It was a very busy weekend for me. Courtesy of my buddy Benson I was able to attend the Angels Home Opener vs the Royals this weekend. I was excited to start the new season of graphing officially at Angels Stadium and this was my first ever home opener i've ever been to.
4-6-12 Recap Angels Home Opener
I arrived at Angels Stadium at about 6pm. I had work and a CE course in Irvine so I arrived a bit later than usual. Already there were tons of fans tailgating at the parking lot. It looked like one big party and everyone has been there all morning long to celebrate the new season.
When I entered the stadium I noticed that the Royals weren't really signing. Maybe I got there too late. I took a few photos of the field level and headed out to the rocks in center field to check out the Fox Sports West Broadcast. I noticed that Tim Salmon was there and also Jerry Dipoto.
Jerry was really nice and was taking pictures with fans. I asked him to sign my mini helmet with the inscription "I got Pujols" but he laughed and said he couldn't inscribe that. He happily signed my mini helmet for me. I guess it's appropriate that Dipoto is my first autograph on my 2012 Angels Mini Helmet. Tim Salmon didn't sign since he was due to throw out the first pitch with Eckstein and Percival. He was in a rush to leave after the telecast.
Benson arrived shortly afterwards. The front gate was giving him trouble about bringing in his backpack since it was too large. We never had this issue before last year. I guess security is now tighter at Angels Stadium. This is going to be a long season. Thus he had to drop off his backpack and was only able to bring cards into the stadium. We took more pictures before the national anthem.
It's always an awesome site to see the USA flag on the field. I always get goosebumps when this happens while they play the national anthem. Last time they did that was the 911 game last year. As soon as the national anthem was over we headed out to our seats to watch the game.
The game was a pitching battle between Weaver and Bruce Chen. It was an exciting game as the Angels scored five runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to earn the home opener victory. As soon as the game was over we headed out to the front gates to graph.
The first person to sign for us was Luis Mendoza of the Royals. He was nice as can be and took pictures with fans as well. I had Luis sign my KC Royals mini helmet.
I also had Coach Ned Yost and Brayan Pena sign my mini helmet as well. Brayan was cool. He was holding his son with one arm and still signed for all of us. I usually don't approach players when they are with their kids especially if they are holding their kids in their arms. Another fan asked him for his autograph and he was signing away using the same hand he was using to hold onto his kid.
Soon afterwards David Eckstein "The X-Factor" walked out of the front gates. Fans mobbed him. David was there to throw out the first pitch. I still can't believe it's already been 10 years since the 2002 Championship Season. Time flies by. David is by far one of the most fan friendly players ever. He stopped for photo ops and signed for all of us. He was hanging out in front of the stadium for about 20 minutes spending time with the fans and chatting it up. I ended up having Eckstein sign my 2002 WS baseball under the WS logo and he was nice enough to sign the bill of my Angels mini helmet.
Soon afterwards Rex Hudler and Mark Langston walked out of the stadium together. Damn I wish I had my Langston Authentic Jersey with me. I still need to get that bad boy signed. I didn't expect him to be there today. Therefore I had Rex and Mark sign my 2012 Angels mini helmet. Mark made a funny comment when signing the helmet. He mentioned that this helmet could only fit the head of the Rally Monkey after he soon found out that it was padded with foam inside. We both had a good laugh about that.
I also ended up getting Bruce Chen so to sign my ROMLB on the SS. Most people may think I am crazy for getting Chen on a ROMLB since he isn't a major star. As most of my readers know I do collect single signed ROMLBs for any past and present Asian MLB player. Thus I had to add Bruce to my collection. He was nice as can be and also signed the baseball with his jersey number. He did however did pitch one hell of a game that night pitching six strong innings and giving up no runs.
Last but not least Tim Salmon walked out of the front gates. He was wearing his 2002 Championship Ring. I had the captain sign my 2002 WS baseball on the sweet spot. That's a current project I am working on. I plan to get all the hitters, pitchers and coaches in three separate baseballs of the championship team. So far i've just started the hitters ball. I have to give credit where it is due. Benson thought of the idea and he's been working on this project for several years now.
If you notice the autograph below that is Garret Anderson which was obtained the following day at the 2012 Baseball Expo.
4-7-12 2012 Baseball Expo Zero Graphing
Let me explain what happened yesterday. I didn't graph at all but ended up with two items signed by Garret Anderson thanks to my buddy Benson. I was offered to go to the Angels game from three of my friends. Eddie, Benson and Nancy had extra tickets for me to attend the Angels vs Royals game but I couldn't go since I had a CE course in Irvine all day. Plus I had to meet my date in LA after the CE course so there was absolutely no time to graph yesterday. Thus I couldn't graph at the game or at the 2012 Baseball Expo.
We found out about the 2012 Baseball Expo through http://thinkredinstead.blogspot.com/. Originally Benson and I planned not to attend this event since the prices for the autographs were ridiculous. The only autograph we wanted was Garret Anderson since he is notoriously a bad signer. He rarely makes public appearances or signs in person. I think they were charging like $65 for small items and about $10 for inscriptions. Two days prior to the event there was an update that they were selling presale tickets for $10 bucks any item. That was a steal. I guess the organizers of the event couldn't sell much tickets so in order to recoup their losses they pretty much gave away the autographs by charging $10 bucks. I feel bad for the people who actually paid the asking price.
