Florida Spring Training Summary and Obligatory Lists

By: T.C.


Now that I have returned from my epic tour de spring training, I feel that I should reflect on my trip with a couple of lists.  The first list will be the 10 people that I met at spring training that I disliked the most.  The second list will be the 25 people I met at spring training that I liked the most.  (The lists are 25 good vs. 10 bad because I believe in being more positive than negative…hahahahahahaha!)




  1. The “posse” of thugs/dealers that I saw in Vero Beach and Port St. Lucie on Monday and Tuesday.  There was a fat dude in a Notre Dame t-shirt, a tall skinny kid in a white t-shirt that looked like a mop handle, a short twenty-something dude that just looked like a nerd, and another fat slob.  These jerk-offs symbolize everything that is wrong with the hobby.  Not only were they blatant dealers looking to make a buck on eBay, they were thugs that looked to start problems with everyone.  They pushed old people and kids, which resulted in players quitting signing several times.  They continually reached their bats over people from a few rows back and put them right in the players faces, ignoring the shoulders and heads that they were hitting with the bats. (BTW, there is a good way to get them to stop this if they do it to you.  Get a sharpie or paint pen out with the cap off & hold it tip-up wherever they put the bat.)  They bragged about how they made people so mad that they chose to leave spring training camps.  People come down to Florida to have fun.  Grow up and get a real job.
  2. Brad Ausmus…for looking at me like I just killed his dog when I had him one-on-one and asked him for a Gold Glove inscription.  When I politely asked him, he told me, “No, that’s ok, you can write them on there yourself.”  Brad, I can respect you not wanting to do it.  A simple, “no, I don’t do inscriptions” would have been cool.  Dude, I used to be a fan.  Now I think you’re a prick.
  3. Sammy Gervacio…Who?!  Exactly.  This kid is a 23 year old pitching prospect with the Astros.  I had him one-on-one on Friday and asked him for an autograph.  He promised that he’d come over when he finished running (sure, they all do).  When he finished and he heard me calling him, he just laughed and went into the locker room.  I saw him again at the game on the following Saturday.  When he got pulled from the game, he walked out through “autograph alley” on his way to the locker room.  I was the only one that called him over, and he reluctantly came over to me.  I asked him to please sign my ball (and asked nicely for him to do it on the sweet spot)…he proceeded to look right at me, look down, rotate the ball, and sign on the side panel.  Kid…you are not even good yet.  If you won’t sign on the sweet spot, hand the ball back and get lost.  Get over yourself.
  4. David Eckstein…do I have to pick one reason why I hate this little rat?  Isn’t his retarded-looking throwing motion to first base a good enough reason?  OK, I’ll give you another one.  Although most Blue Jays were nice enough to stop their cars and sign for fans on their way out of the game, Ratstein…errrr…Eckstein put his hood up, sunglasses on, and sped as fast as he could out of the parking lot.  I have encountered this guy in-person about 5 or 6 times and thought he was a jerk-off every time.
  5. Alex Rios…because I have never, ever seen him pick up a pen.  The spring training game I attended on Friday was no exception.  And because he has a stupid-looking Mohawk haircut.
  6. Joel Zumaya…because he has forgotten the fans that loved him.  This is another guy that got too much too soon.  He’s the epitome of the million dollar arm and ten cent head.  He’s so worried about looking cool that he can’t be bothered to stop and sign for fans any more.  What a waste.
  7. Travis Hafner…because he refused to acknowledge the 15 fans that actually went to Cleveland’s camp in crappy weather on Wednesday to watch the team work out.  Not even a wave, nod or a middle finger from this guy.  Every time I’ve ever encountered him, he’s been an asshole.
  8. B.J. Upton…See Travis Hafner.
  9. Maury Wills…for refusing to sign a couple of ‘graphs when he had absolutely nothing to do at the Dodgers camp on Monday.
  10. Derek Lowe…for side paneling my ROMLB with a black sharpie.  There is inevitably one ball that gets the dreaded sharpie every spring training…and this was it.
  11. Andy Van Slyke…OK, I had to throw an extra one on here—just because.  Van Slyke is one of the consummate pricks in baseball today.  Not only will he never sign, he does everything he can to prevent players from signing.  Dude, you weren’t even that good.



