The very nature of this hobby demands a lot of flexibility in one's plans. Today was a perfect example of that. My friend Lawrence and I decided to go down to Petco Park at 12 in the afternoon to try and get autographs from Mets on the way into the ballpark, as we did a couple weeks back with the Rockies to a great deal of success. We headed straight for the same spot as we did last time, on a corner that provides a lot of different vantage points of possible ways for players arriving. When we saw no one in that particular spot, we changed plans and went around back of the park, where the Padres players drive in and park their cars. Visiting teams have a bunch of different entrances they can choose, and this is one such spot they frequent. The different options the players have can make it especially difficult to get the player you want as you can only be in one place at a time. This is one reason I say you have to be flexible in your planning.
Right after we got to the Padres entrance, fellow collectors informed us that we had just missed two injured Padres players, Corey Luebke and Dustin Moseley, who had signed for everyone waiting (which at this point in time was approx. eight people). I did have Topps cards for both players, but I wasn't real worried about missing out on those two since my main goal was to get as many Mets as possible. When we asked where the Mets players typically come in, it was rather apparent that no one really knew for sure. All we heard was that David Wright (obviously our main target) was known to enter at the corner of Tony Gwynn Dr. at a small security gate, and that he was "really good" about signing. This was where Lawrence and I decided to wait.
A little more than an hour went by, and not a single player came through where we were waiting. At this point, there were probably thirty people waiting sporadically around the ballpark, and all of them reported back that there was almost zero activity in terms of players coming in. The only player that was seen was Mike Baxter, who did sign for the people who had items for him. Then the guy that was waiting with us told us he heard that almost every player had gotten on the bus from the team hotel, and that it was arriving any minute. This ended up being spot on, as right when we started heading back to the Padre's entrance, the Mets bus came around the corner. Unfortunately, there was now about 40-50 people all waiting where the bus parked, which is always an ominous sign. Players are far more likely to sign when there is a small group, as they don't want to get swamped and/or sign for some people and reject others. Sure enough, just about every recognizable player/coach on the Mets roster got off the bus, and all refused to sign except for Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy, who both signed one item for the same kid.
That was it, Lawrence and I were shut out. A day wasted. Needless to say it is pretty damn frustrating, but it is all part of the autographing game. We followed one of the best days ever (the Rockies), with a big skunk. At this point we headed back home, so the only bright spot was the bus came early enough that we did not waste a whole day.
To make myself feel better, here are two autographed baseballs of Mets I have gotten at the past. The first is the late Gary Carter, who was a real character and always happy to sign for fans. I got him to sign a baseball for me about six or seven years ago at the then Stan Humphries Celebrity Golf Classic.