Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pieces of the Collection

Since I haven't really been able to get down to Petco Park as much as I used to or would like to, I realize that my posts haven't maybe been as frequent as they could be or perhaps even should be.  To help mitigate that, I've decided to post more often about items I have collected in the past, as well as do more of the "Random Ponderings" posts in which I delve into some of my thoughts about the hobby, and how I disagree pretty vehemently with the way a lot of the other collector's act/do things.  For today's post, however, I am going to focus more on the former idea in which I just show some pictures of things I've gotten in the past.

To start, here are some photos of cards I had signed over the course of a couple of years of attending what used to be the Stan Humphries Celebrity Golf Classic and which has now fallen under the name of Drew Brees.  I'm not going to really elaborate on the stories behind each card...this post is more to deal with the items themselves.




As you can see, most of these were signed in black because at the time, I wasn't as prepared as I should have been.  Thanks for reading and keep checking back for new posts.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cincinnati Reds Post Game @ Petco Park 7/30/13

Last night as I watched the first couple of innings of the Padres/Reds game on TV, I decided on a whim to try and go downtown and get some of the Reds after the game.  Over the past couple seasons I had gathered information from various sources (mostly other autograph collector blogs) that the Reds were relatively high from the aspect of star player to signers ratio.  In other words, the Reds are a team that has a pretty good roster full of autograph targets that also signs pretty well.  During the next couple of innings, while keeping one eye on the game, I did my prep work in which I go over the roster and look up pictures of the guys I don't think I would recognize.  I also grab different items I want signed and formulate a game plan in my head of who I want to go after and what I want them to sign.  I'm happy I made the last second decision to go as it ended up being a solid night.

When it came time to park downtown, I was listening to the game when Chris Denorfia of the Padres hit a walk off homerun to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.  Even though I'm a Padres fan, this pissed me off a little bit because the mood of an entire team can change when they lose in such a fashion and it can definitely negatively affect the amount of guys that are in the mood to sign.  Sure enough, the first Reds player I notice walk out was Aroldis Chapman, the guy who blew the game.  He casually strolled past every collector without saying a word, which to be quite frank was pretty predictable in that sort of situation.  As the Reds filed out of the ballpark, no one was signing so my bad feeling was coming to pass.  Guys like Mat Latos (whose wife has an interesting take on autograph collectors found here: http://dallaslatos.mlblogs.com/2012/03/14/on-autographs-and-other-fancy-things/), Joey Votto, Brnadon Phillips, and Todd Frazier walked out without signing.  Fortunately, Bronson Arroyo walked out and took the time to pose for photos with everyone as well as sign items for everyone.  Arroyo to me was a borderline guy to get on a ball (they are expensive) but at this point I was getting shutout so I had him sign a ball for me, though he did not sign the sweetspot.  I refuse to ask players to sign on the sweetspot.
Feeling a little better that my time wasn't a complete loss, I wandered down towards the Omni Hotel since many times players go out to dinner and such and you can catch them coming back.  As I was standing there, a small group of us noticed that Jay Bruce was heading towards the hotel from the ballpark, as he was apparently one of the last players to leave. I hear that Bruce can be tough to get, but this was my first experience with him and he stopped and signed for everyone.  That being said, he did happen to sign the ball I gave him in the oddest spot I have seen someone sign a ball, as you can see in this photo...
As I have repeatedly stated in the past, I'm not one to get all fussy about players not signing the sweet spot, I'm always just happy to have the interaction with these guys and add them to my collection.  Jay Bruce is one of the best young power hitters in the game so I did not mind that this ball is not as aesthetically pleasing as it might otherwise be on the sweetspot.  The signature itself is actually quite crisp and clear so I am not too worried about it.  Some of the others were trying to trade their ball away for a new ball, but that is their deal and if they only want balls signed on the sweetspot that is up to them.

I lingered around for another twenty to thirty minutes, excited about getting both Bruce and Arroyo, when I noticed Joey Votto heading back to the team hotel from whatever it was he was doing.  He was easy to spot since he was wearing a salmon colored dress that in the dim light actually made him look a little like a Creamsicle.  He had originally denied all requests, but as often is the case with Mr. Votto, he stopped and signed for those of us that were still waiting.  Joey Votto is a pretty darn fan friendly superstar, one of the elite players in baseball, and someone I was thrilled to add to my collection.  We all thanked Joey for his generosity, to which he thanked us back for being fans, and he was on his way.  Here is the ball that he signed on the sweetspot, and you can see how it does look better than the Bruce ball above...
After getting Bruce and Votto, by far my two main targets heading into the night, I basked in my geekiness for a bit with some of the other guys before heading home.  This was most assuredly one of the better nights at Petco I have had for some time.  Thanks to all the other "graphers" who stand out there with me and keep me entertained, as well as to Bronson Arroyo, Jay Bruce, and Joey Votto for taking time out of their night to appease their fans.

PS for all of you autograph collectors who don't mind spending money on certain players, there is a massive signing happening at Frank and Sons on Saturday, August 10th with two mega NBA legends.  I have my tickets and photos for that lined up already so there will be a post on that coming shortly, as well as possible New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles autograph exploits.  Thank you for reading!