Archive Page 2

Getting Autographs at Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training in 2010

BY: T.C.

The Pirates have changed things up a bit this year at their workout fields that make it tougher for autograph seekers. A great place to get autographs used to be right next to the batting cages. You could get players in between turns in the cage, as well as snag them before and after practice (they have to walk right past the cages to get back to the clubhouse). Unfortunately, the Pirates blocked fans from this area this year. During the workouts, you can float around between the 4 practice fields and you might be able to snag a few autographs. The best place to get items signed, however, is outside the players parking lot. Most of the guys roll down their windows and sign for fans as they leave practice. For more details on locations, see the image below:

Here is what I got signed in one day at the Pirates camp (only pitchers and catchers were there):
Brian Bass x 3 Cards
Brian Burres x 6 Cards
D.J. Carrasco x 2 Cards
Jeff Clement x 2 Cards
Brendan Donnelly x 2 Cards
Ryan Doumit x 1 Card
Zach Duke x 1 Ball
Zach Duke x 1 Card
Brian Friday x 2 Cards
Hector Gimenez x 7 Cards
Joel Hanrahan x 1 Ball
Joel Hanrahan x 4 Cards
Kevin Hart x 1 Ball
Akinori Iwamura x 3 Cards
Chris Jakubauskas x 2 Cards
Jason Jaramillo x 3 Cards
Brandon Jones x 5 Cards
Garrett Jones x 5 Cards
Jeff Karstens x 2 Cards
Erik Kratz x 2 Cards
Brad Lincoln x 6 Cards
Steve Lombardozzi x 1 Ball
Javier Lopez x 2 Cards
Paul Maholm x 4 Cards
Daniel McCutchen x 4 Cards
Evan Meek x 1 Card
Bryan Morris x 3 Cards
Charlie Morton x 2 Cards
Brian Myrow x 1 Card
Steve Pearce x 3 Cards
Jeremy Powell x 2 Cards
John Raynor x 1 Card
Tony Sanchez x 1 Ball
Tony Sanchez x 4 Cards
Ray Searge x 3 Cards
Jeff Sues x 1 Card
Jose Tabata x 2 Balls
Jose Tabata x 2 Cards
Kent Tekulve x 1 Ball
Anthony Telford x 1 Card
Virgil Vasquez x 1 Card
Ramon Vasquez x 4 Card

Totals: 97 cards + 8 balls = 105 total autographs

Getting Autographs at Orioles Spring Training in 2010

BY: T.C.

The Orioles moved up to Sarasota this year to replace the Reds (who left for Arizona). The camp was laid out the same way the Reds’ camp was. While workouts are going on inside on the practice fields, a savvy collector can manage to get a few autographs from players as they move from field to field. The place to really clean up at this camp, however, is at the player parking lot as they leave the complex each day. See the picture below for best locations for autographs:

Here are my totals for the Orioles camp (I had a little help from the wife, too):
Jake Arietta x 1 Ball
Jake Arrieta x 3 Cards
Brad Bergesen x 5 Cards
Brad Bergesen x 1 Ball
Jason Berken x 1 Card
Terry Crowley x 1 Card
Jeremy Guthrie x 1 Card
Jeremy Guthrie x 1 Team USA WBC hat
David Hernandez x 4 Cards
Jim Johnson x 3 Cards
Caleb Joseph x 1 Card
Brian Matusz x 3 Cards
Brian Matusz x 2 Balls
Cla Meredith x 5 Cards
Kam Mickolio x 1 Card
Kevin Millwood x 3 Cards
Kevin Millwood x 1 Ball
Chad Moeller x 2 Cards
Troy Patton x 3 Cards
Dennis Sarfate x 3 Cards
Gary Thorne x 1 Ball
Chris Tillman x 5 Cards
Chris Tillman x 1 Ball
Dave Trembley x 1 Card
Matt Wieters x 1 Card
Matt Wieters x 2 Balls

Totals: 47 cards + 8 balls + 1 Team USA WBC hat = 56 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).

Charleston RiverDogs @ Lexington Legends (5/13/09)

BY: T.C.

I had to go down to Kentucky for a wedding, so I decided to leave early to check out this game.  I was excited to see Charleston because of all of the guys that had major-issue cards on their team…not to mention Andrew Brackman, who was one of the last 3 guys I needed to complete my 2007 TriStar Prospects Plus set.  Another reason I was excited was to see Pat Venditte, the pitcher that throws with both hands.

The game didn’t disappoint, as Hector Noesi threw a no-hitter through 7 innings.  In the 8th, Charleston brought in Casey Erickson and he retired the side 1-2-3.  That set the stage for a no-hitter going into the 9th inning!  To make things even better, Venditte entered the game.  Pat retired the first batter, but disaster struck with one out in the ninth.  Ronald Ramirez, Lexington’s shortstop that is batting less than .200 took Pat deep for a home run.  DAMN IT!  Pat went on to get the next two outs without allowing a hit, so I got to see a one-hitter.

Before the game, I was able to ‘graph both teams with the help of my wife, my brother, and his girlfriend.  I ended up with quite a haul!  Here are my totals for the day:

Lexington:

  • Jay Austin, 9/9
  • Tom Lawless, 5/5
  • Jordan Lyles, 5/5
  • Ross Seaton, 5/5

Charleston:

  • Mitch Abieta, 8/8
  • David Adams, 8/8Abraham Almonte, 1/6, 1/6 (only one per)
  • Carmen Angelini, 4/9, 3/9
  • Andrew Brackman, 9/9, 6/6
  • Dan Brewer, 5/5
  • Brandon Braboy, 3/3
  • Pat Venditte, 5/5, 1/1 (Signed 3 cards, his ESPN the mag article, and a baseball on the sweet spot with both hands)
  • Taylor Grote, 9/9, 9/9
  • Corban Joseph, 7/7
  • Mike Abiso, 3/3
  • Mike Lyon, 5/5
  • Brett Marshall, 7/7
  • David Phelps, 3/3
  • Chase Weems, 1/1