Saturday, June 30, 2012

Terrell Davis Albertsons Signing Murrieta 6-30-12

Thanks to a last minute tip from my friend Joseph I was able to attend the Terrell Davis signing at Albertsons in Murrieta California. Terrell made an appearance at Albertsons supermarket in Murrieta to promote his new BBQ sauce and was scheduled to sign autographs from 1-3pm.

According to his twitter page and the flyer from the website it stated that TD was signing his bbq bottles and would be posing for pictures with fans. Terrell was doing a promotional tour promoting his BBQ sauce in other states and there were pictures of him signing outside memorabilia. Therefore Benson and I decided to take a chance and attend the signing.

Since this was very last minute I decided to pick up two Broncos mini helmets at Frank and Sons in the morning so that Benson and I can get them signed. Luckily I live about 10 minutes away from Frank and Son's and since it was Saturday it was open. It always helps when we have to prepare for signings last minute.

Benson and I ended up arriving at Albertsons about 11am. When we arrived only about 10 fans were waiting in line. We first asked management whether Terrell was going to sign any outside memorabilia. They wrote in fine print on a poster that Terrell would strictly sign one autograph per fan and that if you wanted any outside memorabilia signed you would have to buy a case of his bbq sauce which meant six total bottles. If you just wanted one bottle signed then you would have to buy two bottles of bbq sauce. Therefore technically this wasn't a free signing since you had to buy bbq sauce but nonetheless it was a bargain considering TD may be a future HOFer. I ended up buying a case of bbq sauce for about $25 dollars. In the end there were less than 100 fans that showed up. I guess the low turnout was due to the fact that the signing wasn't promoted well and also due to the fact that it took place all the way in Murrieta.

After witnessing the first few fans getting their autographs I noticed that Terrell was signing using his short handed signature. I found that to be quite odd since I met TD in person before two years at ago the NFLPA Rookie Premier Flag Football Game at UCLA and he gave his full signature as you can see from my signed football below.

Since I already got a football signed by TD I decided to go get my Broncos mini helmet signed. TD was cool as usual chatting it up with the fans and also took photos with us as well. He also told me he would sign a bottle of his bbq sauce for me.

The only person that I knew of that did get a full signature today was my buddy Spencer who asked Terrell to sign his football using his full signature. Retrospectively I regret not asking him but I was still happy with how my autograph turned out. I want to give a shout out to my fellow graphers including Benson, Spencer, Jessie, Jordan, Chris and Larry. It's always fun chatting it up with you guys.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Angels vs Dodgers Pre Game 6-24-12

I decided to try graphing the Dodgers one last time for the series so I woke up early this morning and headed out to the stadium at around 7:30am. I was still barely awake from graphing all day the previous day. Saturday was a tough day and I think I am getting too old for this. Maybe it's time for retirement from the graphing game.

Initially I waited in the back of the stadium thinking some of the players would drive in. I soon learned I was wrong since most of the players were being driven into the stadium and none were walking out and signing since it was a travel day. Thus I decided to to try the front of the stadium hoping for better luck.

Luckily it paid off as Jamey Wright was dropped off by a taxi cab. Jamey signed a photo for me

The next player to sign was Adam Kennedy who drove and parked in the front of the stadium. I didn't have anything for Adam to sign but luckily my friend Scott hooked me up with an extra card. I had Adam sign a 2009 Topps Card for me. Thanks again Scott for the card.

Scott also helped me out again when Charley Steiner walked in. Scott provided me with a blank autograph card. Thanks Scott.

Next up was Jerry Hairston and Justin Sellers. I didn't have anything for Justin to sign. I wish I had a photo but I didn't have one on me. I did however get Jerry Hairston to sign a photo for me.

The last player to walk in was Ted Lilly who signed my 2012 Topps Archives card.

Afterwards it was time to rest. I'll be taking a break from graphing this week. I am tired.

Tony Gwynn Signing El Cajon Ford/Mariners Graphing at Petco Park 6-23-12

On Saturday, I attended the Tony Gwynn signing at El Cajon Ford in San Diego with my friend Benson. Tony Gwynn was scheduled to sign from 9-10am. We arrived at the signing at around 8am and there were already about 150 people waiting in line. The first person in line waited since 12am the night before. The last time we were here it wasn't this crowded so we were a bit surprised. My personal goal for this trip was to get my Authentic Tony Gwynn jersey signed.

