Archive for the '1' Category

Getting Autographs at Detroit Tigers Spring Training in 2010

BY: T.C.

I went to see the Tigers twice during spring training this year. Once was with my wife and my niece (who even got their pictures in the Detroit news), and once on my own.

I got pretty lucky this year because my niece was getting a giant baseball signed, which seemed to attract a lot of players! Between the two trips, here is what I came away with:

Alex Avila x 1 Ball
Alex Avila x 1 Card
Rafael Belliard x 1 Card
Brennan Boesch x 2 Cards
Tom Brookens x 1 Card
Kory Casto x 2 Cards
Phil Coke x 1 Card
Brent Dlugach x 1 Card
Dave Dombrowski x 1 Ball
Brandon Inge x 6 Cards
Austin Jackson x 1 Ball
Al Kaline x 3 Balls
Al Kaline x 1 mini Gold Glove
Donnie Kelly x 1 Ball
Donnie Kelly x 2 Cards
Gene Lamont x 2 Cards
Jim Leyland x 1 Card
Andrew Oliver x 1 Card
Ryan Perry x 2 Cards
Ramon Santiago x 1 Card
Jay Sborz x 3 Cards
Daniel Schlereth x 9 Cards
Scott Sizemore x 1 Ball
Ryan Strieby x 1 Ball
Ryan Strieby x 1 Card
Jacob Turner x 2 Cards
Jose Valverde x 1 Ball
Justin Verlander x 1 Sports Illustrated
Casper Wells x 1 Ball
Dontrelle Willis x 1 Card
Joel Zumaya x 1 Ball

Totals: 40 cards + 12 balls + 1 Sports Illustrated + 1 mini Gold Glove = 54 total autographs

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Getting Autographs at Atlanta Braves & Houston Astros Spring Training in 2010

BY: T.C.

I decided to split one day of ‘graphing between the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros. The Braves are a pretty good team to do early in the morning as players arrive at the stadium. I got there at around 7:30 am and managed to do fairly well in only a couple of hours. Here is what I got:

Brent Clevlen x 2 Cards
Brooks Conrad x 1 Card
Jason Heyward x 4 Cards
Eric Hinske x 2 Cards
Omar Infante x 3 Cards
Mitch Jones x 1 Cards
Brian McCann x 1 Hat
Nate McLouth x 1 Gold Glove Ball
Nate McLouth x 1 Card
David Ross x 1 Card
Clint Sammons x 3 Cards
Joe Thurston x 1 Card
Jonathan Venters x 3 Cards

Totals: 22 cards + 1 ball + 1 WBC Team USA hat = 24 total autographs

At about 9:30, I joined a couple of other ‘graphers and headed 1/2 hour down the road to the Astros camp. I arrived about half way through practice and was able to get quit a few signatures before practice ended. I also hung around for awhile and was able to get some of the guys on their way out of the parking lot…including Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman! I couldn’t believe that those 2 guys both stopped for the 8-10 ‘graphers that were there! (Berkman is not known as a guy that would typically stop his car and sign for fans.) Here are my totals for the Astros camp:

Brad Arnsberg x 3 Cards
Jeff Bagwell x 1 Ball
Lance Berkman x 1 Ball
Jason Bourgeois x 1 Card
Michael Bourn x 2 Cards
Jason Castro x 1 Ball
Jason Castro x 2 Cards
Evan Englebrook x 3 Cards
Brian Esposito x 3 Cards
Pedro Feliz x 1 Card
Chris Johnson x 5 Cards
Jeff Keppinger x 2 Cards
Matt Lindstrom x 1 Card
Chia-Jen Lo x 1 Ball
Shane Loux x 1 Card
Gary Majewski x 1 Card
Tommy Manzella x 5 Cards
Edwin Maysonet x 6 Cards
Drayton McLane x 1 Card
Bobby Meachem x 2 Cards
Brad Mills x 1 Card
Brian Moehler x 3 Cards
Bud Norris x 5 Cards
Felipe Paulino x 5 Cards
Hunter Pence x 1 Ball
Humberto Quintero x 1 Card
Jamie Quirk x 3 Cards
Lou Santangelo x 1 Card
Wladmir Sutil x 1 Card
J.R. Towles x 8 Cards
Polin Trinidad x 5 Cards

Totals: 72 cards + 5 balls = 77 total autographs

Getting Autographs at Washington Nationals Spring Training in 2010

BY: T.C.

