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 http://www.dodgerbobble.com/, Alex from http://lawlerlawfirstto100wins.blogspot.com/, and Big Mike from https://www.facebook.com/bigmike.autographaddicts. 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.