  1. Curtis Granderson…Why can’t every ballplayer have this kid’s attitude?  He drives an Impala and parks in the public lot.  He signs autographs until his arm falls off and poses for pictures until his eyes explode every day.  He literally does not leave the park until anyone that wants an autograph gets one.
  2. J.R. House…This Astros back-up catcher is a helluva nice guy.  He signed everything I had at the Friday practice I attended.  As he was driving out of the parking lot, he rolled his window down and asked if anyone had anything left for him to sign. 
  3. Vernon Wells (and his wife)…An All-Star that still signs every day?  Yup, that’s Vernon.  He pulls his car over every day as he leaves the parking lot and signs until there are no more to sign.  On this particular day, his wife was in the passenger seat and waited patiently for 20 minutes as he signed ‘graphs for everyone waiting…including inscriptions!
  4. Ramon Santiago…Every time I’ve met this kid, he’s always smiling and engaging.  And he will always sign anything you have for him.  Ahh, Ramon…if only you could hit.
  5. Shawn Riggans…Another kid that’s always smiling and chatty.  He will sign anything you have and talk your ear off while he does it.
  6. Andy Laroche…He actually came up to a few of us that were standing by the cages at the Dodgers practice on Monday and asked US if we had anything for him to sign!
  7. Jeff Francoeur…Another All-Star who is very accommodating to autograph requests.  I saw him 4 times and got 4 autographs.
  8. Carlos Pena…Stopped his car to sign for everyone that was there.  He signed anything people threw at him.  He also inscribed a ball for me w/ his 2007 Comeback Player of the Year Award.  (Actually, he did two for me because he mistakenly wrote 2008 on the first one.  When he realized he did it, he offered to go back and get me another ball.)
  9. Paul Byrd…Another guy that will sign anything, takes his time, chats with you and has a nice autograph.
  10. Woody Williams…See Paul Byrd.
  11. Andy Sonnastine…He is a quiet guy, but signs anything and is very polite.
  12. Tony Sipp…Very pleasant, unassuming kid that will sign everything you put in front of him.
  13. Jair Jurrjens…I was sad to see this kid leave Detroit.  He is a great signer and a really nice person.  He stopped to chat with folks in Atlanta, the same way he used to with Detroit when he was in the minors.
  14. Tom Brookens…The former Tiger 3rd baseman is a real treat with fans.  He will sign everything and talk the whole time he signs.
  15. J.R. Towles…He’s a pretty good prospect and a great signer.  He’s also very friendly.
  16. Zack Segovia…Not the biggest prospect in the world, but this young Phillies pitcher is very friendly and outgoing with fans.  He’ll stop and sign anything you give him.
  17. Joseph Bowen…This young Tigers’ prospect made my day when he came by and commented that he liked my jersey (I had on my Chet Lemon Tigers jersey).  I asked him why he liked Chester, and he told me that Chet was his coach in AAU ball.  He chatted with me for a few minutes about Chet, Marcus (Chet’s son who is playing in the Rangers chain), and about AAU baseball.  At that point, I had to have him sign a ball so I could start my Chet Lemon AAU alumni team section!
  18. Brandon Inge…He never really interacts with fans up in Detroit, but in Lakeland he is a lot of fun.  On the day I was there, he messed around with fans for about 20 minutes after practice, despite having a nasty cold.  He signed everything in site and laughed and joked with everyone.
  19. Jeff Niemann…He makes the list just because he reminds me of a wookie (he’s 6’ 9”).  He is a really nice kid that will sign whatever you give him.  He is also going to be a helluva pitcher.
  20. Rick Porcello…The Tigers’ mega-prospect was a quiet kid, but signed his arm off both times I saw him.
  21. David Newhan…The Astros’ journeyman was a really nice guy and actually asked me if I had anything else for him to sign after he signed my 3 cards.
  22. Hunter Pence…Even though he has a strict 1 autograph per-person rule, he seems to be a very nice and genuine kid.  He personalizes everything that isn’t multi-signed, but I don’t have a problem with that when he’s that cool about signing.
  23. Roy Halladay…He wasn’t the most talkative dude, but he did stop his car and sign for about 10 minutes for everyone that was there (including Cy Young inscriptions).
  24. Casey Blake…I watched him sign 10 identical 8 x 10’s for two separate collectors at the Indians camp.  Those guys are assholes for asking Casey to do that, but kudos to Blake for not getting pissed.
  25. Charlie Manuel…The Phillies skipper is a funny old guy.  He really wants people to think he’s cranky, as he bitches about coming to sign every time he comes over.  Once he starts signing, though, he chats up the crowd and tells a lot of jokes while he signs.  He’s a lot of fun to be around.

1 Response to “Florida Spring Training Summary and Obligatory Lists”

  1. 1 Brian March 3, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Sammy Gervacio reminds me of Joba “The Cocksucker” Chamberlain. In Detroit…mid July…hot as fuck. Six people….six autographs. Sweet spot…sweet spot…sweet spot…sweet spot…sweet spot…PANEL! Fuck off Joba!

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