Saturday, May 9, 2015

Angels Fiesta: 5/9/15

The Angels hosted their annual Fiesta before Saturday evening's game against the Houston Astros. The Fiesta is basically the Angels version of a "fan fest" since the organization has decided that a few thousand is too much to spend on fans when you're already spending $200 million on player salaries. I really wish that the Angels would put something together like the Dodgers do in the offseason, or even the Padres, but in Arte Moreno's own words, "We're not the Dodgers". I guess that means we can't have nice things like them either.

On a more positive note, this year's Fiesta was much better than last year's. In fact, I think last year's event was so terrible that it kept a lot of fans away since it was not overly crowded like in past years. The Angels also decided to have their annual yard sale as part of the Fiesta, which was not announced until the last minute. Luckily I had some extra cash on me so that was my first stop upon entering. I ended up finding a few boxes of brand new, autographed Raul Ibanez Marucci bats. For $50 I couldn't pass up snagging at least one.

The yard sale had some other fairly nice game used stuff from past Angels players and even a few players from other teams. My friend Spencer was able to pick up Raul Ibanez and Bobby Abreu game used jerseys, while my other friend was able to get a Fernando Rodney game used jersey with the 2010 All-Star Game patch. I also noticed bats used by Leonys Martin, Mark Trumbo, and Corey Dickerson. My friend Marc ended up finding the best hidden gem of the day, a Paul Konerko game used bat that was thrown in a pile with Andrew Romine and Tommy Field bats.

After paying for the bat I made a dart to the autograph lines where the players had already started signing. The first, and only, group of current players signing was made up of Kole Calhoun, Garrett Richards, Mike Morin, and Johnny Giovatella. I only needed Calhoun and Richards so I hopped in Kole's line first since it was extremely short.

I then went over to Richards' line was was surprisingly short as well. I think that most of the fans still weren't at the Fiesta or were caught up at the yard sale since the autograph session started right when the event started. Luckily for me I was able to get through the Richards line in a few minutes and added him to my 2015 team ball (bottom-right).

It's a very nice start, but still a long, long way to go.

I still had a few minutes to spare before the autograph session ended, so I decided to go over to the final line for Alfredo Griffin who was signing with Giovatella. I kind of wish that I had something for Giovatella to sign since the line was so short, but unfortunately I didn't bring any cards along with me. I was able to get the notoriously difficult Alfredo to sign a ball with "ROY 79".

After the players finished signing it was announced that there would be a group of alumni signing in another hour. We were later told that the alumni would be Adam Kennedy, Mark Langston, and HOF'er Rod Carew. At that point my only goal was to get Carew, and I ended up picking the correct line for him. The handlers made a very clear "no inscriptions" rule, but I was still happy to get Carew on another ROMLB.

Afterwards I headed into the stadium for the Astros pregame. Houston isn't necessarily a star studded team, so I just brought along some cards and got whoever I could to sign them.

Overall it was a solid day with a few nice pick ups. I was also able to snag four of these Albert Pujols bobblehead for $10 total at the yard sale but haven't taken them out of the box to take photographs yet:

If any bobblehead collectors are interested in buying and/or possibly trading for one, please email me. Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Larry Robinson: 5/1/15

Hockey legend Larry Robinson was signing autographs at Play It Again Sports in Torrance on Friday night. It's rare to see a hockey signing in Southern California, and even more rare to see a hockey HOF'er signing autographs, so I had been looking forward to the even for a while.

On my way to the signing I decided to drop by Loan Mart Field in Rancho to get Kenley Jansen on a rehab assignment with the Quakes. After a while of waiting Jansen finally showed up and knocked out a few autographs. Luckily I was one of them and was able to get my 2014 Heritage signed.

After getting Jansen I made my way out to Torrance for the Robinson signing. I showed up several minutes in to the signing but luckily the line wasn't too bad. In total I was able to get four things signed, three with "HOF 95" and one personalized to me.

A shoutout to Scottie and Spencer who were both at the event. For those of you who spent $100 on the Mayweather-Pacquio fight on Saturday, I'm sorry for your loss. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kole Calhoun: 4/25/15

Before heading to the ballpark to graph the Texas Rangers, I stopped by Sports Authority in La Playa where Kole Calhoun was doing an autograph signing. The event was set up nicely since they gave you numbered wristbands and didn't require you to stand in line until the signing was scheduled to start. Personally, I think that's how all signings should be.

I ended up being somewhere in the mid-100's by the time I got my wristband. Luckily Kole got to the signing on time and started blowing through the line. My first item that I got signed was my 2014 AL West champagne bottle. Hopefully I'll be able to add a few more in the weeks to come, but Calhoun is a great start.

I was also able to get a ROMLB signed thanks to my mom who tagged along. It's been years since I've asked her for help at the ballpark, but having an extra person is always helpful at these events.

Thanks to Kole Calhoun and Sports Authority for putting on a great event and, as always, thanks for reading.

Angels vs. Rangers: 4/24-4/25/15

It has been a while since I wrote up my past blog post, so it's time to get caught back up. I was able to get out and graph the Texas Rangers in Anaheim a couple of nights. Instead of showing which autographs I got on each day, I'm just going to show them all together, starting with the cards.

The biggest surprise of the series was getting Neftali Feliz to sign a couple of cards. Feliz was one of the few Rangers that I have never gotten before, so it was nice to get a card for myself and another for my friend Ryan who couldn't make it.

My best autograph of the series came from Adrian Beltre. Unfortunately Beltre wouldn't sweet spot my baseball but I can't complain since he has always been a good signer in Anaheim. Regardless, it's nice to add a guy who *should* eventually make his way into the Hall of Fame.

