLB Debut Dodgers vs Nationals 4-28-12

Today was a long day of baseball related activities starting with a free Javy Guerra signing at the Montebello Mall and going to the Dodgers vs Nationals Game at Dodgers Stadium for Don Drysdale/Maury Wills  Bobblehead Night and the MLB Debut of Bryce Harper.

Benson and I decided to head out to Montebello Mall in the morning to attend the Javy Guerra signing. The signing took place from 11-12.

We arrived about an hour before the signing took place and we were about 130th in line. In the end I think about 200-250 fans showed up. The usual graphers were there including my buddy Josh from, Alex from, and Big Mike from As usual it's always fun to meet up with fellow graphers and chat it up. I ended up getting my Topps Heritage 2012 card signed by Javy as well as a signed Dodgers sheet they were handing out.

After the signing we decided to head out to LA and get a head start to graphing. Before we went to Dodgers Stadium we had lunch at Philippe's which has the best French dipped sandwiches.

After lunch we headed out to the stadium to check if we can graph some players walking into the stadium or getting dropped off. This was a huge mistake. Dodgers Stadium is a terrible place to graph since it's locked up like a fortress. They really restrict which areas you can enter prior to game time. The only area open to us was the ticket office and the top deck Dodgers Team Store. Since we had a lot of time on our hands we decided to check out the team store and redeem my free ticket vouchers at the ticket office. While I was at the top deck I took a few photos of an empty Dodgers Stadium from the top deck view. We did notice that Stephen Strasburg did come out early for a bullpen session.

When we entered the stadium for batting practice I noticed that there were more fans than usual at Dodgers Stadium. That was mostly due to the fact that it was Don Drysdale/Maury Wills Bobblehead night but the true reason was Bryce Harper's MLB Debut. Throw in the fact that Strasburg was pitching made this game a sellout. As soon as we entered the gates the ushers were marking each ticket with a pen prior to handing out the bobbleheads. I didn't want my ticket to have a pen mark especially since it was a historic game and I wanted to keep Bryce Harper's 1st Game ticket as a souvenir in mint condition. Thus I used a decoy and used my extra ticket I had when I redeemed my free ticket voucher for an upcoming Dodgers vs Cardinals game and had the usher mark that ticket instead. The same ticket would come in handy again when I got Steve Lyons' autograph later in the day.

The first person to sign for us was Edwin Jackson. Edwin was nice as can be and he actually was about to leave since he was already signing before we entered the stadium but still stuck around to sign for all of the fans who wanted his autograph. I had Edwin sign my Gypsy Queen 2012 card. I also asked Edwin if he can spare me a baseball as well during BP. He said he didn't have one at the moment but said he'd look out for me when he got a baseball later in BP. I really wanted a Dodgers 50th commemorative baseball so I was hoping he'd come through. Here is a picture of my signed Edwin Jackson card.

A few minutes later Edwin tossed me my 2nd BP baseball of the year. Unfortunately no 50th Logo but still I was happy I got a baseball.

The next person to sign for us was coach Bo Porter. I didn't have a card of him so I added him to my Washington Nationals team baseball I started last year when the Nats played the Angels.

After that there was nobody signing. We were hoping Bryce would sign but there was so much media attention that it looked like he had no time to sign for any fans. Plus Bryce is now known for a tough graph to get since he only signs for kids and attractive women. Thus I took a few photos of Strasburg warming up to pass the time.

When the game started we positioned ourselves near the National's dugout so we can take photos of Bryce Harper's 1st at bat. Unfortunately no hit but he did end up getting a double for his first hit later in the game.

In the 7th inning we went over to the Vin Scully Press Box to see if we can get Fernando Valenzuela's autograph. While we were waiting I noticed that Steve Lyons was signing for fans. I didn't have anything on me but the decoy ticket I used earlier that was marked with a pen on the back when the bobbleheads were being handed out. Thus I had Steve sign my decoy ticket for the upcoming Dodgers vs Cardinals game. Unfortunately Fernando only signed for one fan while he walked out. He seemed like in a rush to get home.

The game was exciting as Bryce hit the go ahead sacrifice fly ball to score in the go ahead run. The Dodgers rallied back in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie the game and in the bottom of the 10th my favorite player in baseball Matt Kemp hit a walk off HR to win the game for the Dodgers. Ironically it was the second time I witnessed a walk off by Kemp and each being the first game I attended each season at Dodgers Stadium from 2011-2012. Last year it was the first Dodgers game I went to during the 2011 season when he hit a walk off against the Cards and this year it was the same result but in extra innings vs the Nationals. 

After the game ended Benson and I decided to search for extra tickets and asked other fans to see if they wanted to give us their tickets. I ended up finding four extra tickets. I figured these would be collectible in the future if Bryce fulfills his potential and becomes a superstar. Most of the ones we did find however had creases in them and had pen marks on the back since everyone collected their bobbleheads. I did however find one ticket that was in pristine condition along with my own game ticket with no pen marks and no creases.

