8-3-12 Dodgers vs Cubs
Since I was able to get out of work early today I decided to go to the Dodgers vs Cubs game with the goal of getting autographs from two of the newest members of the Dodgers; Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino. This was a last minute decision so I had to pick up my tickets after work through Stubhub and I asked my friend Alex who is a season ticket holder to the Dodgers to see if he had an extra MVP pass available for me so I could enter the stadium 3 hours before the game started. Luckily Alex did have an extra pass so I ended up meeting him at the stadium at 4pm. Here is how the stadium looked like when we entered.
Tonight was Star Trek night at Dodger Stadium and William Shatner was scheduled to throw out the first pitch. Here is a picture of Shatner throwing out the first pitch.
Dodger season ticket holders have it good this year. I wish more teams would provide the same benefits for being season ticket holders like what the Dodgers do for their fans. While watching the Dodgers warm up I noticed that Ted Lilly was standing near the Dodger bullpen. Since Lilly is currently injured he wasn't participating in any drills. I decided to go up to Ted and ask him for an autograph. Ted was nice as usual and signed my photo for me. I was surprised more fans didn't go up to him and ask for an autograph as it was just me and another fan who got her hat signed by him.
The next Dodger to sign for us was Rick Honeycutt. I didn't have anything for him to sign but luckily my friend Josh was there with me and had an extra card for me. Thanks Josh for the Honeycutt card. Josh also had an extra Rick Honeycutt card for Alex as well. Rick was nice enough to sign my 1983 Topps card courtesy of Josh. Coach Honeycutt made a funny comment while signing for us asking us if his cards were a stadium giveaway since it looked like everyone had a card for him to sign today.
The next player to sign for me was Matt Guerrier. Again I didn't have a card for him but luckily my friend Josh had an extra card for me. Matt was hanging out near the Dodger bullpen near the area Ted Lilly was hanging out at. Since he is currently injured he was a spectator as well and wasn't warming up at all. Matt was nice enough to sign his 2010 Topps card for me courtesy of Josh.
There wasn't much action going on afterwards so I decided to take more pictures of the players warming up. Here is a photo of Matt Kemp playing catch with Andre Ethier.
And another photo of the newest Dodger Shane Victorino
After Matt and Andre finished playing catch, Matt tossed the ball towards me and Josh. Josh ended up catching the baseball. Here is the picture of the Matt Kemp/Andre Ethier baseball.
Soon afterwards Shane Victorino tossed a ball toward our direction and a fan near us dropped the ball and it landed back on the field. A cameraman walked by and tossed the ball to us instead. The baseball was clean. I asked Josh if he wanted to trade the clean baseball for the Kemp/Ethier ball which he agreed to do so since wanted the cleaner ball for autographing purposes. Thanks for the trade Josh. I like to collect BP baseballs with a lot of game use containing grass and mud stains. The uglier they look the better to me since I collect them. I think that gives the baseballs more character. If they are toss ups from famous players then there is more incentive for me to collect them as well. Maybe i'll get the baseball signed by both Kemp and Ethier one day.
After about an hour we decided to line up in Section 27 in the autograph aisle near the Dodger dugout. The staff lets about 25 fans per group enter on the field area to get autographs and they usually allow about four groups per game. I was in the center of the autograph area which is basically a small square near the Dodger Dugout. This wasn't the best position to get autographs since you need to maneuver your way through to access the players when signing. Luckily my friend Junior was with me and he was in prime autograph position near the top edge of the square. Junior ended up getting Hanley Ramirez' attention by ask him in Spanish to sign a photo showing his niece and Hanley together. Players are usually more inclined to give you a better signature especially when it's a personal item since they know those autographs aren't going straight to ebay to be sold for a profit. Hanley came over to sign for my friend Junior. Junior allowed me to step right next to him and I handed Hanley a ROMLB. Hanley was nice enough to sign my ROMLB on the SS.
