Sunday, August 18, 2013

Matt Barnes & Snoop Dogg Athletes vs Cancer Charity Football Game 8-18-13

I decided to go check out the First Annual Athletes vs Cancer Charity Football Game hosted by Matt Barnes and Snoop Dogg. The game took place at Palisades Charter High School. Admission to the game was $15 and the doors opened at 1:30 with the game being played at 3. All proceeds from the event went to cancer research. I thought it was cool of Matt to host this event in dedication to his mother who passed away from cancer a few years ago. It's always nice to see athletes and celebrities give back.

Matt announced the roster via Twitter and each team roster was stacked with celebrities along with athletes. Headliners included HOFer Warren Moon, Marcellus Wiley, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Brandon Jennings, DeMar Derozan, Nick Young, Metta World Peace, Snoop Dogg, DJ Quik and Warren G. Initially I wasn't planning on attending this event due to the distance but I couldn't pass it up once I found out Warren Moon was going to be there. It's rare to have NFL graphing opportunities in LA since we don't have an NFL team here so whenever I get the chance it's a must go for me. My goal today was to get Warren Moon's autograph along with Snoop Dogg's autograph.

As soon as I arrived to the event I noticed Gilbert Arenas was checking in. Since I had everything I wanted signed my Gilbert at the Drew League I decided to get his autograph today on a floorboard. As usual Gilbert was cool and signed my floorboard for me.

Next up was former Laker Kareem Rush. Since I didn't prepare a photo for him I also had him sign a floorboard for me. The floorboard is a new thing for me. I plan to get each one signed so I can form a wall of autographs of current and former NBA players in cases where I don't come prepared with an item like a photo or when I've already gotten players on photos already just to mix it up a bit.

Matt Barnes then rolled through and signed a photo for me.

Afterwards Warren Moon checked in. Surprisingly there weren't that many graphers at the time. Initially I asked Warren Moon for an autograph and he replied by telling me in a minute. I wasn't completely sure what he meant by that. I was just hoping he didn't mean he would sign inside because the set up on the football field wasn't good for graphing as the field was separated with a track and a fence. It was just me and two other graphers. As soon as he checked in he was walking toward the entrance of the football field so I politely asked again and luckily he signed my football for me.

I missed out on Warren a few years ago at the NFLPA Rookie Premier football event so it was nice to finally add his autograph to my collection. He was also nice enough to inscribe HOF without me even asking him. That pretty much made my day.

Next up was Marcellus Wiley who is part of the Max and Marcellus Show which is one of my favorite shows on the radio. Marcellus was cool as usual and he signed my Chargers mini helmet for me.

Afterwards both DeMar Derozan and Nick Young checked in. I've met these guys numerous times over the years at the Drew League and they are always good with the LA fans. I didn't have anything prepared for them so I decided to get my floorboards signed.

Finally Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion showed up. He had his personal security around him so I thought I wouldn't be able to get his autograph today. However I called over Snoop to sign for us and Snoop was cool about it even though his security was giving everyone a hard time. Snoop signed his album cover for me and was nice enough to take a photo with me as well.

By that time it was already 3:40 and the game didn't even start yet. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan showed up late and they were escorted by security so they ended up not signing. That basically meant the day was over for me as I decided I wasn't going to wait for everyone postgame since it was a far drive for me to get to Pacific Palisades. I've gotten Blake and DeAndre's autograph before so it wasn't a big deal to miss out on them today even though it would have been icing on the cake on an already successful day of graphing. From what I know the no shows included Brandon Jennings, Ryan Hollins, MWP, Warren G, Rodney Peete, and Victor Ortiz unless they arrived after I left.

As for my post graphing meal I hit up my favorite neighborhood burger joint called GBurger. Normally I don't blog about food but this was autograph related so I had to post this. I noticed that a new poster was up at the restaurant. It looks like Tommy Lasorda eats here quite a bit.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dodgers vs Rays Game 8-9-13

Since I got off work early today I was able to attend the Dodgers vs Rays game. My personal goal today was to get Wil Myers and Matt Moore's autograph.  I met up with my friends Josh, Franz, and Tom at the stadium. When we arrived we found out that the Dodgers cancelled batting practice since they got back late from their recent roadtrip. Thus the entire stadium was empty with no action.

This reminded me of the days when Frank McCourt ran the team. Thus we were just chilling in the stands until a few pitchers came out to warm up in the outfield.

If you noticed in the photo above Chris Withrow was playing catch with Carlos Marmol. As soon as he finished he threw me a ROMLB.

