Wednesday, August 29, 2012

8-28-12 Angels vs Red Sox Post Game Graphing

Tonight was another night of misadventures in graphing. I sort of expected this since we are talking about the Red Sox here so I didn't expect much.

I got a tip from a fellow grapher that Clay Buchholz and John Lackey drove in together at the back of the stadium. Thus Ryan, Benson and I decided to wait in the back of the stadium. There wasn't much action going on in the back and security informed us that he didn't see any players walking in today and that most of them took the bus. Ryan and I decided to go to the front instead while Benson stayed back since he noticed that Jose Iglesias' friend was waiting for him as well. This proved to be a major mistake on our part as I will explain later.

In the front the first Red Sox player to walk out was Pedro Ciriaco who big leagued us and didn't sign. I figured this was a sign of things to come since even a scrub for the Red Sox didn't sign for us. Luckily I didn't have anything for him to sign.

The first player to sign for me was Ryan Lavarnway who signed my 2012 Gypsy Queen card. I was the only one who noticed who he was. Ryan was with his family and was carrying food. He signed just for me and told everyone he had to go since he was with his family. I guess it helped that I recognized who he was and I wore my Red Sox gear today.

I was happy I got my one and didn't strike out tonight. Next up was Vincente Padilla who signed my Red Sox team card. Sadly I didn't have any cards for him either so the team card will do.

Afterwards Ryan Kalish signed for all of us. He was extremely nice and stopped to sign for all of us while he was waiting for his friends to pick him up from the stadium.

The last member of the Red Sox to sign was Coach Bobby Valentine. Since I didn't have anything for him to sign my friend Greg gave me a card. Thanks Greg.

Afterwards I met up with Benson and found out that Clay Buchholz and Mark Melancon signed in the back. Clay signed for all the fans waiting for him. John Lackey ended up signing for one kid. Ryan and I both should have waited in the back.

8-27-12 Yasiel Puig

Since this was the last home stand for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes this year I decided to attend the Quakes vs San Jose Giants game after work. My goal was to get Yasiel Puig's autograph since I knew this might be my best shot at getting his autograph before he gets sent up to double or triple A baseball next year. If you don't know who Yasiel Puig is you can read about him here.

As soon as I got out of work I headed straight to the stadium. I arrived around 5:30pm and the stadium was really empty. The game was scheduled to start at 7:05 and they let fans in 1 hour before the game. If this game was held at any MLB ballpark there would be hundreds of fans waiting in line to get inside.

After I bought my game ticket I noticed a fellow grapher waiting near the player parking lot. He informed me that Yasiel and a few of the Quakes players went out to get food so he would be coming back soon. He ended up getting Yasiel to sign a photo for him. Thus I waited until Yasiel came back. At around 6pm Yasiel finally came back to the stadium and signed my ROMLB on the SS with the "Dodgers" inscription. Yasiel was also nice enough to take a photo with me as well. As you can see I literally drove to the stadium straight after work since I still have my scrubs on.

After I got Yasiel's autograph I went inside the stadium and took some photos. You can see how empty the place is. It's simply awesome for graphing and ballhawking since the stadium is really empty.

During warmups while I was waiting near the Quakes dugout, I convinced Alexis Aguilar to toss me a baseball.

I decided to wait for Yasiel again to get another baseball signed. I needed another ROMLB signed for my friend Benson who couldn't make it out today to graph with me at the Quakes game. Yasiel was being interviewed by a reporter and his translator was assisting Yasiel throughout the process.

Afterwards Yasiel took my baseball and pen to the dugout and ended up signing my second ball of the day. After signing he literally walked over to me and handed me the baseball. This one was for Benson.

Then he took a break in signing. A few moments later he started to sign again for the fans. A grapher next to me didn't have anything for Yasiel to sign so he helped me get my Dodgers 50th ball (from Dodger stadium BP earlier this year) signed. He asked him to sign underneath the logo but I don't think he understood. Thus Yasiel accidentally side panelled the baseball.

Since Yasiel was in a good mood I decided to ask him for one last autograph to get my Cal League baseball I just got from Alexis Aguilar signed.

I wish players in the MLB were nice as the guys in the minors. They can learn a thing or two. I ended up getting four baseballs signed by Yasiel today.

As I was about to leave I noticed that Tommy Lasorda was in attendance near the homeplate seats. Tommy was signing autographs for fans at the end of each inning. Thus I went over and got in line. I've had Tommy sign for me twice in the past, once at a Quakes game last year and the other time at a car dealership this year. Since I already had two baseballs signed I decided to get another one signed by Tommy for my buddy Benson who never got Tommy's autograph before. All I had were ROMLBs in my backpack so I ended up getting Tommy to sign a ROMLB on the SS.