I also was shown on the Texas Rangers Instagram page getting Beltre's autograph. I find it funny that they posted a photo of him signing with zero Ranger fans in sight.

Overall it was a fun series. I didn't much too much time or effort in to the series and still came away with several good autographs. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Angels vs. Athletics: 4/21/15

The Oakland A's came to Anaheim for their first meeting of the new season. I decided to attend only one game since all four games happened to fall on weekdays. Also Oakland will come to Anaheim two more times this season, so my opportunities to graph them are plentiful.

I was able to get a few good guys during batting practice including RJ Alvarez, Ben Zobrist, Sam Fuld, and Jesse Chavez. Billy Butler and Stephen Vogt both signed after the game.

I was also able to get Sonny Gray on a ROMLB. It was a bit strange since he didn't personalize for either of the two graphers who went before me, however when I tossed him my ball he immediately asked for my name. I guess that's what I get for wearing Angels gear. The ball still came out very nice and I have no complaints.

My last (and probably favorite) thing I got was an empty champagne bottle and cork used in the clubhouse after the Angels clinched the AL West in 2014. I picked them up for only $20 and they both came with MLB Authentication holograms. Hopefully I'll get the bottle signed in the near future.

The game itself was an absolute blowout. The Angels ended up winning 14-1 and near the end of the game a couple of fans behind me started stacking beer cups. It took them a while, but the stack ended up getting eight or nine feet high. I was just impressed that they were able to stay balanced after drinking so many.

Thanks for reading and Go Ducks!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vince Ferragamo: 4/18/15

On Saturday my friend, Dr. Alex Corbin Liu, hosted an autograph signing with former Rams QB Vince Ferragamo. I decided to attend the event at the last minute since I was already in the area picking up some cards. Ferragamo was signing autographs for free but since I didn't bring anything for him to sign I ended up buying an 8x10 from Dr. Liu. Five dollars and several minutes later I had myself a Vince Ferragamo autograph.

A big thanks to Dr. Liu for another great event. His next signing will be on June 13th with former Slam Dunk Champ James "Hollywood" Robinson. All of the info is on the flyer below for those interested.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Angels vs. Royals: 4/10-4/11/15

The 2015 MLB season is officially underway and the Kansas City Royals came to Anaheim for the first regular season series at the Big A. Historically, the Royals have always been an autograph friendly team, however you could definitely tell the difference in the players' attitudes now that they're legitimate contenders. Still, it was nice to be back at the ballpark and hanging out with friends.

Game One (4/10/15):

Pre-game was, as expected, rough for autographs. Like all Opening Day games, the stadium was packed and there was very little room to move around. It did not help either that Angel Stadium (and all MLB stadiums, for that matter) installed metal detectors at the front gates. Let's just say that I've gotten through airport security quicker than I got into the stadium. I was still able to get autographs from two of the nicest guys in baseball, Kris Meden and Danny Duffy, before the game started.

The three cards at the bottom were all signed after the game by So-Cal native Mike Moustakas, Jason Vargas, and Chris Young.

As usual, the Angels had a big pregame ceremony to celebrate the new season. This included a fly-over, player introductions, etc. If you've never been to an Opening Day game, I recommend doing so. It's a great experience for any baseball fan.

On hand to throw out the first pitch was former Angel pitcher Mike Witt. Witt has always been a tough autograph to get since he rarely comes to Angel games and does not sign TTM (through the mail). The only times that I've seen him at the ballpark was during the Angels 50th anniversary season in 2011. Ironically, I saw him at both games that I went to this weekend, and had him sign a ROMLB.

I had to ask Witt to sign it under the sweet spot instead of on it. That's because I planned on turning it into a dual ball with Mark Langston. Langston and Witt threw the first (and only) combined No-Hitter in Angel history on April 11th, 1990, so I had Langston, who started the game, sign it on the sweet spot with the inscription later that night.

The ball might be irrelevant to anyone else, but for an Angel fan like myself, it's a great piece to have.

Game Two (4/11/15):

Game two was pretty much a carbon copy of game one. I didn't do great the first half of the day and only got some cards signed by a few Royals.

Amongst those five cards you'll notice a card signed by Jeff Montgomery. Montgomery is the Royals all-times saves leader, and I had no idea that he was traveling with the team until this awesome experience: While waiting for Royals players to come in, a man dressed in a Royals t-shirt came up to us and asked if we were autograph seekers. Of course, we said yes and the man proceeded to ask if he could borrow a Sharpie. One of my friends, Jeremy, asked if he was a fan looking for autographs and the man replies, "No, I'm an old player and got these cards in the mail to sign. I asked the front desk for a Sharpie and they didn't have one". He then pulled out some cards from an envelope and it was none other than Jeff Montgomery. He ended up giving me one of the cards since I let him use my Sharpie, so if anyone gets their Montgomery TTM back one short, thanks for the card. 

My day took a turn for the better right before the game started as I was able to get the best player in baseball, Mike Trout to sign a ball. Trout ran with a blue Sharpie right before the game was about to start, and I didn't have time to pull out anything other than my ball, but I can't complain since I was one of the very few that he sweet spotted.

The final autograph I got came from Eric Karros. Karros was calling the game for Fox Sports 1 and stopped to sign on his way out. Unfortunately he was in a hurry and was giving out sloppy autographs. Had I known this I wouldn't have asked for an autograph, but he was still kind enough to add "92 ROY".

That wrapped up the weekend. A shout out to the usual including Mike, David, Ryan, Phil, Scotty, and others. Thanks for reading!