There was no action in terms of any Dodgers signing autographs including the autograph corral. I decided to head out to the Rays dugout to see if we could get some autographs from the Rays. I noticed that both Evan Longoria and Wil Myers were both signing for fans who had dugout club seats. A fan with a Rays Wil Myers jersey happened to be in the area so I called him over to help me get Wil Myers' autograph. He agreed but also needed a sharpie to get his jersey signed. My buddy Josh ended up handing him another ROMLB along with a sharpie so that he can get Wil Myers' autograph for us. We specifically told the fan not to use the sharpie on the baseballs. I guess this guy was a fair weathered Rays fan as he ended up walking towards Evan Longoria to sign his Wil Myers jersey instead of going to Wil who was standing next to Evan. What's funny was that he got both players mixed up. How can you call yourself a fan when you can't differentiate between Longo and Wil. Longo ended up denying his autograph request so we ended up pointing to the Rays fan where Wil Myers was standing. The Rays fan ended up getting his jersey signed by Wil along with one of our two baseballs. Josh was nice enough to let me keep the baseball since I was the first to ask to get help from the Rays fan. Plus Josh wasn't too pleased with the overall autograph. I checked online and this is pretty much Wil Myers' autograph. I was happy to add his autograph to the collection.

Afterwards we noticed that Fernando Rodney was in the outfield tossing several baseballs to fans.

Fernando was cool as usual and signed a card for me.

Normally when a player signs autograph karma benefits the player since they normally have a great game. In Fernando's case his kindness didn't help him on the field as he ended up blowing the save opportunity as the Dodgers ended up rallying back from a three run deficit to beat the Rays in the bottom of the 9th inning.

My last autograph of the day pregame was from Paco Rodriguez who signed a photo for me in the bullpen before the game started.

Today was by far one of the most memorable games I personally witnessed in Dodger history. The Dodgers were down 6-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning and they rallied with four runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to cap off a memorable comeback victory over the Rays. Fernando Rodney was back the old version of himself as he played like the Angels version of Rodney when he was blowing saves on a regular basis. It sucked to see him struggle like that since he's been cool with the graphers and fans in general but it was a memorable win for the Dodgers.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Brian Wilson and Corey Seager: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes vs Lake Elsinore Storm Game

I decided to check out the Quakes vs Storm game after work with the goal of getting Brian Wilson and Corey Seager's autograph. Since I had work I arrived at the Epicenter at around 4:30. Batting practice was already underway. Here is a photo below of Brian Wilson talking to one of the coaches. It was weird to see him in Dodger blue.

I was hoping I could get his autograph and leave just like I did for Carl Crawford a few weeks ago but security ended up kicking me out. As I was walking out I ran into Andrew and his dad Andy aka Pitbull and Minibull. Andrew and Andy are both legendary graphers at Dodger Stadium and they were here today with the same goal as me which was to get Corey Seager and Brian Wilson's autograph. Tyler, David A, and Eric ended up showing up as well so we all waited by the gates before the stadium opened up at 6pm.

Since I couldn't get Brian Wilson's autograph during BP I ended up buying a ticket to the game. The first Quakes player to sign for us was Dodgers #2 prospect Corey Seager who is the younger brother of Kyle Seager who plays for the Mariners. Just like his brother Corey was cool with the fans and signed for everyone who asked. He ended up signing a ROMLB on the SS for me. Normally I don't like prospecting since it's risky because a player can become a superstar like Yasiel Puig or never live up to their potential like Brandon Wood. However it's always nice to get autographs from players before they become superstars since you don't have to worry about getting them again once they become superstars.

Afterwards Pratt Maynard signed a card for me. I didn't bring that many minor league cards with me today since I rarely graph minor league baseball. Plus I don't buy many minor league sets either.

Brian Wilson was due to start and pitch for just one inning. I figured my chances of getting his autograph was slim since he was pitching today so we'd have to try our luck after the game. Brian ended up ignoring all autograph requests since he was preparing to pitch in the game. Thus I took a few photos of Brian Wilson warming up.

Afterwards we waited patiently near the players locker room for Brian Wilson. Surprisingly there were about 100 fans waiting outside for Brian as well. Most of them were casual fans who wanted a chance to get Brian Wilson's autograph or a picture with him. I even saw several fans decked out in Giants gear which was weird since we were at a Rancho Quakes game. It's still weird for me to see Brian Wilson wearing Dodger blue since he will forever be known as a Giant since he had so much success playing for them and won the World Series in 2010. I hope he helps the Dodgers this year during the postseason and maybe he can make another run at another World Series Championship.

We waited for about an hour and Brian Wilson finally walked out. He was cool with everyone and signed for a good 15 minutes. Brian Wilson signed my 2010 World Series ball under the logo and a card for me.

