Monday, April 1, 2013

Angels vs Dodgers Game 3-30-13

Today was going to be a long day of graphing. I decided to go to the stadium early to do some pregame graphing. Thanks to my friend Benson who hooked me, Alex, and Josh up with tickets to the game we all knew that we would be graphing at the stadium the entire day.

I arrived at the stadium at 11am and there wasn't much action. I was just chit chatting it with the fellow graphers who were waiting patiently for the Dodgers to arrive.

The first Dodger to arrive was Matt Kemp who was driven down the tunnel by his driver. Again no Matt Kemp autograph which was a bit disappointing since I figured today might be the day he signs.

The first Dodger to sign for us was Chad Billingsley who signed a photo along with three ginter cards for me. Thanks for the help Joseph and Robert who were kind enough to help me get some extra autos.

I had that photo for over a year now so it was nice that I finally got it signed by Chad.

Next up was Josh Beckett who rolled in with Kershaw. Kershaw denied us as expected. Looks like this jersey is going to be impossible to get signed in person. Surprisingly Josh signed for me again. He signed about 8 autographs out of the 50 people that were there waiting and my buddy Alex and I happened to be standing at the lucky spot. After Beckett finished signing for Matt he grabbed my 2011 All Star baseball and told everyone he would only sign two more. Luckily Alex was standing next to me so we got both of our baseballs signed. Alex was smart enough to tell Josh to sign with my pen so he would be guaranteed to get an autograph. Without even a request Josh was nice enough to sign my 2011 All Star baseball underneath the logo.

The next two players who sign were Stephen Fife and Chris Capuano. I didn't have anything for Stephen to sign but I did have a card for Chris to sign. Here are some pictures of both players signing courtesy of Alex.

The next player to sign was Kenley Jansen. Again we were in the correct spot as he ended up signing for less than 5 fans. Kenley walked directly to Matt and I who both had photos of Kenley. He also signed a card for Alex and left.

Next up was Coach Don Mattingly and again we were at the correct spot since Coach Mattingly walked right in front of us and started signing. Fans started to crowd over us trying to reach Coach Mattingly to get their items signed. Coach Mattingly signed a ROMLB on the SS for me.

After getting my autograph I noticed that one grapher who was pushing me from behind ended up handing a photo to Coach Mattingly but accidentally handed him a ball point pen. Coach Mattingly asked the grapher if he was sure if he wanted the photo signed in pen instead of a sharpie. It was already too late. Before the grapher realized his mistake Coach Mattingly started signing with the ball point pen. Then the grapher handed him a sharpie. Coach Mattingly signed over the ball point pen with a sharpie but it already destroyed the picture. I ended up finding out later the anonymous grapher ended up giving away that damaged photo to my friend Tyler.

Afterwards JP Howell stopped by and signed two cards for me.

I decided to head out to the front of the stadium to check to see if any of the players were walking in. I found out later that Adrian Gonzalez did walk in through the front but only five graphers were there waiting for him and he signed for everyone. So far I was 0-3 in getting my jerseys signed. This was not a good sign for the rest of the day.

Mark Langston ended up walking by and signed for the fans. Benson and I have this rule where we can only ask for Mark Langston's autograph once a month if not every other month. I see fans abusing him all the time trying to get 100 cards signed by him asking him everyday for autographs. He is always nice to the fans and rarely rejects any autograph request. We don't want to abuse him so when we do ask him it's once a month or once every two months. I've had a jersey, a ROMLB, and a Gold Glove ROMLB signed by Mark but never any cards. Part of the issue is that my mom threw away most of my baseball cards growing up so I don't own any cards from the badwax era of the 80s and 90s. I used to own a ton of his baseball cards. I wasn't really planning on asking him for an autograph today but my buddy Josh had some extra cards for me. Thus I couldn't pass up this autograph opportunity. Mark was nice enough to sign two cards for me. Thanks again Josh for the hookup.

Josh ended up giving me a Justin Sellers rookie card as well who I later got signed inside the stadium.