Thanks again Junior for helping me on that one. There was a bit of chaos since Shane Victorino was also signing the same time as Hanley. After getting Hanley's autograph I handed Shane a Dodgers 50th Anniversary baseball and politely asked him to sign it underneath the Dodgers 50th logo. Shane replied back and said "I don't sign there" and he immediately turned by baseball over and signed it in the reverse Rawlings position. WTF?? I was in more shock than anything else. This is Shane Victorino we are talking about, not a 10X all star Yankee Hall of Famer with a Steiner Sports contract. You would figure Shane would be more fan friendly especially since he just joined the Dodgers and this would be a perfect time to win the fans over. I didn't even ask for a sweet spot so that shocked me a bit. Shane big leagued everyone today since he signed every baseball in the reverse Rawlings position. I'm happy I got his autograph but I regret wasting a Dodgers 50th baseball on him. I wish I used a BP baseball instead. Had I known this I would have instead had him sign a card for me. I hope autograph karma doesn't come back to haunt Shane for the rest of the year. Oh wells. If anyone is interested in a signed reverse Rawlings Dodgers 50th Anniversary ball for trade let me know.
After getting Shane's autograph I got back in line to join the 2nd group. Andre Ethier, Tim Wallach and James Loney signed for us. I didn't even see Loney sign since I was busy getting Andre's autograph and Tim Wallach's autograph. Loney only signed a few. I had Andre and Coach Wallach sign a photo for me. Coach Wallach made a funny comment stating that he regrets having that mullet shown in the picture I had him sign. In reply I told him that it was fashionable to have a mullet back in the day and that he looked cool rocking the mullet.
Afterwards I got back in line and was able to make it to the fourth group. Both the third and fourth group had no action in terms of autographing since most of the Dodgers were already in the clubhouse. I did take a picture of UFC legend Dan Henderson since he was standing right next to us.
While I was in the autograph area my friend Junior called me over trying to tell me that Don Newcombe was signing. I looked over his direction and noticed that Don Newcombe was signing for a few fans behind the Dodger dugout. I rushed out and ended up going over to Don Newcombe to get an autograph. As he was about to sign for me his wife aka his agent gave me a mean look and said Don is done signing for everyone. Don's wife is notorious for being mean to graphers since she assumes that graphers will sell Newcombe's autograph on ebay for a profit. She told me "I am not only Don's wife but also his agent and when I say he cannot sign he can't sign." To me it wasn't a big deal since I've been able to get Newcombe's autograph at a paid signing at Frank and Son's before but she was really rude about it which is what annoyed me. I hope she doesn't treat Don disrespectfully like that at home like she does to all of his fans. It looks as though she controls him though. I feel bad for the guy.
Afterwards Ron Cey walked by to talk to his family and friends. After he was done chatting it up I asked him to my my Dodgers 50th baseball underneath the logo.
That was pretty much it for pre game autographs at the stadium. I was happy with my results today. I did try to get Fernando Valenzuela's autograph at the press box but he only signed for one kid as he left the stadium. The good news is the Dodgers ended up beating the Cubs 6-1.
Since it was fireworks night it was a perfect time to graph the Cubs post game. The first player we saw was Tony Campana. He was on the phone the entire time and was looking for someone. Thus he didn't sign for anyone. Next up was Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro who both walked out together. As soon as Alfonso started signing everyone mobbed him so I instead asked Starlin Castro for an autograph. Starlin was nice and signed my ROMLB on the SS.
The next player to sign was Anthony Rizzo who signed for a few kids wearing Cubs gear. He denied all the adults who asked for his autograph.
Afterwards Chris Volstad signed my 2012 Topps card for me.
The last player to sign was David DeJesus who signed my 2011 Allen and Ginter card for me.
Overall it was a long but great day of graphing. I want to thank Alex again for letting me use his MVP pass, Josh for hooking me up with cards and the trade for the Kemp/Ethier baseball, and Junior for helping me get Hanley Ramirez' autograph today. It was fun as usual.