Today was one of the best days and one of the longest days of graphing. Benson and I had an initial plan of going to the Norm Nixon signing in LA, then NBA Nation at Universal City Walk, and graph the Dodgers post game. Our plans soon changed when we got a last minute tip that Deacon Jones was having a signing at the Grand Opening of Sports Authority at The Block in Orange around the same time as the Nixon signing. We also decided to pass up on the NBA Nation event after finding out that James Worthy and Derrick Williams were the scheduled players to sign since we've gotten their autographs before. Since Benson never got Manny Pacquiao's autograph before and since I still needed Freddie Roach's autograph we decided to hit up the Wild Card Boxing Club instead of NBA Nation.
I was really tired from the night before. As I was driving back from Dodger Stadium there was a ton of traffic on the 5 fwy when I was dropping Benson off at home. Thus I got home around 1:30am and didn't get to sleep until 3:30am. I had to get up early to hit up Frank and Sons to buy some Throwback Rams mini helmets so that Benson and I can use it for the Deacon Jones signing. I ended up picking up two Rams mini helmets and headed out to the Deacon Jones signing.
Deacon Jones/Tony Hawk Recap:
Deacon Jones was scheduled to sign at 1pm at Sports Authority in Orange to celebrate their Grand Opening.
I arrived around 11am and there was absolutely nobody in line. The turnout was really low considering the fact that Deacon is an HOFer and rarely has free public appearances. The low turnout can be due to the fact that the signing wasn't publicized and also the fact that there were so many other signings taking place today. Since I had time to kill I was entering my name into all the raffles that Sports Authority had today.
Then I got a tip from a worker at Sports Authority that the Vans Skatepark next door was having a skate competition and that Tony Hawk was there as well http://www.vans.com/eventsites/poolparty/. You can also read about the recap of the event here http://www.vans.com/news/item/1796792/barros-and-cab-take-titles-pro-tec-pool-party. I've always wanted Tony Hawk's autograph since he is the Michael Jordan of skateboarding. Plus I heard that he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I ended up getting a tip that he was having lunch at Corner Bakery which was right next to the Vans Skatepark. When we entered I noticed that he was still eating so I didn't bother him. Benson was in line to get coffee and Bucky Lasek was standing in line right behind us. It was weird that nobody asked him for his autograph and nobody except us really noticed that Tony Hawk was there too. Benson and I didn't have anything on us for Tony to sign so we opted using ROMLBs since I carry extras in my backpack every time I attend a signing for these emergency purposes. After Tony finished his meal I asked Tony to sign my baseball. He was also nice enough to inscribe his nickname "Birdman" and took a photo with me.
Wow what a great start to the day. After getting Tony's autograph it was almost time for the Deacon Jones signing to begin. When we went back to Sports Authority we were about 25th in line. I was thinking oh this is great we can probably get multiple items signed as well since there was such a small turnout. Deacon arrived a little bit after 1pm and he started signing. Due to his age/health he was signing at a really slow pace but he was nice enough to take his time on each signature and inscribing HOF 80 for everyone. Initially he signed two items for the first 10 fans and also did photo ops. Then his handlers changed the rule to 1 item with no photo ops since the line was barely moving. Spencer, Benson and I waited about 45 minutes until we were able to get our items signed. In the end about only 50 fans showed up and Sports Authority ended up cutting off the line. Deacon ended up signing for less than 1 hour due to his declining health. You can see the affects of all the years he got hit on the football field back when players didn't have much protection like the players today. I felt honored to meet one of the NFL's greatest players ever and was happy to get my Throwback Rams Mini Helmet signed.
After the signing we headed out to Wild Card Boxing Club in LA.
Manny Pacquiao/Freddie Roach Signing Recap:
We were running a bit late so we picked up some sandwiches for lunch and headed out to LA. We arrived at the Wild Card Boxing Club around 4:30. There were about 50 fans waiting for Manny Pacquiao outside Wild Card for a chance for an autograph or a photo op. I wanted to get Freddie Roach's autograph first since I missed out on him on Thursday so I asked Rob who is one of the trainers of the gym where Freddie was. He mentioned that Freddie was doing an interview with HBO so he wasn't in the gym at the time. Thus I thought my chances of getting Roach today was over. While we were waiting for Manny Freddie ended up walking right by us since he was walking back into the gym. I immediately asked Freddie for an autograph and he was nice enough to take a photo with me. Freddie also inscribed HOF 2012 for me on my boxing glove and signed a glove for Benson as well.
We waited about another hour for Manny since he was eating dinner at his gift shop/tattoo parlor.
When Manny walked out it was chaos as usual as fans tried to mob him for autographs. There was a boy in a wheelchair who was waiting for Manny outside. As soon as Manny saw him he directly went over to the boy and took pictures with him and signed his shirt. There was no media there to cover this and this was Manny just being the great/kind guy that he is fulfilling the boy's wish for meeting the champ himself.
Manny ended up signing two gloves for me and also a glove for Benson. Since Benson was in the back of the crowd I had to grab the glove from him and get it signed since I was in better positioning to hand the glove to Manny. Here is a pic of Manny signing my gloves.
I want to thank Manny and Freddie for signing my gloves and for being such class acts.
Dodger Stadium Post Game Recap:
After graphing Manny and Freddie there was some time to kill. Benson and I were thinking whether we should just call it a day and go home since we did so well today/yesterday and we were tired from yesterday since we didn't get much sleep. We decided to think about it over dinner. We wanted to watch the Laker game so we headed out to Biergarten http://www.yelp.com/biz/biergarten-los-angeles to grab some food and watch the Lakers vs Nuggets Game 7. While we were eating I noticed that the Dodgers were already in the 7th inning since the game started at 6 today instead of the normal 7pm start time. The game was ending sooner than we thought so we figured that since we were close to the stadium we'd go graphing at the stadium. Plus Todd Helton did mention he'd sign today so we wanted to take our chances. When we entered the stadium we immediately noticed that Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer walking out together. It was just me and Benson and we asked Todd to sign for us. He politely declined saying he needed to leave. I was a bit disappointed since it wasn't a large crowd asking for his autograph and he did mention he'd sign today but I guess the promise he made to us yesterday was either a false promise or maybe he signed during BP today. Who knows. We wished him a good night and moved forward. Next up was Jason Giambi and again he was walking out with his family and holding his daughter's hand. Thus I didn't bother asking Jason for his autograph today just like yesterday. I usually try not to bother players when they are with family. That's just rude. I thought I was going to get shut out today since it looked like none of the Rockies were in the signing mood.
Soon afterwards Davey Lopes walked right past us. I asked Mr. Lopes to sign an ROMLB on the SS for me and he told me to walk with him towards his car since he wanted to leave the stadium as soon as possible. I thanked him for signing for me.
Lopes is by far the toughest autograph to get out of the four members of the famed Dodgers Infield of the 80s so I was happy to get his autograph in person. Now I just need Ron Cey to complete the infield collection of single signed ROMLB on the SS. If anyone has an extra Cey baseball available for trade let me know.
All in all it was a super day of graphing.