Sunday, September 30, 2012

Manny Mota Signing El Tepayac Cafe 9-30-12

Since I missed out on the Jonathan Quick signing and Viva Los Dodgers yesterday due to work I decided to go to the Manny Mota signing at El Tepayac Cafe. I haven't graphed in awhile since I shut it down for the baseball season last week so I figured I would go to this signing since I knew it would be low key. Plus it wasn't too far from my house. My goal was to get my 8x10 photo of Manny Mota signed along with a Dodgers 50th Anniversary ROMLB I got from BP this year.

El Tepayac Cafe was running a toy drive and for each toy donated Manny would sign one personal item for you or you can make a $10 donation. The signing was scheduled to take place between 6-8pm. I arrived at around 5:45pm and they were handing out tickets to get in line. I was the 15th person. When I arrived Manny was already inside the restaurant enjoying his dinner.

In the end there were about a total of 30 fans. Manny was nice enough to sign my photo along with my Dodgers 50th Anniversary ROMLB underneath the logo. He also posed for pictures for anyone who asked.

I wish all signings were this easy. I was in and out of there in less than an hour. I want to give a shoutout to my fellow graphers who were able to make it out to this signing including my friends Jerry, George and Eric. It's always fun to run into old friends at signings.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Angels vs White Sox Weekend Series Recap

Angels vs White Sox Post Game Graphing 9-21-12

The White Sox were in town for a three game series vs the Angels. As usual I decided to do some post game graphing after work to get a head start on graphing this weekend. The White Sox who are known for not being the best signing teams were surprisingly good as I got reports from graphers earlier in the day that Paul Konerko, Chris Sale and Kevin Youkilis signed pre game and during the game as well. I was hoping luck would fall on my side as well.

The first autograph I got was from Kevin Youkilis. Surprisingly he wasn't mobbed since most of the graphers didn't recognize him as he walked out of the front of the stadium. What threw everyone off was that he shaved his famous beard. A fellow grapher named David pointed him out for me so I was able to get Kevin Youkilis' autograph on my photo. Youkilis only ended up signing for me, David, Chase and Noah who are also the usual graphers at the stadium since nobody else recognized him. Since I heard that Youkilis doesn't sign on the sweetspot and gives out notoriously bad signatures in person I decided to go with a photo instead. I want to thank David again for the tip.

The next two players to walk out where Jake Peavy and Adam Dunn. The major shocker was that Adam Dunn signed which rarely happens. Peavy only ended up signing for one kid and refused all other autograph requests. This was the opposite from last year as Peavy signed for all of us and Adam rejected all autograph requests. Adam Dunn was kind enough to sign my ROMLB on the SS.

That was pretty much it for pre game graphing. Not a bad start to the series.

Angels vs White Sox Game 9-22-12

Benson and I both decided to skip the Mike Trout in store signing at appearance at the Oakley Store in Irvine Spectrum due to the chaos and madness we expected from the signing. My fellow graphers Ken and Ken Jr were both first in line and they waited for over 24 hours. What made us not go was the fact that Mike Trout was only signing a postcard photo provided by Oakley and didn't sign any outside items. Plus we weren't looking forward to camping out for 12 hours like the rest of the fans. I am hoping for a paid signing so I can finally get my Mike Trout jersey signed since I hate doing camp outs. I am just too old for that.

We decided to pre game graph the White Sox instead of going to the Trout signing. The first player to sign for was Alexei Ramirez who signed my 2012 Allen and Ginter Card.

Next up was Orlando Hudson who was kind enough to sign my 2011 Allen and Ginter Card.

Afterwards Dayan Viciedo signed two cards for me. Dayan is the best and always signs multiples.

Next up was Alex Rios who signed my photo for me. I love how the signature came out.

That was pretty much it for pre game graphing. I did miss out on getting Chris Sale as he stated to all of us that he would only sign for kids. Peavy was in a rush and signed a few so I missed out on him as well. I missed getting Gavin Floyd since I was getting Alex Rios' autograph first and Gavin left before I could get his autograph.

In game during BP the first player to sign for us was Addison Reed. Addison Reed belongs in the HOF of Graphing since he is the most generous signer. He is at the level of Justin Masterson and signs sheets of cards for fans. Addison and I share a mutual friend who happens to be my buddy Spencer whose brother used to play baseball with Addison. It helped to know a mutual friend since he signed multiple items for me but he even did that for strangers. My buddy Matt ended up getting 40 cards signed by Addison over the weekend. He was signing pages of cards for fans.

I ended up getting a photo with Addison and he was nice enough to sign three cards for me along with an 8x10 photo. The third card I got was the Bowman Platinum courtesy of my buddy Matt. Thanks again Matt for the card.