This is when I should have gone home and not attended the game. I had one of my worst graphing days inside the stadium.

We entered the stadium as soon as the gates opened at 4 for batting practice and I decided to go to the Dodgers side hoping to get some of my jerseys signed. I took a few photos of the players warming up.

I was surprised graphers were asking Hanley for his autograph even though he has a cast on his throwing hand. After each autograph request Hanley waved to fans showing his cast. I guess it never hurts to try. I didn't even bring my Hanley Ramirez jersey today since I knew that his cast would prevent him from signing autographs.

My overall timing and luck was pretty bad today inside the stadium. The first strike was when Clayton Kershaw signed over the dugout after warming up. He was signing for literally 10 minutes but he ran with a black sharpie. I asked Kershaw if he would sign my jersey and even personalize it with my silver deco so that he would know that I wouldn't be selling this jersey. He told me that he would be only signing baseballs and hats today and that he couldn't sign my jersey. It was a bit frustrating since i've been trying to get him to sign my jersey this entire weekend. He also refused to switch pens and ran with the black sharpie he had. I didn't want to ruin a clean baseball with a sharpie signature so I passed on Kershaw's autograph. I got him before on a ROMLB on the SS so it wasn't the end of the world to me that I didn't get his autograph. However I regret not wearing my Dodgers hat today since that would have been the perfect default item to get signed. I should have had an extra BP baseball in hand as well but I wasn't prepared. At least with a BP ball I could care less if it was sharpied or not. I hate missing out on autograph opportunities.

After missing out on Kershaw I saw Ethier sign for a few fans. I ran over to the spot and Ethier left after signing a few more autographs. That didn't bum me out too much since I've gotten almost every item signed by Ethier before.

Then I saw Matt Kemp stretch near the outfield. Usually after he stretches he will sign for the fans. Again I was in the wrong position. I was standing next to my friend Tyler when Kemp started signing a few sections ahead of us. I was waving my Brooklyn Dodgers jersey hoping to get his attention. I figured he would at least go down the line and sign. I was wrong. Kemp just stood in one spot as swarms of fans started to gather around. I knew it would be too late to chase after him. That was strike two. During all this madness I also missed out on Carl Crawford who signed for a few fans as well.

The only autograph I did get was from Justin Sellers who signed a card for me.

Post game graphing was worse. Initially I waited in the back of the stadium hoping that Kemp or Kershaw would sign. Again Kershaw denied us and Kemp didn't stop to sign since his driver drove him away.

I decided to try my luck in the front hoping that Adrian Gonzalez would leave the stadium through the front. There was no sign of Gonzo. Fernando Valenzuela did walk out from the front and told the five graphers waiting for him that he cannot sign and instructed us to send the stuff through the mail.

We waited hours for Gonzo and there was no sign of him. That was basically strike 3. I guess I would have to wait until another Angels vs Dodgers series or hit up a Dodger game this year to get these jerseys signed.

Kevin Gregg and Jerry Hairston walked out and both signed cards for me.

Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto walked out together as well but both guys denied all autograph requests. Skip told the graphers that he signed coming and already got all of us. Sadly I wasn't there to get him earlier during the day.

The biggest surprise of the day was the fact that Alfredo Griffin signed. Most graphers know that it's not wise to bother or even approach Alfredo. He is one of the most intimidating guys you will ever meet. I guess some newbie graphers didn't know any better and asked him for an autograph. Sure enough he signed for them. I didn't bother asking Alfredo for an autograph since I got him before. Normally when I run into him I just wave hello or say goodbye to the guy.

I decided to walk by the Angels parking lot since it was on the way to my car. I saw a crowd gathered around Scott Downs's car. Luckily I brought my Scott Downs photo that I printed last season and Scott as usual was nice and signed it for me.

The day was pretty much over. I was extremely tired and exhausted. I am seriously not in graphing shape anymore. Maybe it's time to retire who knows.

The good news was that Hank Conger hit a walkoff game winning homerun to beat the Dodgers 2-1. I got nothing but love for my brother from another mother and was happy he made the Angels roster this year.