There were about 20 fans already waiting outside of ESPN Zone. I ran into the usual graphers including Scotty, Tyler, Jose, Joe, and Kyle who are regulars at Angel Stadium so it was a nice reunion to see them again during the off season. There wasn't much action going on and the staff of the ESPN Zone were setting up the event. Benson arrived shortly afterwards which was a surprise since I didn't expect him to be graphing today since he is sick with the flu. It's always nice to graph with friends since there is a lot of downtime when graphing and time passes by much faster when you are chilling with friends.
We knew the press conference was official when we saw an employee from the Angels bring in Josh Hamilton's Angel jersey.
I need to buy an Authentic Hamilton Angels jersey one day. Josh arrived early at around 10:30am. He stopped for one fan who is actually an artist and signed for him. My buddy Kyle Morrisey created another masterpiece painting for Josh which caught Josh's attention. He stopped and signed for Kyle.
Josh promised us that he would sign for us later and walked inside ESPN Zone. We expected him to sign after the press conference but he came back out after five minutes and signed down the line posing for pictures and interacting with fans. He literally signed for about 20 minutes signing multiple items for everyone. My buddy Tyler ended up getting 8 cards signed and anyone who gave him cards got their entire sheet of cards signed. Since I never got his autograph before I ended up getting a baseball signed.
My first signature came out a bit sloppy. I guess Josh was a bit confused when he was inscribing the bible verse 2 Peter 3:18 since he wrote 1 Peter 3:28. He scribbed it off then wrote over his mistake as you can see from my baseball. I wonder if he had a mental lapse there or just flat out forgot.
I guess that gives the ball some character but condition is everything to me so I ended up getting a second baseball signed by Josh. Josh was cool about it since he knew most of the fans were double and even triple dipping at this time. He'd make the remark "didn't get get you before" with a smirk and a laugh and if u were honest with him he was cool about signing another item.
Here is a picture of the second baseball I got signed. It looks much better than the first one with the scribbles.
Afterwards he went inside as the press conference started. Other notable Angels in attendance were Jerry Dipoto, Mike Scioscia, Mark Langston and Bobby Grich. Surprisingly none of the current player showed up. We expected some of the current players to show up to support Josh but surprisingly they didn't.
We waited outside until about 1:30 and few of the members of the Angels organization were leaving including Arte Moreno and Mike Scioscia. We got tired of waiting and were getting hungry so Benson and I ended up getting lunch at Earl of Sandwich which possibly has the best tuna melt sandwich in the world. We were content on getting our autographs today so we didn't want to wait any longer for Josh since we didn't expect him to sign again coming out since he signed for at least 100 fans before the press conference.
At about 2pm we left and headed back toward ESPN Zone to check if any fans were still waiting for Josh Hamilton. As we walked toward ESPN Zone we noticed that Josh Hamilton was signing again and there was larger crowd this time filled with fans who missed out on him in the morning and also the fans who stayed back to get more autographs.
I decided to get my 2010 All Star Louisville Slugger bat signed. The crowd was larger than what it was in the morning. Luckily my friends Laurie and her son Noah had really good positioning. I handed Laurie my bat and she ended up getting my bat signed for me. Josh ended up signing their items plus my bat for me as well. Thanks again Laurie and Noah for helping me get my bat signed.
Here are some photos of Josh interacting with the fans along with Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia.
The last item I got signed today was my 2012 All Star Baseball. Josh was nice enough to sign the baseball underneath the All Star logo.
Overall it was a great day of graphing. It feels good to graph again since I haven't graphed in a long time but it was also nice to take a break too. I decided to display my newly signed baseball and bat in the bat case I bought at Michael's.
I want to thank the Angels for hosting another great event and also Josh Hamilton for being so gracious and kind with all of his fans. Josh Hamilton is one of the nicest athletes you will ever meet and I hope he has an MVP caliber season next year for the Halos.