Tony ended up signing for an extra hour but it was strictly one item per person. Other people who were ahead of me in line tried dropping two items but he'd only sign one. What was funny was that two people back to back in line tried to do the same thing. When will people learn.

I ended up getting Tony to sign my jersey. Tony was nice enough to inscribe HOF 07 for me as well.

While we were in line I got a tip from a friend in San Diego that Philip Rivers was having a football camp at UCSD so this threw a curveball in our original plans today. Our original plan was to get Tony Gwynn's autograph, then graph the Mariners at Petco Park, and do some post game graphing of the Dodgers. Many fellow graphers got back in line for Tony Gwynn to try getting a second item signed but Benson and I decided to head out to Dicks Sporting Goods to pick up football supplies to head out to try to graph Philip Rivers. We were definitely not prepared for this.

The football camp was to take place from 9-12:30pm. We arrived at UCSD around 12pm.

When we arrived there were hundreds of kids playing football. The security was lax and it was easy to step into the field. Surprisingly there weren't any graphers all huddled together. Normally at an event like this you can pick off the graphers based on what they are holding and where they are waiting. We were looking around for Philip Rivers and we finally found him near the northeast corner of the field.

When the camp ended Philip was standing there alone on the field. This was the perfect opportunity to ask Philip Rivers for an autograph. Benson, me and another grapher from SD politely asked Philip for an autograph. Philip however declined and said he couldn't sign today. I was more in shock than anything else. Rejection is part of the game of autographing and I've had my share of failures in  autographing but this was a bit ridiculous. Philip was in no rush to get anywhere, there wasn't a bad crowd trying to mob him, it was a football camp promoting teamwork and good will, we didn't invade his space, and it was the off season and he still big leagued us by rejecting our autograph request.

To make matters worse, as we were walking away he ended up signing for some of the kids in his camp. I guess what Rivers should have said was "I only sign for kids" or "I only sign for people who paid to attend my camp." Still though we were polite as usual. It's not the end of the world if you don't get an autograph. I figured if I can't get an auto i'd ask him for a photo op since we did drive two hours to get to SD this morning. So as he was leaving I asked Philip for a photo but before I could finish my sentence he tells me "no autographs." I told him that I wasn't asking him for an autograph since he rejected us earlier, but only wanted a photo with him. I was surprised he stopped and took a photo with me. Just based on his attitude, I now regret asking him for a photo op. I should have just left the field. I hope autograph karma doesn't haunt him this season.

Afterwards Benson and I headed out to Petco Park to do some pregame graphing of the Mariners.

We arrived at Petco Park a bit late due to the detour we took to attend the Philip Rivers Football Camp at around 1pm. This was my first time graphing at Petco Park but luckily Benson was there to help me out. He's graphed at Petco Park before so he showed me the ropes. The first group to sign for us was coach Carl Willis and Jason Vargas who both signed my Mariners mini helmet.

Next up was Chris Chambliss who signed my ROMLB on the SS.

I also brought my Opening Series Japan baseball with me as well. I ended up getting Munenori Kawasaki to sign the baseball underneath the logo.

The last two Mariners to sign was coach Robby Thompson and John Jaso who were both nice enough to sign my Mariners mini helmet.

After graphing the Mariners, Benson and I stopped by to eat at Phil's BBQ which was a well deserved break from graphing. Today was just a long day in general since we were up since 5am. Afterwards we headed back to Anaheim to graph the Dodgers post game. Unfortunately we arrived a bit late. Plus there was heavy traffic in Anaheim due to the Powerhouse Concert at the Honda Center. Another factor working against our plans was the fact that the game ended early at about 7pm. Thus we didn't make it on time to get any autographs. 

Angels vs Dodgers Post Game Graphing 6-22-12

The Dodgers were in town for a three game series vs the Angels in Anaheim so I decided to graph them after the game. Post game graphing is usually hectic especially when the Dodgers come to town since Dodger fans from LA drive out to Anaheim to graph the Dodgers as well. Thus the competition factor doubles in size.

The first person to sign for me was Ronald Belisario. This was historic since he was the first player to sign a photo for me in person. I decided to try getting photos signed recently not only to diversify my collection but to also use them for players I do not have cards for. I do own signed photos in my autograph collection but all were either given to me as gifts, won in a raffle, or was a provided stock photo at free signings.

Ronald was initially on his cell phone as he was walking out but I politely asked him in Spanish for an autograph. He stopped and signed my photo for me.