We waited outside the right field level gates to see if we can graph any players walking out. Most of the players left via the team bus in center field. Wilson Ramos did however walk out and he signed my Topps Heritage 2012 card.

Roger Bernadina walked out but unfortunately I didn't have a card for him and I didn't need him on my team ball since I got him last year. Not many graphers recognized him. Jason Werth walked out as well but he didn't sign for any fans.

Overall it was a long day but I had fun as usual. Although we didn't get a huge number of autographs the game itself was historic and had a memorable ending. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

James Worthy and Tommy Lasorda Mountain View Chevrolet 4-26-12

I attended the Mountain View Chevrolet Grand Opening after work today thanks to a tip from my friend Spencer. Spencer informed me that James Worthy was scheduled to make an appearance from 5:30-8:00pm. I had work today so I decided to check out the event afterwards since the event was nearby in Upland. This wasn't an official autograph signing but I did bring a few items to get signed just in case. James was a guest of the dealership so there was no guarantee we'd end up with autographs today but it was worth the risk since the dealership was nearby. As soon as I got out of work I got a text from Spencer that Tommy Lasorda showed up to the event as well. Thus I headed out to Sports Chalet to pick up an ROMLB. I didn't come prepared since I only brought basketball related items.

I arrived around 6:00 to the event and I noticed that most of the guests were dressed up in formal attire. It was a nice event with catering and an open bar too. Not many graphers were there since the event wasn't publicized all over the autographing blog world. Only about 10 graphers were there including me, Spencer, Big Mike from, Larry, Manuel, Eddie, and Alex from It was nice not having to head out early or camp out for this event since it was low key.

I noticed that James Worthy was in the back of the dealership chatting with guests and taking pictures with fans. Since I arrived a bit late some of the other graphers already told me that James signed for fans but he did some rushed short handed signatures. I was a bit worried that i'd get the same type of signature so I decided to hold back and not get my Official NBA Basketball signed. Instead I took the risk and had James sign my Lakers Forum Floor. I'm starting a new project where I am planning to add all living Lakers with retired jersey numbers on one floor piece. Thus I added James Worthy to my Gail Goodrich floor piece. James was nice enough to take a picture with me as well after signing my floor piece. I was happy with the results.

After getting James Worthy's autograph I went back to my car to drop my signed floor off. It began to rain a bit so I didn't want the signed floor to get damaged. When I got back to the dealership I went inside to look for Tommy. Tommy was sitting in one of the rooms of the dealership and there was a big crowd gathered around him. Surprisingly he was in a good mood. I guess he took advantage of the open bar. Normally he is cranky but today he was nice. I was still a bit nervous to ask him for an autograph with the HOF inscription so I went after a few others got his autograph before me. Tommy was also nice enough to take a photo with me as well and inscribed HOF 97 on my baseball. Thanks Tommy.

Overall it was a great event with free food and it was nice chatting it up with my fellow graphers. I want to thank Spencer again for the info. Good looking out bro.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Angels Fanfest 2012

After only getting a few hours of sleep the night before due to graphing all day at the stadium I arrived at Angels Fanfest around 7:20am. I was a bit late since they started letting fans into the Fanfest at 7am. For the first time even Benson was late and he arrived around 7:30. Compared to last year Fanfest drew more fans this year. There were already a ton of people waiting in front of the autograph lines. They had five autograph stations with each station having two players sign. Luckily I had friends in each line which helped me maximize my autograph opportunities throughout the day. Throughout the morning rumors circulated that only the bench would sign and none of the starters. Also they informed us that the players would begin signing around 9:45 am which meant that there was going to be a lot of down time. That discouraged most of the fans and I expected the worst since the Angels had a game at noon today.

When I arrived Scotty, Ken and Ken Jr who were in adjacent lines next to each other were first in line. They actually camped out at the stadium last night so they would be in prime position to maximize their autograph opportunities. They are hardcore graphers and I respect their passion for the game.

During the week a bunch of fellow graphers and I had this discussion whether Fanfest would be the best time to wait for Albert Pujols at the players parking lot. Since it is Fanfest most fans would be waiting inside Fanfest and thus not many people would consider waiting for the players at the parking lot. I guess it was me being lazy or too busy mingling with fellow graphers that I didn't take this opportunity during the downtime to head out to the players parking lot. Scotty and Ken Jr did and they ended up getting Albert's autograph before the fanfest autograph line even started. Since there were only three kids waiting at the players parking lot Albert stopped and signed for them. Another missed opportunity. However I figured that if me and a couple of other graphers went Albert would have probably never stopped for the adults so good job to Scotty and Ken Jr on their success.