Before this year, I had never been to the Nationals spring training camp in Viera, FL. I arrived on February 24th pretty early in the morning to a very soggy training camp. It had been raining all night and continued to rain through the morning. The team decided not to hit the practice fields, but to hold training inside of the main stadium. I’ve heard that during a normal training session, you can get lots of autographs before practice as players go out to the fields, as well as after practice when they head back to the clubhouse. Of course, on this particular day fans had no access to the workouts because they had the stadium locked up. We were stuck watching from a gated fence. Autographs were limited to players going from the clubhouse to the players parking lot. On their way to the parking lot, there is a fence that autograph seekers stand behind that is about 20 feet from the path the players take to the lot. People call players over, and most of them come and sign. I didn’t have a great experience at the training camp on this particular day (it was very boring standing behind a fence all day), but I did still get quite a few autographs. Here is what I ended up with:

Collin Balester x 6 Cards
Miguel Batista x 3 Cards
Brian Bruney x 6 Cards
Eric Bruntlett x 3 Cards
Sean Burnett x 3 Cards
Matt Chico x 6 Cards
Tyler Clippard x 3 Cards
Ian Desmond x 1 Card
Ross Detwiler x 3 Cards
Adam Dunn x 1 Jersey
Jesse English x 1 Card
Jesus Flores x 2 Cards
Willie Harris x 2 Cards
Logan Kensing x 6 Cards
John Lannan x 1 Card
Jason Marquis x 1 Ball
Shairon Martis x 8 Cards
Justin Maxwell x 5 Cards
Kevin Mench x 6 Cards
Garrett Mock x 3 Cards
Nyjer Morgan x 2 Cards
Mike Morse x 5 Cards
Derrick Norris x 6 Cards
Scott Olsen x 6 Cards
Pete Orr x 2 Cards
Jerry Owens x 6 Cards
Brian Peacock x 1 Ball
Doug Slaten x 6 Cards
Ryan Speier x 1 Card
Craig Stammen x 1 Card
Drew Storen x 3 Cards
Drew Storen x 1 Ball
Stephen Strasburg x 1 Ball
Ron Villone x 1 Card
Tyler Walker x 3 Cards
Jordan Zimmerman x 1 Card

Totals: 111 cards + 4 balls + 1 Jersey = 116 total autographs

Graphing in the AFL (Arizona Fall League)

BY: T.C.

OK, I’ve been REALLY lazy about posting for the last few months. It hasn’t been for a lack of ‘graphing, it’s just because I’ve been lazy. Now that we have that established, let’s talk about my one-day experience in Arizona at an AFL game.

At the beginning of November, I had to travel out west for work and made stops in both Phoenix and Las Vegas. While I was in Phoenix, I got all of my business out of the way in the morning and was lucky enough to be able to see the Scottsdale Scorpions play the Peoria Javelinas. Now, the first thing that you’re probably wondering is, “What in the hell is a Javelina?” That’s what I was wondering when I first saw it, anyway. It inspired me to use my smart phone to look it up on Wikipedia. Basically, it’s some kind of wild, pissed-off pig.

Once I cleared up the mystery of what a Javelina was, it was on to ‘graphing. I probably could have gotten some ‘graphs outside had I known what a lot of the players looked like, but most of these guys were new to me. Because of that, I waited until the gates opened to start ‘graphing. I did quite well, considering the gates open up 1 hour before game time. Here is what I came out with:

Robert Wooten x 1 RMLB
Dominick Brown x 1 ROMLB
Thomas Neal x 1 RMLB
Andrew Lambo x 1 RMLB
Carlos Triunfel x 1 RMLB
Dustin Ackley x 1 ROMLB
Taylor Green x 1 Card
Brent Morel x 4 Cards
Robbie Weinhardt x 2 Cards
Chase D’Arnaud x 3 Cards
Jordan Danks x 7 Cards
Justin Sellers x 1 Card
Jonathan Lucroy x 2 Cards
Casper Wells x 5 Cards
Brandon Crawford x 1 Card
Scott Mathieson x 7 Cards
Cesar Valdez x 1 Card
Wilin Rosario x 2 Cards
Lorenzo Cain x 2 Cards

Here are a few random observations:
I have to say that the AFL is one of the easiest places to clean up on top prospects. If I lived in Arizona, I would be hitting a game every day.

Casper Wells, Jordan Danks, and Justin Sellers all stood out as being very cool guys. They were very accommodating signers, and each stopped to chat for awhile. Sellers was particularly cool, as he hung out and talked for about 5 minutes.

Buster Posey is a legitimate big-league hitter. On this particular day, he also had a legitimate big-league attitude. This dude was really cranky. Better get his ‘graph now, because I’m guessing he’ll be tough after he’s established.

I Finally Finished a Set!

BY: T.C.