The next player to sign was Dee Gordon. Dee is always good about signing for fans and he is one of my favorite players in baseball. Dee wore his Cool Grey Air Jordan XIs tonight so I complimented him on his cool pair of shoes. Dee is a big time shoe collector just like Jeremy Guthrie. Dee signed a 11x14 photo for me.

The last player to sign was Juan Rivera. What was funny was that a car initially picked him up from the ramp and drove him out to his wife's car. The distance between the two cars were not even a few yards away. He was with his family so we all though he wouldn't sign. Luckily this was the end of the night and not many graphers were left. We all waited patiently while Juan was greeting his family and politely asked for his autograph. The good thing was that we were all orderly and there wasn't an idiot grapher with bad manners to ruin the moment. Juan signed a photo for me.

All in all it was a great night of signing. I was happy with my results since it was the first time I ever got photos signed in person.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Angels vs Giants Post Game Graphing 6-19-12

Tonight was the second night of graphing the Giants post game. I was really hoping that the crowd of graphers would die down and was also hoping that the events of the previous night would discourage other graphers (not including the regulars) from showing up.

When I arrived at the front gates it was really empty even after the game compared to the night before. It looked like not many family members were waiting for the players outside. With the advice of my friend Nancy I decided to switch it up a bit and try graphing at the back of the stadium near the team bus. Normally it's not wise to wait back there since players usually get on the team bus and leave but I figured it's worth a shot since there wasn't much action in the front tonight.

The first group to walk out was Matt Cain, Javier Lopez, and Ryan Vogelsong. At that point there were only six of us waiting and only five being graphers including me, Matt, Keith, Nancy, and a random girl who wore a Tim Lincecum shirt. All three Giants were headed toward Matt Cain's car since I guess they carpooled together. The girl with the Lincecum shirt ended up getting Matt Cain to sign her shirt using her black sharpie. Since I got Matt Cain on a baseball the night before I decided to get my 2011 Allen and Ginter card signed since he was running with the black sharpie. I think the only reason why Matt stopped and signed was due to the fact that there weren't many fans at that point. I really got lucky thanks to the advice of my friend Nancy.

I didn't have anything for Javier Lopez so I skipped him over and asked Ryan Vogelsong to sign my cards. Ryan was nice enough to sign my 2012 Gypsy Queen and my 2012 Topps Heritage card.

Luckily I was the first person to approach Ryan for an autograph. What's funny is that afterwards other fans asked for an autograph and mistakenly called him Brandon Belt. Ryan got pissed off and stopped signing as soon as he heard that and went inside Matt Cain's car. It must suck being mistaken for another player. It's not like Vogelsong is a scrub. He's actually a talented player. I don't know how people get both players mixed up. To me they just slightly look alike and you can easily tell them apart.

The last person to walk out was Brandon Crawford. He walked over to his girlfriend/wife's car to get a ride. Brandon again denied all autograph requests.

On a side note I am a true believer in karma. One example is Aaron Hill. Since Aaron signed for me the other night even after he wanted to leave he ended up hitting for the cycle. I believe that if you do good deeds for others then good fortune will come in return. Karma can work negatively as well. In Brandon Crawford's case his girlfriend's car wouldn't start. Thus he was stuck in the parking lot for over 15 minutes. Here is a picture of the car.

Doug, one of the members of the security team at Angel Stadium helped jump start the car using jumper cables. Brandon was basically in the car for 15 minutes. He could have at least signed for the few fans waiting for him which would have made everyone happy but he didn't even bother to sign. Oh well no big deal to me but I found that it was ironic that the car wouldn't start after he denied signing for us back to back nights.

The last person to walk out was Coach Bruce Bochy. I had Coach Bochy sign my 2012 Topps Heritage card. One funny thing that happened when Bochy was signing was his reply to a fan who told him that he was getting autographs for his kids. I don't know if this is a graphing trick but I hear it a lot when I do in person signings where graphers tell an athlete that the item that they are getting signed is for their son or daughter. Maybe it's a trick for the player to sign for them or whatever but Coach Bochy's reply was hilarious saying that "everyone has a daughter and son" meaning he really didn't believe the guy who said the remark. In reply to Coach Bochy's comment I was blunt about it and told him straight up that the autograph was for me. Everyone got a laugh out of that.

The gamble did pay off as we later found out that the only player to walk out and sign in the front was Angel Pagan. Nothing against Angel Pagan but I figure most fans would choose to get Cain, Vogelsong, and Bochy over a Pagan autograph.

