Although I was tired from graphing all day on Saturday I decided to attend one of my favorite events of the year which is the 2nd Annual Stars and Strikes Eddie Guardado Charity Bowling Event at Bowlmor Lanes in Tustin. This event was scheduled to take place from 5-8:30pm.
When I attended the event last year there were only a handful of fans getting autographs. However this year was different. I arrived at Bowlmor Lanes at about 4pm and there were already about 25 graphers waiting to graph the players coming in. I guess this is the price you pay when you start blogging about in person events. Eventually everyone finds out so the competition factor rises each year. I knew today was going to be much tougher than last year.
My goal today was a small goal which was to get my Vernon Wells Authentic Toronto Blue Jays jersey signed. Most people will think I am crazy for having such goals since Vernon hasn't been the same since he played for the Blue Jays. Most people probably wonder why I even own a Vernon Wells Blue Jays jersey. Well i've always liked Vernon as a person and not just a baseball player since he is one of the kindest players you will ever meet. He's never rude to the fans and always signs multiple items. I really hope Vernon plays well free of injuries this season for the Halos. Plus I was able to purchase the jersey for a good price last year hoping to get it signed at the stadium. Ever since I purchased the jersey I never ran into Vernon again so I was hoping my luck would change today.
The first player to sign for us was the host himself Eddie Guardado who is doing a great job in raising money for children with autism through his foundation. It's a great cause and "Everyday Eddie" always does a good job each year running this event. He was interacting with the graphers outside the bowling alley and signed for anyone who asked. Eddie ended up signing a photo for me.
The next two players to come in together was LaTroy Hawkins and Adrian Beltre. Adrian got mobbed as expected so I decided to go for LaTroy instead since I had a photo for him to sign.
Next up was Vernon Wells and Michael Young who arrived together as expected. Both players were part of the Blue Jays organization so they were good friends since they were in the minors Last year they arrived together and they did the same this year as well. I decided to go for Vernon first since Michael Young was mobbed and I really wanted to get my jersey signed. Vernon was nice as usual and even waited for me while I was prepping my deco prior to signing my jersey.
Vernon also signed two cards for me as well.
After the mob died down for Michael Young I ended up getting him to sign a photo for me.
Afterwards Benson, Alex, and I met up with my friend James to get some dinner after all the players went inside to bowl. We figured we can graph again after they finished bowling.
When we arrived back at Bowlmor Lanes the other graphers informed us that Adrian Beltre left early but signed for all the graphers before he left. I swear I have a curse when it comes to getting Adrian's autograph. I've had about 5 encounters with him at the stadium and when he signs he skips over me or when it's just a few graphers waiting for him he never stops and signs when I am around. The only time i've ever gotten Adrian's autograph was at this event last year. Basically I am cursed when it comes to Adrian Beltre so I wasn't surprised that we just missed him. Oh well we always have the upcoming baseball season so I guess I will try again in the future.
The first player to sign for us after the event was over was Garret Anderson who signed two photos for me. As expected we got his in person sloppy signature.
Garret's paid sit down signature is so much better but I was still happy to get his autograph on these photos.
Next up was Shawn Green. I missed him coming into the event so I was happy to finally add one of my all time Dodger heroes to my autograph collection. Shawn was nice enough to sign my ROMLB on the SS and took a photo with me as well.
Jamie Moyer was next to come out and as usual he was nice to the fans. Jamie signed a photo and two cards for me. Alex helped me with the Heritage Card which was given to me earlier during the day from Benson since he had nothing left for Jamie to sign. Thanks again Benson and Alex.
Next up was Derek Holland and Scott Feldman who both walked out together. Derek and Scott initially denied autograph requests when they were coming into the event but Scott promised to sign after the event. True to his word Scott signed a photo for me and Derek stopped and signed strictly 1 per for each fan.
The last group to walk out were Michael Young, Vernon Wells and Jered Weaver. Weaver denied all autograph requests and ignored everyone as expected. Vernon and Michael signed for fans again. I wish I brought more stuff for Vernon but I ended up getting everything signed earlier so I had Michael Young sign a card for me.
Overall it was a great experience even though I wish it was low key like last year.