Saturday, September 5, 2015

Padres Game Updates

I've been to a couple more Padres games over the past two weeks as the stretch run is in full swing in Major League Baseball.  The Pads just happen to be home often over the later portion of their 2015 schedule, which my 20 game season ticket package happens to coincide with.  One of the games I went to was the game versus the Texas Rangers.  I only went into the game with two unused MLB baseballs to use, so I had to pick and choose.  Many of the Rangers ended up signing, and one who signed a lot down the third base line was Josh Hamilton.  I hurried over into the mass of people and got one of the balls signed on the sweet spot.
The other player who I went after was Cole Hamels, who signed down the left field line.  He was signing everything every one handed to him, though he declined all requests for the sweet spot on baseballs.  As such, I ended up with Hamels on a ball as well.
These were two very good gets in my opinion.  I had never seen Hamels sign before, though I was told later on that he always signs for people, just not on the sweet spot on any baseballs.  I know Josh Hamilton has always been fan friendly, I just never ended up getting him before.  Two all star/MVP/Cy Young caliber players in one day is always a good thing.

Another game I had gone to earlier was against the Atlanta Braces.  Their roster is pretty barren from an autograph standpoint, at least when you only emphasize getting baseballs signed.  As a surprise, David Justice showed up and signed for some fans.  I was the next person in line when he stopped so.  Terry Pendelton, another former Brave and current coach, also signed but I missed out on him as well.  Freddie Freeman signed for a couple of fans who had field access but that was about it for him.  Feeling a bit downtrodden I focused on a player who is universally known as a good dude in the memorabilia universe, Nick Swisher.  He signed for just about everyone asking, so I got a ball signed (non sweet spot-didn't ask and regret it).   While signing for me I told him how my wife loved his wife's show, Reba.  I told him that I actually told my wife that I'd come home from the Padre game with "Cheyenne's" real husband's signature.  Nick thought it was funny and thought it even more funny that my wife liked Reba.  I tend to agree.
Again, I'm a bit disappointed I didn't ask Nick to sign on the sweet spot because I know he would have.  I just have always hated asking for it, because it tends to make the players think you are a dealer, which I most certainly am not.  The collection of signatures I have on side panels is growing so much and the baseballs are starting to cost more and more to the point I think I might have to make the decision to start asking.  Pretty soon I'll have a case with a bunch of studs like Todd Helton, Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Matt Kemp, Paul Goldschmidt, Jay Bruce, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Cole Hamels, etc who I've already gotten on side panels.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

HOF Ball updates

I've probably gotten into the story before, but I have a case of 48 baseballs which consists of the very best signatures I have in my signed baseball collection.  I recently came across a fellow blogger's site in which he was stating he had some of his own collection for sale, so I took the opportunity to add four Hall of Famers to my set that I did not yet have.  I was able to add Don Sutton, Eddie Murray, Phil Niekro, and Goose Gossage.  Please see photos below;
Murray (HOF ball though signed upside down from HOF logo)

Niekro

Gossage (w/ HOF 2008 inscription on HOF ball)

Sutton (on HOF ball under logo)

Updated shot of the case

Top row left to right; Yu Darvish, Clayton Kershaw w/ Triple Crown inscription and stats, Trevor Hoffman, Matt Holliday, Don Mattingly, Ken Griffey Jr. 

Second row; Jim Thome, Carlos Gonzalez, Joey Votto, Adrian Beltre, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen.

Third row; Don Sutton HOF ball, Frank Robinson w/ HOF 82, Juan Marichal w/ HOF 83, Johnny Bench w/ HOF 89, Fergie Jenkins w/ HOF 91, Rod Carew w/ HOF 91.

Forth row; Steve Carlton w/ HOF 94, Tony Perez w/ HOF 2000, Carlton Fisk w/ HOF 2000, Tony Gwynn w/ HOF 07, Goose Gossage HOF ball w/ HOF 2008, Bert Blyleven w/ HOF 2011.