Angels vs Giants Post Game Graphing 6-18-12

I decided to go graph the Giants post game at Angel Stadium. It's a rare event when the Giants are in town especially in Anaheim so there were a ton of Giants fans at the stadium. Although I am not a fan of the Giants the team does have a few guys I do want autographs from including Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who recently threw a perfect game. Tonight there were a ton of graphers, mostly new guys who i've never seen before but were all decked out in Giants gear. The large crowd reminded me of a typical Yankees series thus my expectations were low.

The first person to walk out was Roberto Kelly who was mobbed by the fans. He signed as he was walking toward his car. Since I didn't have any cards of him I didn't try getting him.

Next person to walk out was Barry Zito who was on his cell phone. Thus many fans figured that Barry wouldn't sign since he was ignoring autograph requests. Finally in front of his car Barry broke down and signed. Barry told all of us to get organized and not crowd around him so he can sign for each of us. Barry signed a ROMLB on the SS for me.

The next person to walk out was Matt Cain who walked out with his wife. We all expected Cain not to sign since he was escorted by security. Plus there was a huge mob of fans trying to get his autograph so we expected Matt to reject all autograph requests. Surprisingly Matt Cain did end up signing as he was walking toward his car if you were lucky. Madness ensued as graphers tried to position themselves into getting Cain's autograph. One fan actually got into a shoving match with security. It got really ugly at the end. I felt really lucky to get his autograph. Cain denied all sweet spot requests and side paneled everyone. Still I was happy to end up with his autograph.

The last group to walk out was Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt. Brandon Crawford denied all autograph requests but Brandon Belt did sign as he was walking toward his car. Again a huge mob followed him thus it was tough to get his autograph. Belt also rejected all sweet spot requests. One fan even asked him to sweet spot and personalize and he still rejected his request. Since when did Brandon Belt start big leaguing everyone? Luckily I ended up with an autograph and I had him sign my 2011 Allen and Ginter Rookie card.

I felt really lucky getting three autographs tonight. I could have easily struck out due to the high number of graphers. Things are just getting out of hand at the stadium.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Angels vs Diamondbacks 6-17-12

After the OC Sports Cards Signing Benson, Phil and I headed out to Angel Stadium for some pregame graphing. When we arrived we were informed by our fellow graphers that Matt Williams and Alan Trammell signed coming in already a few minutes ago. Had Vlad and Kendrys showed up on time to the signing we would have ended up with getting both Matt Williams' and Alan Trammell's autograph. Maybe next time. What made up for the loss was Angels Team Hall of Famer Don Baylor who was the first person to sign for us today. Don signed a ROMLB for me on the SS.

What a great start. The Diamondbacks are one of the few teams where i'd rather get the coaches autographs more than the current players. Their coaching staff is stacked with legends such as Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell, Matt Williams and Don Baylor. Even the broadcasters are worth graphing such as Mark Grace and Tom Candiotti. One lucky grapher finally completed his project today. It's a canvas painting of four Angel legends; Fred Lynn, Don Baylor, Reggie Jackson and Rod Carew.

The next player to sign was us was good old Trevor Cahill. Trevor has always been great with the fans at Angel Stadium since his days with the Oakland Athletics. Trevor ended up signing four cards for me and a ROMLB for my buddy Phil pictured below.

On a side note, one thing great about the hobby of graphing baseball are the friends you meet in the process and in general nice people who help you out. Remember that story on my previous entry how Brian Bogussevic accidentally signed my Jason Castro Allen and Ginter card at Dodger Stadium? Well my buddy Matt knew that I needed a replacement Jason Castro Allen and Ginter card so he ended up giving me a Jason Castro card today after he stumbled upon the card at a local card shop.

Thanks Matt.

My friend Scotty also gave me a Willie Bloomquist Topps 2012 card today as well since he had a bunch of them. Thanks Scotty.

Since I didn't have any Tom Candiotti cards on me today my friend Brian gave me a 1992 Tom Candiotti Upper Deck card which later I ended up getting signed. Thanks Brian.