Overall it was another fun day of graphing at the Epicenter.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Upcoming Signing: Dennis Martinez at Harry's Dugout Saturday August 17th 10:30am-12:30pm

Angels vs Blue Jays Series

Angels vs Blue Jays Game 8-2-13

I decided to attend the Angels vs Blue Jays game on Friday after work. It was a last minute decision but thanks to my friend Benson he was able to pick up a ticket to the game for me. It was nice to be back at the stadium today since it has been weeks since I attended a game at Angel Stadium. We arrived at the stadium a bit late as the Blue Jays were taking batting practice.

The personal goal today was to get Jose Reyes' autograph. I've always been a fan of Jose since his playing days as a Met back when I used to see him play at Shea Stadium when I lived in New York.

The first Blue Jay to sign for us was J.P. Arencibia who signed two cards for me over the dugout.

There wasn't much action going on afterwards. I decided to head out to the Diamond Field Box to watch Jose stretch after BP hoping that he would sign. Sure enough he signed for us after stretching. Jose was cool and signed my ROMLB on the SS.

Jose also signed Kyle's painting. As usual it came out spectacular and his artwork is simply amazing.

The good news was that the regulars all ended up getting Jose Reyes' autograph. That was pretty much it for pregame graphing.

For post game graphing I ended up getting Kole Calhoun to sign two cards for me. He was especially in a good mood since he hit his first home run that night.

The only Blue Jay I got post game was Casey Janssen who signed a card for me.

Today was a day of quality and not quantity. It was nice to add Jose Reyes' autograph to my personal collection. I want to give a shoutout to my fellow Anaheim graphers including Benson, Kyle S, Kyle M, Alex, and Rob. It's always fun graphing with you guys.

Angels vs Blue Jays Pregame 8-3-13  

I ended up getting a bunch of cards signed pregame as none of the major stars on the Blue Jays signed.

The first two Jays to sign were Mark DeRosa and J.P Arencibia who signed cards for me.

Afterwards R.A. Dickey signed a card and a baseball for me. I ended up getting his short signature. Luckily I used a used BP ROMLB.

Next up was Brett Cecil who signed a card for me. It was nice to finally get his autograph on a card. When I last met him a few years ago he didn't have a card out so I ended up getting a ticket stub signed. I asked him what his tattoo on his throwing arm meant and he told me that his was his son's name along with his birth date. That's pretty cool.

Following Brett, my favorite former Mariner Steve Delabar signed three cards for me. Steve has always been good to the fans so I was happy to see him having a great season this year. I congratulated him on his recent all star selection while he was signing my cards for me. It was nice to see him again in person since the last time I saw him was at Safeco Field back when he played for the Mariners. He is also historically significant in my autograph card collection since he was the first player to sign a card in my 2012 Topps Heritage set back when I started to get cards signed last year.

The next two players to sign were Darren Oliver and Adam Lind who both signed cards for me.

Next up was Mark Buehrle who I initially wanted to get on a baseball. As soon as he saw all the graphers he asked us what we wanted signed. Thus a few graphers yelled out cards and the others yelled out baseballs. Mark then tells all of us he can't sign baseballs since they go for too much money on eBay so he won't be signing any baseballs. We even asked him if he would personalize letting him know that we aren't selling them. He still denied all autograph requests on baseballs and would only sign cards. He said this in a comical manner so none of us were offended by his rejection. Thus I ended up getting a card signed by Mark. Still cool but it would have been nicer to get a personalized signature on a baseball.

The last player to sign was Todd Redmond who signed a card for me.

Angels vs Blue Jays Game 8-4-13 

I could have probably been better off staying home today as it was one of the slower days in graphing. Sundays are usually the worst days to graph since there is no BP.  Part of it was my fault as I ended up oversleeping and pretty much missed all chances of pregame graphing.

Benson and I ended up chilling at McDonalds too long and got the start time of the game confused so we entered the stadium a bit late. Thus we missed out on R.A. Dickey who was giving out his full signature today.

Luckily I didn't strike out as I was able to get Sergio Santos to sign two cards for me. It was nice to finally add his autograph to my collection. Although he is a local player i've always missed getting his autograph since his days playing for the White Sox. It was nice to finally add his autograph to my personal collection.

Next up was Casey Janssen who was running with a black sharpie. He ended up signing a card for me as well.

I'll probably just donate this card to my friend David A. who is the king of getting autographs on cards with exclusively black sharpie.

That was it for graphing during warmups. What made matters worse was that the Angels ended up losing to the Jays due to a blown call on second base from the umpires.

After the game I ended up getting Jerome Williams and JB Shuck to sign cards for me.