Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rays Graphing Recap

The Tampa Bay Rays were in town for a three game series vs the Angels this past weekend. The Rays were one of the few teams I did poorly with when it came to graphing last year so I was excited to try graphing them again this year.

7-27-12 Post Game Graphing

Since I had work I wasn't able to make it to the game. That's what it's usually like for me on weekday games thus I decided to go graph the Rays post game. From my fellow graphers I heard that David Price signed during BP. During pre game a lot of players signed including BJ Upton and Matt Moore. My buddy Matt racked on the Rays since he was at the stadium the entire day on Friday. As with most teams players tend to sign most during the first game of the series.

There was a ton of action during post game graphing as a lot of the Rays walked out of the front gates. The first autograph I got was from Wade Davis who signed my 2011 Allen and Ginter card shown in the top left corner pictured below.

The next player to sign for me was Jose Molina who walked out with his entire family and friends. Jose signed my 2012 Topps card for me pictured on the top right.

The next two players to walk out and sign were JP Howell and and Joel Peralta. I didn't have any cards for both players. Thus I had Joel Peralta sign my Royals 2012 Topps Heritage team card pictured above on the bottom row to the left.

David Price and James Shields walked out together along with James Shields' family. David and James initially rejected all autograph requests. Fans/graphers were following them to their car. David used the kid trick as he was holding James Shields' kid in his arms thus we knew he wouldn't sign. James however did break down and signed for a few fans that followed them all the way to the parking lot.

While I was trying to get David Price's autograph I later on found out that Jake McGee signed a few in the front gates but I didn't get back in time to get his autograph.

The next group to walk out together was BJ Upton and Jeff Keppinger. BJ ignored everyone just like his brother Justin and told all of us that if he stopped and signed then he'd have to sign for everyone and he wasn't in any mood to sign. He also mentioned he doesn't like to sign outside the stadium and made the false promise that he'd get us inside tomorrow. Jeff Keppinger did sign a few as he was getting a cab with BJ. Jeff signed my 2012 Topps Card for me pictured above on the bottom row to the right. I guess BJ and Jeff are good friends since they were always coming in and out of the stadium together throughout the entire weekend.

The last player to walk out was Brooks Conrad. He stopped and signed for everyone who had any items for him to sign. Sadly I didn't have anything for him to sign so I passed on his autograph.

I want to give a shout out to my buddy Josh who drove all the way from the Valley to graph with us tonight as well as my friend Alex. It's always a blast graphing with you guys. I hope next time we get better results though.

7-28-12 Pre/Post Game Graphing

There was much more action during pre game vs post game graphing today. I didn't have game tickets today so I decided to graph the Rays both pre and post game. It's tough to graph for an entire day at the stadium and sometimes you just need a break.

The first player to sign pre game was Matt Joyce who signed two cards for me, my 2012 Allen and Ginter and 2012 Gypsy Queen.

Next up was Wade Davis who belongs in the autograph Hall of Fame. This entire weekend I haven't seen him turn down an autograph request. He signed two cards for me pre game (2012 Topps Heritage and 2012 Allen and Ginter) and one card for me post game (2012 Topps).

The next player to sign was Jeremy Hellickson. When he arrived at the stadium everyone mistakenly though Jeremy was Alex Cobb. My buddy Marty actually called Jeremy Alex and requested an autograph. Jeremy came over and signed for Marty who ended up getting his Alex Cobb cards signed by Hellickson. Normally in cases where you misidentify a player they will tell you "that's not me" and leave but the funny thing was that Jeremy didn't even flinch and just signed for him. Marty ended up going back to Jeremy and got the correct cards signed. As I got a closer look I knew it was Jeremy Hellickson so I ended up getting my ROMLB signed on the SS and my 2011 Allen and Ginter Hellickson Rookie card signed.

The next person to drive in was Coach Joe Maddon. I had Coach Maddon sign my 2012 Topps Heritage card. Life must be good for Coach, check out his nice ride.

After Coach Maddon signed we noticed that Zack Greinke was being dropped off at the Angels parking lot. The Angels recently acquired Zack through a trade. The press conference was going to be held prior to the game. As we ran over to the Angels parking lot hoping to get Zack's autograph we ended up missing out on getting James Shields' autograph as he was dropped off as well. Zack ended up not signing for us.

