Sunday, June 24, 2012

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. 


  1. Dude!! What the hell with Rivers? The guys is an a**! I'm a Raiders fan, so I hope that karma does kick him in the rear end dude!! Congrats on that TG jersey, it looks sweet!! He hooked you up with an amazing autograph!

    1. Ya I was a bit upset about the Rivers thing especially due to the circumstances. He had the chance to make our day and create lifelong fans but didn't so I guess it's his loss. As for Tony Gwynn I was happy with the signature. At least I got one legendary SD autograph that day.