I ended up getting Benson to get a bat and my WS baseball signed by Garret. According to Benson it looks like the people running the event lost money. There were only about 10-15 tables and vendors and not many people getting autographs at this event. Only about 25 fans showed up to get Garret's autograph. I guess most fans were initially turned off by the high prices, had better things to do on Saturday since the Angels were having a game, or maybe the event wasn't publicized as well. Here are some pictures of the bat and the signed baseball. I want to thank Benson again for getting me these items signed by Garret.
4-8-12 Angels vs Royals Easter Sunday Strike One, Two, Three I'm OUT!
This was the most strangest and disappointing days in terms of graphing for me. I felt like my game was off or maybe I was tired or maybe today I wasn't meant to be at the stadium. I didn't get much sleep the night before. On Saturday I was out and about from 7am and didn't sleep til 2am. I decided to head out to the stadium to graph in the morning and come home after a few innings since I knew it was a travel day for both teams and I had to attend Mass with my parents and have dinner with them since today was Easter Sunday.
I arrived at the stadium around 10am. Most of the players already went in so I didn't get any autographs. Thus I was chilling with friends and hanging out until the gates opened at 11am. Surprisingly the Royals had BP today. It's rare to have BP on Sundays but I guess since they had a day game on Saturday they decided to hold a BP session today. I decided to take some photos near the Royals dugout.
I knew my day was going to be weird. One of the coaches threw a baseball directly toward our direction. The baseball landed in my glove and some kid bumped my hand/glove therefore dislodging the baseball from my glove and the ball ended up rolling into the Royals dugout. That was supposed to be the first baseball I ballhawked this season. So far 0-1. That was strike 1 for me. I did however was fortunate enough to get Everett Teaford and Luke Hochevar to sign my Royals mini helmet. As soon as Luke signed for us the ushers began to kick out all of the graphers. I really should have stayed back and i'll tell you why.
I really wanted to get Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas' autograph this weekend. Since I was kicked out of the Royals dugout I headed over to the Angels dugout to see if I can get Albert Pujols to sign. This was indeed Easter Sunday so I was hoping for a miracle. As soon as I went to the Angels dugout I noticed that Mike Moustakas was meeting up with family and friends and was signing autographs for fans. I was a bit bummed out since I knew that if I hung out there a bit longer I would have gotten his autograph especially since the ushers won't kick you out if you are near the mid to outer field level area at right field which is where Mike was chatting with friends and family. I was tempted to run over there but I figured he would stop signing by the time I got there. A few minutes later Eric Hosmer does the same thing. He meets up with friends and family the exact same spot that Moustakas was there a moment ago and he ends up signing for fans. Arrg. Such bad timing all day for me. That was strike 2 for me.
I did take some pictures of Mark Trumbo getting an award for being an outstanding rookie last year, Petey, Kendrick, Aybar and Pujols warming up. Trumbo, Bourjos and Kendrick did sign but there was a mob of fans as usual. I already got them in the past so I wasn't too concerned about getting their autographs. I wanted to get Pujols again.
After stretching Pujols did indeed sign. He signed for about 15 fans. I was in prime positioning to get his autograph since I was the next one up to get it. I had a baseball and pen ready in hand to hand it off to him. Then suddenly some idiot fan bumps me and knocks my baseball over the railing thus landing on the field. Luckily one of the ushers saw this and grabbed my baseball and handed it back. As soon as that happened Pujols stopped signing. I was so upset. I figured since I missed out on Hosmer and Moustakas getting Pujols would make up for those losses. I was however happy for my friend Cherine since she was able to get her Pujols photo signed. However today wasn't my day. What made matters worse was during the entire process I ended up accidentally leaving my glove at one of the field level seats. This is my favorite glove all time and I had it for years. I went back to look for it and it was gone. So strike 3. No Hosmer, no Moustakas, no Pujols and no glove.
Easter Sunday Miracle:
I was extremely upset about the course of events today. I texted my buddy Benson detailing what happened to me during the day. He unfortunately didn't attend the game with me today. Benson suggested that I check lost and found in section 107 to check if someone returned my glove. It was worth a shot. I figured at least I can leave the description of the glove and if it shows up i'd come pick it up during a following game or maybe it was time for me to buy a new glove. I was so upset I was already on my way out of the stadium. I entered the guest relations office/lost and found and described my glove and the location of where I lost the glove to the lady behind the counter. Soon afterwards she brought out my glove behind the counter and asked me if it was my glove. Luckily a fan did turn in my glove to the lost and found. I was really happy to get it back. It was nice to know that there are still ethical and honest people out there in this world. This was indeed an Easter Sunday Miracle to make up for my three strikes today.
The entire course of events today taught me a lesson that I should be thankful for what I have and not obsess over getting autographs. I need to stand by the rule of 1 which is "as long as you get one autograph it's a damn good day but if you don't get one it's not a big deal." We can't expect to get autographs all the time and stuff like that shouldn't make or break your day. It's just that those near misses are heartbreaking at times. It was still however a great weekend of baseball and i'm happy that baseball is back.