On Saturday, I received an autographed 2007 TriStar Prospects Plus card of Austin Romine as part of a 50/50 trade.  Now normally, this development wouldn’t excite me as much as it did on Saturday.  However, this happened to be the last card that I needed to complete my first ever set of autographed cards.  It took me  2 years to get all 100 cards in the 2007 TriStar Prospects Plus set signed.  It was a pain in the rear, but I was finally able to finish it through a combination of in-person collecting, through-the-mail requests, and trading with other collectors.  Thanks to all that helped me!

07TriStarProspectsPlusSet

(Not) Getting Autographs at Cleveland Indians Games

BY: T.C.

I persuaded my wife to go on a one-day road trip to Cleveland with me on Saturday, August 1st.  First, we went to the National Sports Collectors Convention at the I-X Center in Cleveland.  This part of the trip was very cool, as it was my first trip to the National.  It was a bit overwhelming, and I couldn’t really look at everything in great detail because I knew my wife would have a limited attention span.  We were at the show for about 2 hours, which was mainly spent opening boxes and redeeming wrappers for the on-site redemption programs from Razor and Panini.  As long as my wife was opening packs, she was having fun.

Once we finished up at the National, we headed over to Jacobs…errrrrr…Progressive field to catch the Tigers vs. Indians game.  They open the gates in the outfield at 4:30 so you can watch B.P. from the stands.  They don’t open up the rest of the park until 6 pm for a 7 pm game.  This is very troublesome from an autograph collector’s standpoint it because you have no access to the players at all during B.P. (which is usually the prime time to snag some ‘graphs).  Once the rest of the park opens, you have to sneak down the base line and hope to get one of the players to come over after they are done stretching (which is always tough).  In the best case scenario, you might walk away with 1 or 2 autographs.  Other than Yankee stadium, this is the worst access to players that I’ve seen at a stadium.  If you’re planning on ‘graphing an Indians game, you better either go to the player hotel or stand outside the stadium and get them as they come in.  Once they’re inside the stadium, your chances are slim and none.

Getting Autographs at Kansas City Royals Games

BY: T.C.

Work took me to Kansas City this week, which worked out well because the Tigers were in town to play the Royals.  After flying in on Tuesday, I grabbed lunch and hit the Negro League Baseball Museum.  I would highly recommend it to anyone that appreciates baseball history.  They have some really interesting diplays and a neat video that was narrated by James Earl Jones.  The admission is only $8, and they have a pretty cool gift store, too.

I ended up arriving at Kauffman stadium around 2:30.  I wandered around the outside of the stadium and found a small cluster of ‘graphers.  I had actually corresponded previously with a couple of them on sportscollectors.net.  It was nice to be able to put some faces with the names. 

The ‘graphing outside of Kauffman is really good…one of the best MLB ballparks that I’ve been to from that standpoint.  Almost all of the visitors walk right past you to get in the stadium (there are two places they can enter from, which are illustrated in the graphic below).  Many of the Royals also park right out in the public lot in front of the stadium, which makes it pretty easy to get them, as well.

KCoutside

Inside the stadium is a bit tougher.  If you want to ‘graph the visiting team, you should enter the stadium when the OUTFIELD gates open at 4:30.  You can watch BP from the outfield until 5:30 pm, at which time all of the gates open.  Once it is 5:30, you have to hurry down to the home plate side of visitors’ dugout on the 3rd base side of the stadium.  There is a small place to stand on the right side of the dugout that accomodates about 3 or 4 people.  If you don’t end up in that spot, you will have to do “ball toss” over the dugout, or try to call players over from up the 3rd base line (which didn’t look like it worked very well).

KChome

Overall, I really like the stadium.  It is very spacious and has some cool ameneties in the outfield (mini baseball field & various games) for families and kids.  The fountains give it a great atmosphere, and the scoreboard is incredible!

The game itself was pretty painful from the standpoint of a Tigers’ fan.  Grienke pitched for the Royals and was lights out after giving up one run in the first.  It’s amazing to watch that kid throw pitches from 62 mph up to 96 mph from the exact same arm slot.  He really has it going right now!

When it was all said and done, I filled up about 1/2 of my Tiger team ball, with ‘graphs from: Magglio Ordonez, Fernando Rodney, Rick Porcello, Ramon Santiago, Bobby Seay, Adam Everett, Nate Robertson, Dane Sardinha, Gerald Laird, Jeff Larish, Ryan Raburn, Josh Anderson, Brandon Lyon, Zach Miner, Ryan Perry, and Curtis Granderson.

I also got pretty lucky and got several Royals on the way out, including: Billy Butler (x 3 cards), Mark Teahen (x 3 cards), Robinson Tejada (x 2 cards), John Gibbons (x 2 cards), Kevin Seitzer (1 card), Trey Hillman (x 1 card),  Jamie Quirk (1 card), Tony Pena (1 card), Frank White (ball), and Zach Grienke (x 2 balls).