Monday, January 26, 2015

4th Annual Eddie Guardado Stars and Strikes Celebrity Bowling Tournament 1-25-15

Last night was the 4th Annual Eddie Guardado Stars and Strikes Celebrity Bowling Tournament. This is one of my favorite charity events to go. I've attended the event the last four years and every year was great. Scheduled guests this year included current and former Angels such as Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver, Adam Kennedy, Garrett Anderson, Gary Pettis, Gary Matthews Jr, and Troy Percival. Due to scheduling conflicts since a lot of fanfests were held the previous day the regulars that didn't show up to the event were Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter and Michael Young.

This year I had low expectations in terms of graphing since I figured most of the guys wouldn't show up. Thus I didn't prep much especially since I had items signed by a bunch of these guys the previous years i've attended the event. I had small goals this year, the main goal which was getting my game used Gary Matthews Jr. bat signed, which was given to me by my friend Jerry a few years ago. Thanks again for the bat Jerry.  Since Gary isn't around much this was my one and only shot. I was so upset last year for not bringing the bat since he was a surprise guest to the event.

The first autograph I got was from Adam Kennedy. I had this photo of him as a Dodger for several years now but was too lazy to carry it around. Adam also signed a card for me.

Next up was the biggest shock of the night, Jered Weaver. Weaver is considered to be the most difficult autograph to obtain in person on the Angels roster. To put things into perspective Albert Pujols signs more autographs than Jered Weaver at the stadium. Another way to look at it is for every 100 Mike Trout autographs at the stadium you get about 1 Jered Weaver autograph signed in person.  Normally he's not in a good mood and when he does sign which is a rare occasion he likes to side panel baseballs or run with a sharpie. Today he was surprisingly in a good mood and knocked out about 20 autographs before heading inside the event. He was sweetspotting baseballs without even asking and was switching pens for different items. It was surreal. Jered was kind enough to sign my 2010 All Star baseball under the logo.

The last time I got his autograph was back in 2012 when he had a free signing at Pechanga Casino. Before that I got him at Angels Fanfest back in 2011. It was nice to finally upgrade and get a baseball signed in blue pen under the all star logo.

Next up was Gary Matthews Jr. who was surprised that I brought a bat for him to sign. He even checked the model number to check if it was indeed game used. He was nice to the fans and kindly signed my bat with his natural cycle inscription.

The rest of the night I ended up getting a few more cards signed. I still don't know why I carry these things around. Maybe it's because I don't like getting shutout at autograph opportunities. I wish I had direction with cards like my friends Ryan or Alex who are collecting topps heritage sets. Maybe I should go hardcore and collect the entire upcoming 2015 Topps Heritage set. But then again I got enough stuff I want to get signed (ie jerseys, baseballs, bats, etc). I have hundreds of cards signed but they are all sitting in folders collecting dust. If anyone wants to buy them let me know. 

Last but not least I got cards signed by Matt Treanor and Brennan Boesch

Overall it was a fun experience graphing with everyone.

First Post of 2015: Chan Ho Park

I wanted to dedicate the first entry of 2015 to one of my all time favorite baseball players; Chan Ho Park. He's a cult hero among Korean baseball fans since he was the first Korean baseball player to play in major league baseball. What was even more special was that he played for the hometown Dodgers.

I've had several encounters with him years ago prior to my days as a grapher when I would actually go to a baseball game to watch baseball. My first encounter of getting his autograph was back at Shea Stadium in 2008 when I saw him play against the Mets. I was actually wearing his jersey when I went to see the Dodgers play the Mets. I was getting taunted by all the crazy New York Mets fans but it was nice to wear a one of a kind Dodgers jersey in enemy territory. During BP while he was fielding fly balls in left field he saw my jersey and came over to sign. I was probably the only fan in the stadium wearing his jersey so he had to come over and sign. This was the time when I didn't know what a paint pen was or what type of pen to use on autographs. Someone had a black sharpie which I borrowed and he ended up signing my jersey, not on the jersey number but the actual jersey itself.

This was my first ever autograph on a jersey which pretty much made my day since it was signed by my favorite player. I didn't realize it then but that planted a seed which led to my obsession of collecting autographs.

Just like any veteran collector you always try to upgrade your collection. Before graphing I collected jerseys so I had two more Chan Ho Park jerseys in stock. The one that was signed at Shea was worn several times by me since I'd wear it to every Dodger or any other baseball game. Thus it wasn't in the best condition and now i'd never even think of getting a jersey not signed on the jersey number.

Over the years I tried hunting down Chan Ho to get his autograph. He made an appearance at Dodger Stadium last year and had a free signing but I had work conflicts which prevented me from getting another shot at his autograph. Two years ago he was a special guest by the Dodgers when they faced the Braves in the playoffs. I brought my jersey but was denied by security. I always wanted to get the road jersey signed and finally it happened a few weeks ago when Chan Ho was in town at a paid signing at Frank and Sons sponsored by Honabach and Sons. (on a side note everyone knows I boycott their signings refer to the link)

However I didn't pay for the auto but ended up running into him later that day and ended up getting the road jersey signed for free. Chan Ho was a class act as he carefully signed my road jersey on the jersey number with my deco marker.

Now the next project is getting another home jersey done.