Carlos Pena walked in along with super agent Scott Boras. Carlos denied all autograph requests letting us know that he was running late to the ballpark. Scott Boras did however sign for a few fans.

During post game there was not much action compared the the previous night. There was a Goo Goo Dolls Concert being held after the game so that drew more fans to the stadium. Concert night can get crazy at the stadium since there are more fans and the players like to blend in with the crowd to sneak away from the graphers. Thus it's harder to pick them off in a big crowd. The first player to walk out of the stadium was Luke Scott who signed my 2011 Allen and Ginter Card.

The next player to stop and sign was Wade Davis as mentioned above in my post. Following Wade Davis I ended up getting Alex Cobb's autograph on my 2012 Gypsy Queen Card.

JP Howell walked out again but was with family and nobody stopped him. The same went for Brooks Conrad, Elliot Johnson, and Ryan Roberts.

7-29-12 Angels vs Rays Game

Sunday is probably the most terrible day to graph since most of the time it's a travel day. That eliminates post game graphing. Pre game graphing is tough as well since all the players are suited up and carry luggage along with them as they enter the stadium. Inside the stadium Sunday games are hit or miss. Since there is no BP some players especially pitchers will tend to sign but sometimes like days such as today nobody really signed autographs.

When I arrived at the stadium I met up with my friend Tyler so that we could complete a trade. I ended up trading Tyler my 2012 Ted Lilly signed Topps Archives card for his 2011 Topps Eric Hosmer card.

Thanks for the trade Tyler. Now I finally own something signed by Hosmer. Hopefully I can get a baseball signed by him next year.

The first player to sign for me pre game was Sean Rodriguez who ended up only signing for me. Sean Rodriguez, Matt Joyce and Jeremy Hellickson all got dropped off together at the same time. I figured everyone would go after Joyce or Hellickson so I opted for Sean since I never got his autograph before. Sean ended up signing my 2012 Topps Card.

Joyce signed for one fan as well. Hellickson signed for three fans even though he was starting today. Autograph karma came into fruition as Hellickson threw a gem vs the Angels and got the victory over Zack Greinke today.

The next player to sign for us was Luke Scott who signed my 2012 Topps card for me pictured above.

While we were waiting we ended up missing out on Ben Zobrist and Brian Anderson. Zobrist signed a ton for the fans who were waiting in the front gates. My buddy Scotty ended up getting Zobrist to sign 10 cards for him.

Inside the stadium it was probably the worst day of graphing for me this year. My buddy Tyler called Burke Badenhop out for an autograph request. He came over and signed for everyone but sadly I didn't have any cards of him. The only other players that signed were Sam Fuld who signed for a few friends and family members in the VIP seats and Wade Davis. Not many of the Rays pitchers were out there warming up and none of them were in the mood to sign autographs.

I did take some pictures of Jeremy Hellickson as we he was headed toward the bullpen from the dugout.

All in all I was happy with my results this weekend. Last year the only Rays autograph I got was from Sam Fuld. My numbers did improve and I was happy to finally add Jeremy Hellickson's autograph into my collection. Hopefully when the Rays come back to town in a few weeks I can get David Price's autograph.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

KC Royals Graphing Recap

The Royals were in town for a three game series against the Angels. I decided to do some post game graphing as usual with the goal of getting Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer's autograph.

7-23-12 Post Game Graphing Recap

Since my goal was to get Mike Moustakas' autograph I decided to wait near the visitors tunnel in the back of the stadium. Last year Moustakas drove in since he is a local guy from Chatsworth. I figured since he drove in last year he would do the same this year and leave through the vistors' tunnel. Baseball players are creatures of habit so normally you can follow their patterns and tendencies. That was a major mistake on my part which I will explain later.

I patiently waited with my friend Brian who was thinking the same thing hoping to get Moustakas' autograph. None of the usual graphers were there which was a sign that something was wrong. It was only me, Brian and two girls from Kansas City carrying a "I love Mike Moustakas" homemade poster waiting for him. There was one car in the lot, an expensive black Mercedes sports car, so we figured it might belong to one of the players. We waited and waited and there was no action. We later on found out that the Mercedes belonged to Alcides Escobar since his driver came up and drove the car down the tunnel. Thus we were basically screwed since all of the players took the bus and Escobar had his driver pick him up.

