2009 Florida Spring Training Tour, Day 1 (Atlanta Braves)

BY: T.C.

It’s that time of year again…when the wind chill is still below zero back home in Michigan, but I’m in sunny Florida hearing the crack of the bats and the pop of the gloves for the first time of the year.  As I walked into Disney’s Wide World of Sports, those familiar sounds immediately made me feel nostalgic–thinking back to the days when I was a youngster and my grandparents would take me around to the different spring training camps to get autographs.  Right up there with Christmas, spring training is one of those times when I feel like a 12 year old trapped in an old dude’s body. 

This year proved to be a great start to the spring autograph hunting season for me.  Although Chipper Jones wasn’t in camp today, I was still really happy with the ‘graphing experience.  When it was all said and done, I came away with over 80 autographs.  A few highlights of the day were:

  • Jimmy Williams signing a ball for me & inscribing it with “Red Sox 1999 M.O.Y.”  (Manager of the Year).  Jimmy is a very friendly old guy…I wish more of the old timers had his attitude and personality.
  • Jason Heyward literally signing everything I had.  At various points in the day, he ended up signing 2 balls and 8 cards for me.  I don’t like asking players to sign that much stuff, but he said he didn’t mind at all.  He’s a nice kid, which kind of surprised me because he’s a big-time prospect who has probably been hounded pretty heavily already.
  • Brian McCann signing autographs for everyone and then participating in a bubble (gum) blowing contest with some kids at a charity event (pictures below).

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Here are photos of the items that I brought home today:

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