Fifth row; Joe Morgan, Lou Brock, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Gary Carter, Ozzie Smith.

Sixth row; Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, Gaylord Perry w/ 3534 K's, Stan Musial, Greg Maddux, Phil Niekro.

Seventh row; Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray HOF ball, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols w/ ROY 01, Justin Morneau.

Bottom row; Pete Rose w/ 1963 ROY, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Jim Edmonds, Derek Jeter, Jeff Bagwell.  

Please check out David's Blog to see how many awesome pieces he gets.  He is much busier than me in the autograph world and is a good read for those in the hobby.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

MLB Autographs Update @ Petco Park

I've attended some Padres games this year as a season ticket holder, and wanted to post a brief update for some of the autographs I have obtained over the course of the season so far.  I recently had some luck at a game where the Reds were in town.  I added Brandon Phillips, Dusty Baker (who was in attendance doing something else), and Matt Kemp.  Kemp didn't sign the sweetspot but it was the first time I've ever gotten him so I'll take it.  

Phillips


Baker


Kemp

This is an autograph from Dallas Keuchel from April.  I took a gamble on this signed baseball because I knew the kid was pretty good last year and thought he had potential.  The good news is, this year he was an All-Star so my projection was on.  The bad news is he side paneled me and accidentally smeared his signature when tossing the ball back to me.  I appreciate him taking the time but would have passed on using a ball if I'd known the outcome ahead of time.
I attended a Phillies vs Padres game during the summer with my eight year old son who was very gung ho about trying to get some autographs.  I noticed Jeff Francouer was signing so my son ran over and asked him to sign a ball, which he did.  Generally Francouer would probably be a guy I wouldn't have sign a baseball (they are getting expensive) but my son really wanted to try and I was inclined to get him into the hobby so we can start a father/son thing.  Albeit an expensive thing.  
Lastly, my son and I have slowly but surely added on to the Padres 2015 team ball I mentioned earlier.  We have added Clint Barmes, Wil Venable, and the manager Pat Murphy.  During the Reds game I had field level tickets so was annoyed with myself for forgetting to bring the team ball when Yonder Alonso, Alexi Amarista, Yangervis Solarte, and Matt Kemp all signed right in front of me (same time I got the Kemp side panel ball above). 
Barmes

Murphy (manager goes on sweetspot)

Venable (shortly before being traded)

The project is coming along nicely, and the best part about it is my son held this ball the entire night, that's how excited he was to do it.  Sounds promising... 

Albert Pujols Signing at Dr. Liu Optometry

Approximately two weeks ago I came across some interesting and unusual news.  Albert Pujols would be making a very rare public signing appearance at the Dr. Liu Optometry office in Rowland Heights.  It was hosted by Guerrero Collectibles, who up until this point I had honestly not heard very much about.  I decided to make the purchase in advance and attend the signing, even though it was on the pricey side and quite a drive up from Oceanside.  The signing was to take place from 10-11 AM, but I drove up early and arrive at about 8:20.  The host was still in the process of setting up and I was only the second person there.  It turns out since I purchased in advance I'd get a "VIP" envelope and one of the first handful of spots in line.  The setup looked like this;
Since I didn't have to worry about a first come first served type of situation, I decided to grab some food and come back and pick up my envelope later, which already had my place in line listed on it (16th).  As an aside, I actually like the tickets they handed out, which are pictured below.
As you might be able to tell, I bought a small item and an inscription.  Going in, I had some debate in my mind as to whether to get an 11x14 photo signed, or a baseball.  I ended up deciding on the baseball since it is impossible to get Pujols to sign a baseball on the sweetspot unless you purchase it or attend a signing.  He will not sign inscriptions either so in my mind I decided a baseball signed on the sweetspot (and inscribed) would be harder to obtain than a photo, which you could theoretically get signed at the ballpark.