Here is a pic of me and Addison near right field

Now I just need to find an authentic jersey of Addison so I can get it signed next year.

I decided to hang out near the White Sox dugout to see if I could get Robin Ventura or Paul Konerko's autograph.

Robin Ventura ended up signing a few but I barely missed him. In the end he said he would only sign for kids. I had a photo for him to sign but I guess my day will come in the future. I wasn't too upset since he signed for me when the White Sox were in town earlier this season.

I was also in prime positioning near the dugout as Paul Konerko visited some friends. Initially he was hesitant about signing autographs but he broke down. However Paul said he would only sign for kids so I missed out on Paul. I was a bit disappointed since I really wanted Konerko's autograph. I believe that Paul will be a future HOFer one day and I hope to add his autograph to my collection.

What was funny was that a little girl asked Paul to sign on the sweetspot. I guess Paul knew the baseball wasn't for her but was for her father who sent her to get his autograph for him. Paul ended up signing the baseball on the reverse rawlings position. Then the girl started to complain. I guess players can even tell who the eBayers are. LOL.

That was pretty much it for graphing during BP. I decided to take some photos. Jered Weaver won the Nick Adenhart Award today and Mike Trout was voted as the Angels Team MVP so both players were awarded tropies.

I also took some photos of Youkilis practicing his famous swing.

The good news was that the Angels beat the White Sox 4-2. The Angels pretty much have to win out in order to secure a wild card spot. Hopefully they can pull it off this year.

For post game graphing Kevin Youkilis was the first one to walk out again. Unlike the previous night where he left unnoticed, he was mobbed tonight. Kevin initially didn't sign but finally broke down as he was waiting for a cab to pick him up. I figured his autograph will look even more terrible than the night before thus I decided to get a card signed instead. I really wanted to get a baseball signed by him but I didn't want to risk wasting a ball and getting a sloppy autograph like the night when I got Jose Valverde to sign my baseball. Kevin signed my 2011 Allen and Ginter card. I really hope one day he does a paid signing since I really want to get a baseball signed by Youkilis with a high quality signature.

As I was walking back I saw a crowd forming around Orlando Hudson. O-Dog make a funny comment as he was signing saying that "you guys have more money than I do." Last I checked he is making $5.5 million dollars this year. I am not sure if any of the other graphers or if all of us combined ever made that kind of money. I guess he was making a jab at the eBayers. Who knows but he sure has a weird sense of humor. O-Dog was still in good spirits and was nice enough to sign two cards for me. Only one is pictured here since I gave one away to Benson since he missed out on getting O-Dog's autograph today.

The next player to sign for us was the losing pitcher Jose Quintana. I was shocked but not too surprised he signed. I've had previous encounters with him before and he was always nice to the graphers. He mentioned to us that his hand was sore and couldn't sign too much tonight but he ended up signing for anyone who asked. Since I didn't have a card for him I prepared a photo for him to sign.

The last player to sign for us was AJ Pierzynski who signed my 2012 Topps Heritage Card. AJ has a weird way of signing as he literally turns the card sideways and signs away. His signature is rushed and is inconsistent. We compared each autograph he signed that night and there was no consistency. I guess he just wrote scribbles for everyone. I am happy I didn't drop a baseball on him. Otherwise I would have ended up with another sloppy signed baseball.

I wish more players would take pride in their signatures especially since they are famous. I wish more players were like Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer who give out the most beautiful signatures. Players with sloppy rushed signatures need to attend the School of Harmon Killebrew.

Angels vs White Sox Game 9-23-12

I was originally planning on not attending this game but thanks to my friend Mike who had an extra tickets for me and Benson we were able to attend the game. Our original plan was to pre game the Angels then go for breakfast and watch football all day since it was Sunday. Thanks again for the tickets Mike.

This was pretty much the last day of graphing for me this baseball season unless the Angels reach the playoffs. I don't plan on graphing the Angels vs Mariners series this week. Thus it was my last shot at getting Angels autographs and my goal which was to get my recently acquired Vernon Wells Toronto Blue Jays jersey signed.

I guess everyone else had the same thing in mind as there was about 25 fans waiting near the Angels parking lot at 7:45 AM. Normally there are about 10 people if you ever graph the Angels pre game on a Sunday. Due to the high volume of fans not many players signed. Jerome Williams, LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Downs were the only players to sign autographs. I had nothing for all three players but thanks to my friend Scotty who had an extra Scott Downs card I was able to get a 2011 Topps Scott Downs card signed. Thanks again Scotty for the card.

That was it for pregame graphing. When we entered the stadium there wasn't much action. I did end up getting two baseballs during warmups; one from Brian Omogrosso and the other from Dayan Viciedo. Two tossups on a Sunday with no BP. Not a bad day for ballhawking.