Before the autograph session they interviewed Albert Pujols, Ervin Santana, and Howie Kendrick on stage. I took a few photos. Unfortunately none of them signed for the fans.

As soon as the autograph session started there was chaos as people were changing places in line. My buddy Benson switched places with my friend Ryan from Ryan was in the Abreu line and Benson and I were originally in the Aybar line. Ryan had a Spring Training Aybar Game Used Jersey that he was dying to get signed so they switched spots. I went after Kendrys.

There were a total of five autograph stations each with two players. One autograph station had Alberto Callaspo and Kendrys Morales; Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis; Chris Iannetta and Vernon Wells; Jordan Walden and Scott Downs; Bobby Abreu and LaTroy Hawkins.

Out of all the players I needed Kendrys and Abreu the most. I decided to go after Kendrys and Callaspo first. I initally asked Alberto Callaspo to sign my Topps Heritage 2012 card. If you look closely it's an error card since the name is correct but the player pictured is not Callaspo. I really wanted Callaspo to sign this card for me since it would be a unique item to add to my collection. Callaspo refused to sign saying that the player pictured isn't him. I was a bit embarrassed but Callaspo was cool about it. Here is a picture of the unsigned card. Can anyone identify the player pictured on the Callaspo card? If so let me know.

 Since I was shot down by Callaspo from getting his card signed I had him sign my mini helmet.

I had Kendrys sign my ROMLB on the SS. I was stoked to get Kendrys finally since we've missed out on him at Tunnel B all season long. He's also a tough autograph to get in person.

The next stop was the Bobby Abreu and LaTroy Hawkins line. I really need to thank Josh from for this one since he held a spot for me. Bobby Abreu is notorious for not signing and when he does he side panels every baseball. He even side paneled baseballs for fans at Angels Fanfest last year saying he doesn't sweetspot baseballs. For some reason I've never gotten Bobby's autograph before and since he is on the trade block this might have been my last chance this season to get his autograph. I was hoping for any signature from him. When it was my turn to get his autograph I asked him politely if he could sign the baseball on the sweet spot. Sure enough Bobby obliged and signed my ROMLB on the SS.

Afterwards I got LaTroy Hawkins to sign my mini helmet. When I met LaTroy I thanked him for tossing me the baseball during BP yesterday since it was my first baseball of the year. I told him he overthrew it a few rows back and he laughed saying "you had to work for it huh." LaTroy was cool as can be.

Next up was Scott Downs and Jordan Walden. Luckily again my buddy Matt and his mom saved a spot for me in line. Thanks Matt. I had Scott sign my Topps Heritage card and Jordan sign a ROMLB on the SS.

Afterwards I ran into my friends Nancy and Keith who were in the Iannetta and Wells line. Thanks Nancy and Keith for holding a spot for me. I had Chris Iannetta sign my Topps Heritage Card and Vernon sign my Angels Mini Helmet and also his Topps Heritage card. Vernon was nice enough to sign two items for me.

Next up was Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar. I had Maicer sign my mini helmet and Erick sign a Topps Heritage 2012 card.

There was a big break in action as they had some of the Angel Alumni on stage for an interview. They interviewed Clyde Wright, Chuck Finley, Garret Anderson, Jim Abbott, and Mike Witt. After the interviews on stage ended each Angel Alumni were seated signing autographs at the five autograph stations in random order.

We lucked out and was in the Garret Anderson line. Garret Anderson is notoriously known for being a tough autograph to get. I want to thank Steve for holding down the spot for us. I still needed Garret on a single signed ROMLB on the SS since I am trying to build a set of single signed ROMLBs of any major player from the Angels 2002 Championship team. The rules of the signing was no personalization and inscriptions. Steve was bold enough and asked Garret to inscribe 2003 All Star Game MVP and he ended up getting the inscription from Garret. You can check out the scan of his baseball on his blog. Good job as usual Steve. Here is a picture of my signed Garret Anderson baseball.

Next up was Jim Abbott. Again it is good to be well connected in the autographing game. My friend Marty was holding down a spot for me. Thanks Marty. Jim is another autograph I was missing in my collection of legendary Angels. I had Jim sign a ROMLB on the SS. I asked Jim when his next book signing was and he told me that it would be in the last week of May during the Angels vs Yankees series at the stadium. Be on the lookout for that one.

The last autograph was Mike Witt who is best known for pitching a perfect game. I was surprised how short this line was. I ended up passing on the Clyde Wright line since i've gotten him in the past and he signs all the time. I also passed on the Finley line since I got everything I wanted signed by him at Living Spaces a few months ago. I asked Mr. Witt to inscribe "Perfect Game" but his handler said "no inscriptions." It was still worth a try. I had Mike sign my ROMLB on the SS.

Another super day of signings but very tiring since I didn't get much rest this weekend. Time to sleep.