Pujols arrived and started signing pretty much right at 10, and I was in and out of there very quickly.  I tried to snap a photo of him real quick but it came out a bit blurry.
One reason the line went quick was that Albert was pretty much all business.  There was no shaking of hands, small chat, smiles, or anything.  I know a few people behind me were turned off by the behavior but, despite the fact that an outgoing player makes it more personable, it didn't bother me much.  My baseball came out nice, and I had him sign the 2001 ROY inscription as well.
I'll end this post by saying my personal experience with this signing was that it went smoothly, quickly, and I ended up with an outstanding piece for my collection.  That being said, while standing in line to get the JSA authentication there was quite a bit of grumbling going on behind me about the dreaded "APS" signature he was giving to some of the people in line.  For a point of reference, Pujols has his nice clean signature like the one I have above, and a sloppy quick signature that he is more inclined to give out at the ballpark.  To see what that looks like see below.
This is one of the two balls I have gotten in the past from Albert Pujols, and you can see the difference between the two baseballs.  If you're at a paid signing, you fully expect the clean version like the one I was lucky enough to get.  You especially expect the good signature when you're at a paid signing that costs as much as this one did, so I can fully understand why people would be frustrated.  The man in front of me had three tickets from the game in which Pujols hit his 500th HR, and he signed all three tickets like the "APS" one above.  He also allegedly did not sign every item that people had prepaid for.  For example, one guy paid for a box of baseballs to be signed, and Pujols signed three.  There are some other bloggers out there who might have more information or saw something similar to what I was hearing, but my experience was just fine and I'd go through Guerrero Collectibles again.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Nathan MacKinnon Autographed Puck

As part of a mini season ticket package this season, the Colorado Avalanche were trying to entice fans to purchase a package by including a signed puck from one of the team's players.  My dad happens to be a hockey fan that lives in Denver so he purchased said package, and asked me which player top choose when getting his puck, knowing full well he'd just hand it over to me.  I told him to get Nathan MacKinnon who was the Calder Trophy winner from the season prior, which goes to the NHL's Rookie of the Year.  This season he struggled a bit but I was happy to include the puck in my collection and see where his career takes him.  It came with a nice display case as well.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Padres Fan Fest 2015

                                                          View from my season ticket seat

After a flurry of big name transactions made by "rock star" general manager A.J. Preller, there is a palpable excitement in San Diego about Padres' baseball for the first time in many years.  This has had an effect on team organized events like Fan Fest.  This year alone they estimated that over 40,000 people attended the event, which is a far cry from the teens one would see in previous years.  A new rule was implemented this year in which attendees would only be given one autograph voucher, and the player(s) you received would remain a surprise until you got in that line.  Needless to say, that threw a major wrench in my plans to specifically target a select group of players.  There would also only be 4,500 vouchers given out, so getting there early was vital.  My friend Lawrence and I decided to show up over an hour earlier than even we season ticket holders are allowed into the event.  This means we got in line to enter the ballpark and get our voucher at 6:45 AM for an event that began at 8 AM.  As we walked in we were given an autograph voucher with a listed time and section to be at.  Again, we had no idea which player this would be.  Without getting into details, I'll say we ended up with four total vouchers, when everyone was only supposed to get one.  Sometimes it helps to know people.  One cool event they do at Padres fan fest is the team garage sale, where they sell memorabilia and merchandise for far cheaper than one would typically find.  I bought two autographed baseballs for $25 each.  One being Huston Street and the other being Benito Santiago.


UPDATE*
The "Street" ball was actually mislabeled and ended up being a ball signed by Logan Forsythe.  The workers either put the wrong ball in a Huston Street bag or someone else switched them trying to get a Street ball for cheaper than $25.  Either way, I didn't notice it at that time and I'm now annoyed that I paid $25 for a utility man.