Chris Sale ended up signing for three fans and skipped me. It was much easier to get him last year when he wasn't an All Star. I miss the good old days.

As usual Addison Reed came out and signed for fans as he was meeting up with family and friends. I decided to use the baseball I got from Brian Omogrosso and had Addison sign the ROMLB on the SS for me. Thanks for being awesome Addison.

That was it for graphing. Luckily the Angels swept the White Sox and won 4-1 keeping their playoff hopes alive. I ended up post game graphing the Angels hoping to get Vernon to sign my jersey but none of the players stopped to sign.

Hopefully this isn't the end of the season for the Angels. If the Angels make the playoffs I hope to be graphing during the post season. If this was my last day of graphing baseball for the season it was an wonderful year filled with great memories. It's always bittersweet when the season ends. What I will miss the most is not only the thrill of the chase but also the friendships you make with the fellow graphers. It was overall a great year. I want to give a shout out to all my fellow graphers this year including Benson, Phil, Eric, Josh, Alex, Nancy, Keith, Scott, Scotty, Matt C, "Dan Haren" Matt, Spencer, Noah, Laurie, Mike, Greg, Marty, Laurence, Bruce, Moe, Ken, Ken Jr, Steven, Joe S, Pastor Jim, James and the rest of the graphers. Sorry if I left anyone out.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nomar Garciaparra

I decided to do some post game graphing yesterday at Angel Stadium when I found out that Nomar Garciaparra was in town as an analyst for ESPN Wednesday Night Baseball. I missed out on getting Nomar's autograph last time he visited Angel Stadium for a game when the Angels were facing the Yankees. My goal tonight was to get my Authentic 2006 Dodgers Nomar Garciaparra jersey signed as well as a ROMLB.

I waited patiently with my friend James at the back of the stadium to wait for Nomar. Benson decided to go to the front of the stadium to get his Ryan Dempster jersey signed since he already got Nomar's autograph the last time Nomar was at the stadium.

There was about four of us waiting for Nomar which was great since your odds of getting an autograph gets much better if there are less people waiting. James wasn't interested in getting Nomar's autograph since he mainly collects NBA autographs so he helped me get an extra baseball signed. As soon as Nomar walked out of the media trailers I approached him and asked him politely to sign my jersey for me. He asked me for my name and was nice enough to personalize the autograph for me on the jersey. He signed it "To David All My Best, Nomar Garciaparra #5" but I wish he would have spaced the autograph out more. He somehow scrunched the entire inscription and autograph in the middle of the number five. Overall though I was happy since I ended up getting my jersey signed. I had this jersey since 2006 back when the Dodgers didn't have player names on the back of the jersey so it's always nice to complete a project.

I thanked Nomar for personalizing my jersey. It's always cool when the players take the extra time to personalize. Nomar ended up signing a ROMLB for James and after he finished signing for the rest of the fans I asked him to sign a baseball for me as well. Nomar was nice enough to sign my ROMLB on the SS.

I want to thank James again for getting me an extra baseball signed by Nomar.

Although most fans will associate Nomar having his best years as a member of the Boston Red Sox, he was part of Dodger history as well. He was responsible for hitting a walk off HR for the Dodgers in the 10th inning on September 18, 2006 which was one of the most memorable comebacks in Dodger history. This was the game where the Dodgers hit four consecutive home runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie the Padres and Nomar hit the walk off game winning home run in the 10th inning to win it for the Dodgers. Check out the highlight video below

Here is a picture of Nomar after the walk off HR.

I can't believe it's been six years since that highlight. Afterwards James and I went over to the front of the stadium to meet up with Benson. Unfortunately not many of the Rangers walked out through the front of the stadium similar to the previous night where we got shut out. The only player to walk out while I was in the back of the stadium getting Nomar's autograph was Roy Oswalt who ignored all autograph requests.

The only player to sign walking out was Colby Lewis who signed my 2011 Allen and Ginter Card.

That was pretty much it. Getting Nomar Garciaparra's autograph finally just made my night.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Angels vs A's Series Recap

Angels vs A's Post Game Graphing Part 1

The Oakland A's were in town again so I decided to do some post game graphing. My goal was to get a couple of photos signed by the A's and possibly get Yoenis Cespedes' autograph on a photo as well. Ever since he decided to change into a short handed signature I decided that I would get photos or cards signed instead of baseballs. Personally I don't like how his new signature looks.

As soon as the game ended I noticed Jim Edmonds walking out of the front gates. He was at the game as a spectator and was walking out just like any other average fan at a baseball game with no security around him. I regret not bringing my Gold Glove baseball since it would have been nice to get him to sign that. Nonetheless you can never get enough of Jim Edmonds so I had him sign an ROMLB on the SS. This was my second time getting Jim's autograph this year and it was a pleasant surprise to see him again.