As for pregame graphing that was pretty much it. We entered the stadium at 5pm two hours before game time for batting practice. During batting practice there wasn't much signing going on so I devoted my day to ball hawking. Matt and I hung out near the right field hoping to graph and ball hawk at the same time. The theme of the day was "David" since two players with the same name as me threw me four baseballs. The first person to throw me a baseball was David Carpenter. As soon as I caught the ball I ended up giving it away to a little kid standing next to me. David Carpenter saw that so he threw me another baseball which happened to be a leftover Angels 50th Anniversary baseball from last year. Thanks David. Since Matt was next to me I told him the next ball that I catch will be his. Soon afterwards David Carpenter threw another toss up towards our direction and I caught the ball and handed it off to Matt.

Since there wasn't much graphing going on at Right Field we decided to head out near the bullpen. There were a ton of Angels fans all begging for baseballs from David Hernandez and Wade Miley who were out in left field near the bullpen. Since nobody was signing Matt and I decided to wait behind the bullpen in left field. I ended up getting David Hernandez' attention by yelling out his name and asking him to show me his cannon arm and if he can spare me a baseball. I also pointed at my vintage Dbacks cap I was wearing and my HR derby jersey I was wearing from last years All Star Game in Arizona. I also pounded my fist to my chest as well and pointed towards him to show him some brotherly love. David Hernandez was teasing me for about 15 minutes imitating each of my moves but didn't throw any baseballs toward my way. He was laughing and imitating my moves showing Wade Miley as well. Finally he broke down and tossed me a baseball. Then he asked for it back. This was my big league moment since I never ever played catch with an MLB player before. I threw the ball back and it barely made it over the bullpen fence. I was nervous but was happy the baseball went over the fence. David then threw the baseball back onto the field and I thought i'd never see the baseball again. Soon afterwards he threw me another baseball and I was able to keep it. Thanks David. Here is a picture of the two baseballs I got from BP. Only two are pictured since I gave two away.

After BP we decided to try to get Garret Anderson's autograph since he was doing the Fox Sports Broadcast in the outfield.

Garrett was in a rush and was signing as he was leaving so he signed for only a few fans. I ended up striking out. No big deal since I know I can get him again next time.

Here is a view of the game from Benson's season seats. Stellar view of the game as usual. Thanks again Benson for inviting me to the game. If you notice to the right of the Honda Center sign there is a Batman Logo on the building to promote the new Batman musical. Check it out.

The game itself was almost historic. Ervin Santana had a perfect game going until the 7th inning when Justin Upton hit a single to left field. Ervin ended up pitching a 1 hitter in the end. I am happy for him since he's been struggling this entire season. Hopefully he can build up his confidence from this great night of pitching. Trumbo also hit a 2 run homerun and the Angels beat the D-backs 2-0.

After the game Benson and I decided to do some post game graphing with the goal of getting Mark Grace's autograph. The first player to walk out was Josh Collmenter who signed my 2012 Topps Heritage Card.

Next up was Mark Grace and Tom Candiotti who both walked out together and were in a rush to leave. They were signing as they were walking. I ended up getting Mark to sign my ROMLB on the SS and Ton Candiotti on the 1992 Upper Deck Card.

Within a five minute time a lot of players were walking out so there was no time to take pictures. The next group of players to walk out was Jason Kubel, Chris Young, and Justin Upton who were all escorted by security. Chris Young and Justin Upton ignored the fans not even acknowledging the little kids who were requesting them for autographs. The basically pulled an A-rod on everyone. Jason Kubel however did sign as he was walking toward his car. He was also in a rush to leave though so he ended up signing outside the border of my 2012 Topps Heritage card.

As I was walking back from the parking lot my friends were telling me that David Hernandez signed and I just misssed him. I wanted to meet up with him in person to thank him for the baseball he gave me during BP and I was hoping I could also get the same baseball signed. Maybe next time i'll run into him again.

Soon afterwards I saw Aaron Hill sign for one fan and was about to leave. When I asked him for an autograph he told me that he had to leave so he started to walk away. No big deal since that happens regularly. As soon as the game is over most players usually have things to do after the game and can't wait to leave. Normally when players decline signing for me I try to be polite and I always wish them a good night and a safe drive home and I don't make a big deal about not getting an autograph. Aaron heard me and stopped and said "man I don't want to be a jerk to you so i'll sign for you." I was in shock since i've never had a player change his mind to stop and sign for me as they were leaving. I thought that was super cool so I thanked him for signing my 2011 Allen and Ginter card.

The last person to sign was Charles Nagy. Since I didn't have anything for him I ended up getting an extra card signed for Benson since he had two Charles Nagy cards. All in all it was a fun filled day of graphing.