Brian and I decided to change up our plans so we met up with Benson who was waiting for Kendrys Morales. Kendrys had a game winning hit and drove in three runs during the game. Thus we figured he might be in the mood to sign. Again we struck out as Kendrys ignored our autograph requests as he was walking to his car.

Finally we decided to go to the front of the stadium. In the front all of the usual graphers were there and we got a full report. Mike Moustakas did leave through the front and signed for everyone so again we struck out. Bruce Chen, Jeremie Guthrie, Billy Butler, and Jeff Francour all came out of the front gates and they signed as well. Basically we made a bad decision tonight costing us several autographs.

Luckily I didn't completely strike out tonight. That last three members of the Royals to walk out were Chris Getz, Lorenzo Cain, and Coach Ned Yost who all signed cards for me. As long as I don't strike out I am happy.

7-24-12 Post Game Graphing Recap

I decided to try once again graphing the Royals. This time I made sure to wait by the front gates since I almost got shut out the previous night. Luckily it was a wise choice.

The first player to walk out of the gates was Jeff Francoeur who is of the the most fan friendliest baseball players of all time. He seemed happy to sign for us and wasn't annoyed like how other players get when people ask them for autographs. Jeff signed two cards for me, my 2012 Allen and Ginter card and my 2012 Topps Heritage card.

The next players to walk out were Bruce Chen and Mike Moustakas. Initially Bruce walked out first and all the graphers went after him. In the corner of my eye I saw Mike Moustakas walk out as well, who had his full entourage of friends and family with him. I decided to go for Mike first since I've gotten Bruce Chen's autograph in the past. Plus I figured that I could catch him later as soon as he was finished signing for the rest of the fans.

Mike signed my ROMLB on the SS for me and my 2012 Allen and Ginter card.

As soon as I got Moustakas' autograph I went over to Bruce Chen and had him sign my 2012 Topps Card.

Other notable players to walk out but didn't sign were Yuniesky Betancourt, Billy Butler, and Lorenzo Cain. Chris Getz and Luis Mendoza walked out but nobody asked for an autograph. Ned Yost and the coaching staff walked out as well like the previous night but I didn't have anything for him to sign so I passed.

Although my numbers were low for this series I was happy that I could finally cross Mike Moustakas off my list of autographs I wanted from the 2012 MLB season.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Angels vs Rangers Weekend Series

After a long hiatus from graphing I decided to try graphing the Rangers since they were in town for a weekend series vs the Angels. The long break from graphing was definitely worth it since it can get tiring at times. I seriously needed the break.

Angels vs Rangers 7-20-12 Post Game Graphing Recap

The first night of graphing was really slow and dead. Since I had work I couldn't make it out to the game so I decided to do some post game graphing. When I arrived at the stadium my buddy Ryan had a gift for me from the game. The legendary ballhawk Zack Hample was in attendance at Angel Stadium and Ryan had a signed copy of his book for me. Zack personalized the book to me and wrote a message for me as well. Thanks again Ryan for getting me a signed copy of Zack's book.

Here is a picture of me, Ryan and Zack from last year at the stadium.

The only player to sign post game was good old Mike Adams who is always nice when it comes to signing autographs. My buddy Kyle had a painting of Mike and was planning on meeting up with him after the game to present it to him. Therefore I knew it was a guaranteed autograph. In exchange for the painting Mike gave Kyle a signed game used glove. Mike signed my 2012 Topps card for me as well.

In terms of graphing that was it. Although I didn't get much it was still fun going out there again hunting for autographs.

Angels vs Rangers 7-21-12 Recap

I was hoping for better results today since I had tickets to the Angels vs Rangers game. Since the game was televised nationally on Fox 11 the game time was 1:05 which is unusual for a game on Saturday. Therefore it felt like a Sunday game with no BP. 

During pre game Matt Harrison signed my 2012 Topps Heritage and Gypsy Queen cards for me.

When I entered the stadium I headed towards the right field where the Rangers pitching staff were doing warmup drills.

I was able to get Alexi Ogando's attention and he was nice enough to toss a warmup baseball to me.

After warmups were over the Rangers pitching staff were signing for the fans. The first player to sign for us was Mark Lowe. Since I didn't have a card of his I ended up getting a 2012 Topps Rangers team card signed by him.

The next player to sign for me was Derek Holland. Derek was nice enough to sign my 2011 WS baseball underneath the WS logo.