The next player to sign for me was Collin Cowgill who signed my 2012 Topps card.

The next two players to sign were Tom Milone and Jarrod Parker who both walked out together with their significant others. Tom Milone is the best when it comes to signing since he is one of the nicer guys who signs multiples. Tom was nice enough to sign a photo as well as a 2012 Allen and Ginter card for me. Jarrod was strictly one per and he signed my 2012 Heritage card.

Next up was Tyson Ross who never denies an autograph request. Tyson is another nice player in person and he signed a photo for me as well.

Following Tyson, Grant Balfour walked out and also signed for the fans. He was nice enough to sign my 2012 Topps card for me.

Finally the last person to walk out was Chili Davis. During the last series vs the A's Chili would walk out with Yoenis every night. Chili is usually the last A's player or coach to leave the stadium. Once Chili walks out it pretty much means the night is over in terms of graphing. As usual Chili was giving all the fans a hard time about signing in a joking way like he always does. Initially he told everyone he would only sign for A's fans. Since he saw me in my A's Dallas Braden shirt he summoned me over all the other graphers and signed my 1989 Topps card for me courtesy of my friend Matt who hooked me up with the card. Afterwards he signed for the rest of the group.

Sadly there was no sign of Yoenis Cespedes. During the first series he would sign for the fans walking into and out of the stadium and he would sign using his full signature. Now he is on another level and thus I don't see that ever happening again. The good old days are over.

Angels vs A's Post Game Graphing Part 2

The second night of post game graphing was terrible. I ended up getting two total cards signed, one from Daric Barton and the other from George Kottaras.

There were other players who signed such as Ryan Cook, Tom Milone, and Derrek Norris but I didn't have anything for them to sign. I decided I wasn't going to make the same mistake so I decided to develop some photos for those guys for the following night. I was just happy I didn't strike out.

Angels vs A's Pre/Post Game Graphing Part 3

Since I had an unexpected day off from work I decided to head out to the stadium for some pre game graphing of the Angels. Since I rarely devote time to the Angels when it comes to in person stadium graphing I decided to graph the Angels along with the A's today for pre game graphing.

Within five minutes of my arrival at the stadium Torii Hunter stopped and signed for the five graphers waiting near the Angels parking lot. I had Torii sign my Rawlings Gold Glove baseball on the SS.

While Torii was signing for us Albert Pujols drove by but nobody stopped him or asked him to sign since everyone was getting an autograph from Torii. Thus we missed out on a chance to get Albert's autograph.

There wasn't much action going on at the Angels parking lot. The only other player to sign for us was Kole Calhoun but I didn't have anything for him to sign for me so I didn't get his autograph.

I did however get a free Mike Trout photo courtesy of a fellow grapher who was waiting with me. He actually personally took the photo by himself when he was at the Angels vs Yankees game at Yankees Stadium. I simply love the vintage look. Hopefully I can get this photo signed one day.

I decided to head out to the front of the stadium to see if I could get some autographs from the A's players. Cris Carter and Jonny Gomes signed coming in but I didn't have anything for them. The only autograph I got was from Daric Barton who signed my 2012 Topps Card.

That was pretty much in for pre game graphing. Since I was tired I went home and took a break.

I decided to come back to the stadium once the game was over. I still had a few more photos to get signed from Tom Milone, Ryan Cook, and Derek Norris.

The first player to sign for us post game was Jarrod Parker who signed my 2012 Gypsy Queen card.

Next up was good old Tom Milone who signed another photo for me.

The biggest surprise of the night was Josh Reddick who normally gets escorted by security and rarely signs. I got his autograph once before when the A's were in town during the beginning of the season but today we got lucky thanks to my friend Kyle who was commissioned to do a painting for Josh. Thanks to Kyle, Josh stopped and signed for us. I had Josh sign a ROMLB I got from BP courtesy of Hanley Ramirez at Dodger Stadium on the SS and my 2012 Gypsy Queen card.

Here is a picture of Kyle with Josh and his painting.

The next duo of player to walk out were Ryan Cook and Derek Norris who both signed photos for me. Ryan was nice enough to add the inscription "2012 All Star" on his photo.

The last player to walk out was the winning pitcher of the night AJ Griffin. About 25 members of his family and friends were waiting for him outside the stadium to congratulate him on his victory. He was in a good mood since he got another victory so he was hugging all of his family and friends. He even gave me a hug as well when I asked him for an autograph. AJ is simply a cool guy and he is off to a great start to his MLB career going 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA. Since I didn't have a card ready for him I had him sign a ticket stub from the game courtesy of my friend Mike who let me keep one of his extra ticket stubs from the game. Thanks Mike.