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.
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...
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!