Alexi Ogando also signed a 2011 WS baseball for me as well underneath the WS logo.

That was pretty much it for in game graphing.

After the game Benson and I decided to try graphing at the back of the stadium since it was so bad graphing in front of the stadium the night before. This was a wise decision. Derek Holland, Brandon Snyder and Roy Oswalt all walked out together and were looking for their car they were carpooling in. I politely asked Roy if he could sign my baseball for me and he was nice enough to sign my ROMLB on the SS. Roy pretty much ignored all autograph requests by fans during the week so I was shocked he signed for me, Benson and Scott. There was about a group of six of us and he only signed for us three since he was in a rush to leave the stadium.

Angels vs Rangers Pre Game 7-22-12 Recap

The goal today was getting Orel Hershiser's autograph. The game was being televised on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN so we knew that Orel and Terry Francona were going to be at the stadium today. Benson and I were hoping to catch them before they went into the stadium. To kill some time we decided to graph the Rangers again.

Travel days are usually the toughest days to graph since most of the players take the bus and get dropped off inside the stadium. If they do get dropped off outside the stadium then they usually carry their luggage around so they are less inclined to stop and sign.  

We did get lucky however as only about eight fans were waiting for the Rangers. Michael Young did stop and sign and was nice enough to sign my 2011 World Series baseball underneath the WS logo.

The next player to sign was Mike Napoli. I had Mike sign my 2012 Allen and Ginter Card.

After waiting around for Orel there was no sight of him. Thus I called it a day since I was tired from graphing all weekend long. I want to wish my friends Benson and Phil good luck as they are currently going to try getting Orel's autograph post game tonight.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Angels vs Orioles Pre Game 7-8-12

Even though I was tired as hell from the previous night I decided to graph the Angels and Orioles pre game. I figured this would be my last chance at getting Jim Palmer's autograph until next year so I had to give it one more shot. Plus there's going to be a long break from graphing especially since I will be out of town next weekend and the Angels aren't coming back in town until another two weeks.

Since we didn't expect any of the Orioles to sign since it was travel day Benson and I decided to hang out near the Angels parking lot to graph the Angels. We arrived early in the morning and surprisingly there were already about 15 fans waiting near the player parking lot. When you see that many people waiting this early it's bad news since most of the players won't stop to sign. Again it's the Pujols effect as there were never this amount of fans waiting for autographs pre-game at the stadium last year. Also today was photo day so that was another factor why there were so many fans waiting early in the morning.

The only Angels that did sign from the time I was waiting was Rob Picciolo and Bobby Wilson both of whom I don't have cards for so I passed on their autographs. Kendrick, Pujols, and Trumbo also drove in but didn't sign. Vernon Wells dropped off Chris Iannetta to pick up his car and they both rolled out and left not signing for anyone.

Benson and I decided to switch plans and walked back to the front of the stadium hoping to get Jim Palmer's autograph. This was the best decision as Jim walked in and signed for us. Jim was nice enough to sign my Hall of Fame ROMLB on the SS along with the "HOF 90" inscription.

Mission accomplished! What a great way to end the week of graphing.

Angels vs Orioles Game 7-7-12

I decided to spend the full day at Angel Stadium today to graph the Orioles today. Thanks to my friend Benson who is a season ticket holder for the Angels he had an extra ticket for me so I was able to attend the game.

The first Oriole to sign for us was Wilson Betemit who signed my 2011 Topps card which was given to me by my friend Scotty since I don't own any sets prior to the 2012 season except my 2011 Allen and Ginter set. Thanks again Scotty.

The next Oriole to sign is one of my favorite players, Mark Reynolds. Mark is cool about signing multiples for fans and is one of the nicer players you will meet. He signed four cards for me today and signed multiples for just about everyone who had cards for him to sign. I had him sign my 2011 Allen and Ginter, 2012 Topps Heritage, 2012 Gypsy Queen, and 2012 Topps Archives cards for me.

The next Oriole to sign was Matt Wieters who signed my ROMLB on the SS.

Following Wieters, Pedro Strop stopped and signed for the fans who recognized who he was. Thanks to Benson, who had an extra 2010 Upper Deck Pedro Strop card for me, I was able to get him to sign the card for me.

I was hoping to get Jim Palmer's autograph today but he signed yesterday so I didn't expect him to sign today. Sure enough he politely declined our autograph requests since he signed yesterday.