Afterwards I decided to take some photos of Yasiel batting before I left the stadium

Sunday, August 26, 2012

8-25-12 Under Armour Elite 24 Game

Today I attended the 7th Annual Under Armour Elite 24 Game featuring the top 24 high school basketball players in the nation. The game was held at Venice Beach at 4pm and was televised live on ESPN-U. This was my second time going to the game and it's one of my favorite basketball events. You can read the recap on last year's game here.

Benson and I arrived at the event around 3pm and the court was already filled to capacity.

It was tough finding an open seat. While we were looking for seats Greivis Vasquez walked right by me. Since I didn't have anything for him to sign I had him sign an official program of the Elite 24 game.

Before the game began I walked over to Kyrie Irving and had him sign a basketball for me.

He was sitting down in the bench area and the signature came out great. Kyrie ended up signing for about five fans until security told us to go back to our seats since the game was about to start. Here are some photos of the game.

At halftime I decided to try to get my photo signed by Kyrie as well. Initially he told us he would sign after the game but he ended up changing his mind and signed for us at halftime. Luckily I was able to get him to use my pen because afterwards he started to run with a dead silver sharpie and he was rushing all of his signatures.

Derrick Williams and DeAndre Jordan also signed photos for me as well during halftime.

Kenyon Martin who was a surprise guest and also signed. Since I didn't have anything for Kenyon to sign I used the free white panel mini basketball I got from the Metro PCS Mitch Richmond signing earlier this year. However he signed my mini basketball on the wrong spot.

After the game was finished I ended up getting Julius Randle to sign my Elite 24 basketball with the MVP inscription and Aaron Gordon to sign my program.

Outside of the basketball courts I ran into Derrick Williams and got another photo signed. Here is another project I am starting. It will be tough to get Rubio and Love on this photo.

I also ran into Brandon Jennings as well and he was nice enough to sign a photo for me.

Overall the Elite 24 game was a fun experience and I plan on attending next year as well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

8-22-12 Nomomania!!!!!!

Thanks to a last minute tip from my friend Josh I was able to meet Hideo Nomo, who is one of my all time favorite players in MLB history. Hideo Nomo is a pioneer for Asian baseball players in major league baseball as he started the wave of Asian players to move to the states to play in the major leagues. Had it not been Nomo's success on the diamond, players like Ichiro, Matsui and Darvish may have not had a chance to play in major league baseball today.

Hideo Nomo was a coach for team Japan in the USA vs Japan Junior High School Baseball Games at the Urban Youth Academy Baseball Field. Shigetoshi Hasegawa was the coach for the USA team. As I got out of work my buddy Josh ended up texting me details of this game. Initially I was hesitant since the game was held all the way out in Compton and I wasn't sure if I would make it on time. Plus there was no guarantee that Hideo Nomo would sign autographs. Since I collect autographs of Asian MLB players it was worth the risk, thus this was an event I had to attend. Plus this may be my only chance to get Hideo Nomo's autograph since he is very elusive.

I arrived at the baseball field around 7pm and the game already started. Admission was $10 thus  indirectly this was a paid signing.

When I arrived I met up with Josh and Mike who were already at the game. Josh and Mike were able to get Hideo Nomo's autograph before the game which was a good sign since he did sign a few for the fans. Josh was lucky enough to even get a photo op with Nomo. Benson and I arrived about the same time so we missed out on getting Nomo's autograph pregame.

I decided to take some game photos to pass the time. The kids on team Japan and USA were extremely talented and I could picture some of these kids to play professionally in the future.

I took a picture of an interesting sign. I never knew baseball could be so dangerous. Check it out below.

The USA team ended up beating Japan after they rallied from 3 runs down in the 7th inning and ended up winning the game 7-6.  After the game both teams were on the field as they congratulated each other and each player was awarded a medal. They also took team photos.

While Hideo Nomo was being interviewed by media I decided to get Shigetoshi Hasegawa's autograph. Shigetoshi was nice enough to sign my ROMLB on the SS and he also took a photo with me as well. I was happy I got at least one autograph since I knew I wouldn't be going home empty handed. There was no guarantee at that point I would also get Nomo's autograph. I want to thank Roberto for taking the photo below for me.

After Hideo finished his interview with the media he came over to us and signed. Nomo didn't sign on the sweet spot for anyone even when requested. He barely spoke English and even brought a translator with him so I had to ask him in Japanese for a signature. I was just happy he didn't run with a sharpie and he switched pens as he signed for one fan to another. I was happy just to get his autograph on my baseball since his autograph has been a holy grail of mine for quite some time. Nomo rarely signs nor does he have public autograph appearances. Plus I'm always happy when I can add to my Asian MLB player autograph collection.

I want to thank my friend Josh again for the last minute tip on Nomo and Hasegawa. Time to sleep.