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.