In game graphing has been relatively weird for me this year, experiencing the highs of getting Derek Jeter's autograph but also striking out completely and not getting any autographs during BP like when the Diamondbacks were in a town a few weeks ago. I normally do better during pre and post game graphing than during BP inside the stadium. I was also informed by the regulars who graph during BP that the ushers have been really strict on letting us hang out near the dugout especially if you don't have a ticket. Graphing has become a bit more difficult inside the stadium compared to last year since more fans are showing up to the games due to the entire Pujols effect as well.

Thus Benson and I decided to hang out near right field during BP to do some ballhawking and maybe get lucky and get a few of the Orioles pitchers to sign for us. Similar to the Diamonbacks series there wasn't much autographing going on so we devoted most of our time ballhawking during BP. I ended up with two baseballs.

During the tail end of BP we decided to try graphing near the Angels dugout area. As usual there was a huge crowd of newbie Angel fans trying to get autographs. Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout did sign but there were just too many people crowding them. Thus I struck out. I really wanted to get them to sign my 2012 All Star Baseball. Luckily I racked up on them last year so striking out wasn't a big deal. Hopefully i'll get them next time. I wonder where all these newbie fans were last year when the Angels were sucking. Oh how I miss the good old days.

The Angels ended up shutting out the Orioles 3-0 and Jered Weaver once again threw a gem. He is now 10-1 with a 1.96 ERA. I really hope he keeps it up and wins the Cy Young Award this year.

After the game Benson and I decided to try graphing the Orioles in the visitor's tunnel hoping to get Jim Thome's autograph. Jim signed the previous night for a few fans but one of the graphers ruined it for the rest of us tonight. Last night, as Jim was running with a black sharpie this fan complained when he signed his card in black saying he wanted it signed in blue. Jim responded by telling the fan that he should be happy just getting an autograph. Well fast forward to tonight. Jim once again walked out but saw the same fan who complained and said he signed for that particular fan last night so he politely declined signing for the rest of the fans tonight. I hate it when rude people ruin it for all of us.

Newbie graphers along with the idiots who ruin it for all of us need to read this post If everyone followed Matt's rules then this world would be a much happier place for graphers and we would all get our items signed.

Afterwards Chris Davis and Darren O'Day walked out of the tunnel together. What was funny was that Darren was riding out on a one wheeled segway called Solowheel. You can check out his twitter page since he has pictures of him riding around everywhere on that thing Darren O'Day. Now I want one of those. It looks fun and also can be beneficial when I graph at the stadium since I can ride on the Solowheel if I need to run from the front of the stadium to the back of the stadium. Since I didn't have any cards of him I had him sign my mini helmet.

Chris Davis signed my 2012 Topps Card.

That was pretty much it for graphing at the visitors tunnel so we walked over to the front of the stadium to hopefully get Brady Anderson's autograph or Buck Showalter's autograph since they are usually the last ones to leave. This is a perfect time when I could have used the Solowheel. When we walked back to the front of the stadium we found out that about five graphers ended up getting Jim Palmer to sign on the way out which is rare since he never signs coming out. Again we missed out on Jim Palmer. Hopefully i'll get him tomorrow. Otherwise i'll have to wait until next year.

Luckily Brady Anderson did walk out again and signed for us. He signed for fans three straight nights. Brady is a class act. I ended up getting Brady to sign my ROMLB on the SS. Brady has one of the coolest and longest signature ever as it wraps around almost the entire section of the baseball.

It was a long day of graphing, but I was happy with my results. Time to rest up.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Angels vs Orioles Post Game Graphing 7-6-12

It was relatively a slow night of graphing once again post game at Angel Stadium.

Steve Pearce was the first person to sign for me and since I didn't have a card I had him sign my Orioles mini helmet. Now I am running out of real estate for getting signatures for players I do not have cards for on this helmet.

The next players to sign were Wilson Betemit and Pedro Strop. The crew rolled out together again but Ronny Paulino didn't sign. I had Wilson Betemit sign my 2012 Topps card for me and I had Pedro Strop sign my mini helmet. Pedro was wearing his Texas Rangers ALCS championship ring today. I found that to be weird since he is now playing for the Orioles but nonetheless it was a nice ring.

The last Oriole to sign was Coach Showalter. I had Buck sign my mini helmet on the bill as shown in the first picture of this post.