Thursday, August 16, 2012

8-12-12 Mariners Pre Game/Drew League Championship Game

Since I won two free tickets from AM830 Benson and I decided to go to the stadium for some pregame graphing. Today was going to be a long day since we also planned to attend the Drew League Championship Game in Los Angeles.

When we arrived inside the stadium only a few Mariners were out in right field warming up. As soon as I entered the stadium I realized I forgot my glove. Although it's Sunday and there is no BP I always try to bring a glove inside for ballhawking purposes. Since I didn't have a glove Benson let me borrow his glove since he felt I had a better chance at getting a baseball from one of the Mariners especially since I was decked out in Mariners gear again.

Benson was correct as I was given a warm up baseball from Lucas Luetge which I gave away to Benson for letting me borrow his glove. The only two players to sign for the fans today were surprisingly Hisashi Iwakuma and Munenori Kawasaki. As most graphers know, Japanese players are the toughest autographs to get since they rarely sign. Coincidentally both players signed on Sundays back when I visited Seattle in Safeco Field and today when they signed at Angel Stadium. I ended up getting Hisashi Iwakuma to sign my 2012 Allen and Ginter rookie card.

I ended up passing on getting Kawasaki's autograph since he was running with a black sharpie. I had a photo which had a dark background for him to sign. Plus I already got his autograph twice this year.

Afterwards Benson and I drove out to LA for the Drew League Championship Game.

The Drew League is one of the best pro am basketball leagues in the country. What I love about the Drew League is the intimate atmosphere you have with the NBA players. Nothing is gated off and there is no security to stop you from getting autographs from the players. Plus the players even sit in the stands to watch the game as well. Every seat in the house is great since it's held in a tiny gym.

My goal was to get a pair of John Wall shoes signed today. I've had this pair for several months now waiting for it to get signed so I can add it to my shoe/basketball collection. Benson and I waited outside near the players entrance/parking lot so we could get the players coming in.

The first player to sign for us was Tayshaun Prince. He was grumpy as usual just like my previous encounters with him. He always gives you a sloppy autograph as well. As he was signing he made a rude comment to us saying "You guys always camping out for autographs." Tayshaun came over to watch the championship game just like any other basketball fan. I had Tayshaun sign a Panini Adrenalyn XL card. Word of advice never have Tayshaun sign a basketball. You will regret it.

The next player to sign was Austin Daye. Just like Tayshaun he was also in attendance to watch the game. Austin was cool as usual just like my previous encounters with him and he signed my photo for me.

Here is a picture of Tayshaun wearing a white shirt sitting in the stands and Austin walking right by wearing a grey tank top. What's cool about the Drew League is that NBA players sit next to you in the stands. That never happens anywhere else.

The next player to walk in was John Wall. John was really nice and he signed both pairs of my shoes for me. Finally my basketball/shoe collection is complete. John signed a basketball for me last year during the Drew vs Goodman League game at Long Beach State.

The last player to sign pregame was Dorell Wright who signed my 8x12 photo for me.

Overall it was a fantastic start since we got most of the NBA players to sign for us today. JR Smith signed for Benson as well but I didn't have an item for him to sign. The only player not to sign was Taj Gibson since he had to get ready for the game. However Taj was very polite about declining our autograph request.

The championship game featured Team Money Gang which comprised of NBA players Demar Derozan, John Wall, JR Smith, and Terrence Williams and the rapper The Game versus LAUNFD which comprised of NBA players Jordan Hamilton, Taj Gibson and Bobby Brown. Team LAUNFD were back to back champs coming into this game but they were considered the underdogs since Team Money Gang was stacked with NBA players.

The entire game was exciting as LAUNFD beat Team Money Gang 136-135 in double overtime. John Wall actually hit a game winning layup a second after time expired. LAUNFD barely beat Team Money Gang which sealed their 3-peat Championship.

After the game Taj Gibson signed my 2010 Upper Deck card courtesy of Benson.

Overall it was a long but productive day of graphing. Sadly the Drew League season is over but I can't wait to attend more Drew League games next year.

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