It's unfortunate that the Santiago ball was signed in black, but it was literally one of only two signed balls I saw from him amid a collection of players that probably devalued the baseball by signing them.  The options weren't great so I think adding a former ROY as well as an all star closer for $25 a pop wasn't bad.  I was also trying to make my trip down to Petco worthwhile just in case the players I had vouchers for weren't players I wanted.  

After walking around the ballpark a bit and shopping for a new Wil Myers jersey, it was time to line up and see which player we got at our first session.  Our hopes were Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, James Shields, and Wil Myers.  Guys like Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross would be consolation prizes.  Well, the first player we ended up getting was Cashner.  Then came the dilemma of whether or not to use a baseball on him (since the prices keep going up on them). We decided to get a ROMLB signed on the sweet spot after all, because he could very well end up being our best get of the afternoon.  
Instead of boring everyone with the details on how each individual player acted, I'll just say they all were in great spirits and very interactive with every fan they talked to.  It was a bunch of good guys.  Lawrence and I hustled over to our next signing, which happened to be Tyson Ross.  Another good player to get, though not a main target.  He threw a wrinkle at us though when he didn't sweet spot the ball.  Neither one of us ever asks for it so this time it bit us.  At this point we decided to start a team ball 2015 project.  
Our next two vouchers were for Derek Norris, the new all star catcher, and Brandon Maurer, a reliever they just acquired from the Mariners.  Both guys are pictured below in order.  

One thing fans can do if they don't end up with the voucher of a player they want an autograph from is get in a standby line and hope the player signs fast enough to get all the vouchers taken care of.  Lawrence and I decided to do that for a few more players just to add to the team ball at this point.  We ended up with Jedd Gyorko, Kevin Quackenbush, and Dale Thayer as well.  Gyorko is pictured below.  

Team balls are a lot of work, and now I have to bring the ball to every game I attend so that I can always be prepared to add to it.  Since I have a 21 game season ticket package I figure I have a decent chance of getting a big amount of the players, but it's a lot of work.  Here are the pictures of how it is coming along so far;
 Maurer
Thayer
Quackenbush

Ross
Norris
Gyorko

All in all, it was a solid day for me.  Seven current players plus a couple of alumni on a day in which we were probably only supposed to end up with one signature.  This is a pretty promising start to the 2015 baseball season.  Thanks for reading.  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter Update

As anyone that collects signed sports memorabilia in Southern California can attest, the winter is a slow time of year.  There is no baseball, and the athlete signing appearances tend to peter out a little during this time sd well.  Despite the fact that the vast majority of my collection comes from me getting these athletes in person (via both unpaid and paid appearances), on the rare occasion that I find a good deal online or in a store I will purchase an item.  The only caveat is the place I am purchasing them from has to be a reputable one and I usually need to know about the athletes history and whether they are affiliated with that company.  In the case of the items below, all matched up and I couldn't pass up two good bargains that I found.

Steiner was having a post Thanksgiving sale, so I decided to pick up these two baseballs;


The top ball is Juan Marichal and the bottom is Tony Perez.  Neither player is all that expensive to get to begin with, and I didn't have either in my Hall of Fame collection so I pulled the trigger.  I bought a Gaylord Perry ball from Steiner as well, and a Stan Musial ball through http://www.insidersportsdeals.com/.  The Musial is authenticated through Tristar, which also happens to run insider sports.  Musial was affiliated with Tristar and often appeared at their shows.  Both baseballs can be seen in the picture below;

I later went back to http://www.steinersports.com/ and bought two of the same Drew Doughty signed 8x10s for a good price, one of which I matted and framed and gave as a gift to my brother, the other which I did the same but kept for my own collection.
I was a fan of this particular photo because the Kings are easily my favorite team regardless of sport and this was his goal from game one of the Stanley Cup Finals.  As a final note, here is what my baseball case is looking like after my recent additions.
Thanks for reading and with baseball season coming up soon as well as a couple shows I am attending, I will have more posts relatively soon.