Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016 Dodgers FanFest Recap - The Best Autograph Experience (So Far)

Yesterday was by far the most successful autograph experience I have had in my life up to date. It all began when autograph vouchers went up on sale on the twenty - second, as I was able to acquire a good amount of the most sought out autograph sessions that most fans had hoped to get.  I was able to buy them by persistently refreshing the page and constantly clicking on the sessions as they came up at every opportunistic moment.

My family and I arrived at Dodger Stadium around the time the parking gates opened.  From there we got in line to enter the Left Field gate.  Before I got in line for the first autograph session, I helped my family to receive their wristbands, so they could enjoy the rest of the festivities.  The first autograph session I waited for was Orel Hershiser and Yimi Garcia.  Naturally, I was excited with getting the opportunity to meet a former Cy Young Winner, so I bought an 8x10 in order to include it in my Wall of Fame.

Here is a look at the photo I was able to get him to sign.  Thank you very much Orel; it was a pleasure to meet you.

As for Yimi, I asked him to sign his 2015 Topps Heritage card.  This is a dual "Rookie Stars" baseball card that also includes Melvin Mercedes of the Detroit Tigers, whom I'll mail an extra card in order to knock off the card for my Heritage set.

The next session I waited in line for was Shawn Green and Ross Stripling.  I opted to get my bobblehead signed.  I usually don't go as crazy with signed bobbleheads, but this was an exception since I already have a signed 8x10 of Shawn from two years back.

The next item I got signed was the Dodgers team card from the 2015 Heritage set.  I got Ross Stripling, Bill Russell, and Josh Ravin to sign it.  On a footnote, I was originally going to get Bill Russell to sign my helmet, but I changed my mind and opted for the convenience of the card, so that I may move over to my left easily to get Chase Utley.

I had two sessions in the 12:10 hour.  I decided to head over to the Chase Utley and Bill Russell line first considering that more people were getting in line.  Plus, I knew I could just move quickly towards the Brandon McCarthy and Mickey Hatcher line once I was done.  I also got Chase to sign his respective card from the 2015 Heritage set.

Continuing the trend with the 2015 Topps Heritage cards, I got Brandon McCarthy to sign one the minute I moved over to his session with Hatcher.  As you can see I got him to sign the card just before he was getting set to leave.

Meanwhile, I had an 8x10 of Mickey Hatcher that was lying around in my desk for months. Therefore, it was a great opportunity to get it signed by him.

Due to the dark background, I got Mickey to sign it with a Silver Sharpie.

Afterwards, I headed back in line to get ready for two sessions in the 1:10 hour. The first of the two was Justin Turner and Josh Ravin.  As with everyone else, I had him sign his heritage card for the set. Overall, his signature looks just as awesome as the Scott Van Slyke hat that he was wearing.

The last autograph session of the day for me was Dave Roberts and Bob Geren.  I had the new Dodgers manager sign my baseball on the sweet spot.

As for Bob Geren, I decided to get him to sign the Mets team card from the 2015 Heritage set. My mind set was that since he was the previous bench coach for the team that it made sense to get him to sign it and add it to the collection.  With that, came an end to an amazing day at the stadium.  I hope that this event was a sign of good fortune for me to build upon for the upcoming season.  I wish you all a good day and an upcoming season full of goals to look forward to.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Howie Kendrick Autograph Signing at Alhambra Nissan (08/15/15)

The Howie Kendrick autograph signing at Alhambra Nissan was almost like a last minute autograph event.  AM 570 barely announced the event on Wednesday through the radio, which caused me to call ahead of time to confirm the event's time frame.  When I called, the employee confirmed that the signing was going to be on its scheduled date from 10:30 - 11:30 in the morning.  Now that I knew that the signing was taking place, I was glad to take such an opportunity to go and get another Topps Heritage card signed for my set.

When I woke up at 7:00 in the morning, I checked my Instagram account (because that's what I usually do) and saw from a guy that I followed that people were already at the event.  I then responded by pretty much getting ready to take off with my father after drinking our cup of coffee, so that we could find some parking and a spot in the line.  Now from the start of our arrival, my fear about getting parking was confirmed due to the location the Nissan was from residency.  A good number of parking from the nearby residential street and business lots were taken by signers, but my dad barely succeeded in getting parking.  The same could not be said for those who parked across the street at the Chase Bank because the locals essentially complained about everyone parking over there and got the cops to threaten them with tickets.  This is just one of those signings where the number of people waiting surpassed the vicinity of the autograph location.

Anyway, the amount of people did not disjoint my ability to wait until Howie arrived for his signing. Only one factor hindered my comfort in waiting in line: the August heat wave that was building up as the morning gradually passed by.  Thankfully, there were a couple of shade spots that I utilized before the employees constructed the line in a proper manner close to the entrance, minutes before the signing, so that we could get out of said weather.  As the signing started, it went at a modest gradual pace, with people getting their respective items signed and happily greeting the Dodgers second baseman.

My father and I entered the dealership to get our autographs with twenty minutes left in the signing.  I gave Kendrick my card to get signed in blue sharpie.  On a side note, the signing only provided black sharpies for anyone wanting a card or photo signed, so it was a good idea for me to bring my own markers since blue is a better preference to sign cards.  This is the ninth Topps Heritage card I have gotten signed for this year's set.

My father helped me out with getting Howie to sign a 2011 All Star Game baseball underneath the logo to close our stay at the event.  I am glad that another free event was provided by some company who took the initiative to make it worthwhile so the fans could get their necessary items signed and meet a respected player like Howie.  Thank you Howie for coming out to sign for all fans alike and thanks to all who were involved in today's event.  More importantly, thank you for reading and have a good day.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Scott Van Slyke Autograph Signing at Food 4 Less (07/31/15)

I already have Scott Van Slyke's autograph from when I got my 8x10 signed by him at FanFest, but my new-found interest in getting the 2015 Topps Heritage set signed required me to get him once more. Well, a Food 4 Less store in Pasadena was scheduled to have Van Slyke sign autographs for one hour starting at 11.  Knowing that this could possibly be more of a turnaround than the Baez signing from earlier in the month, I arranged for my friend Jimmy to save a spot for me and my dad. When I arrived at the Food 4 Less with my father, there was still plenty of parking and about thirty people were in front of Jimmy.  Had I not been able to keep in contact to make a game plan with Jimmy, I would have waited an hour and a half in the sun in the second half of the line that was to the left of this one.

Scott arrived to the signing ten minutes prior to the start of his scheduled appearance and pretty much went straight to business with getting everyone's items signed in a timely manner.  The exact same Kellogg's crew was in charge of this event, so the same regulations that occurred at the Baez signing was applied to this one.

I handed my card to Scott so he could sign it and, while doing so, the same Kellogg employee from last time took a good picture of me posing next to him.  My dad also got Scott to sign an 8x10 that Kellogg's provided with authentication for Jimmy while he got a bat signed.

I'm glad that Kellogg's took on another signing event and handled it well so the fans who attended today could progress with such ease.  Huge thanks to Scott for signing, Jimmy for helping us out and a shout out to Jose from icollectdodgerautos, who happened to be waiting behind us when we arrived. Thank you everyone for reading and have a pleasant weekend.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Autograph Recap - Tim Leary (07/29/15)

Yesterday, Tim Leary was scheduled to sign autographs in the left field plaza.  Since it was also Yasiel Puig's bobblehead night, I made the diligent effort to get to the stadium with my father in a good paced manner.  After all, getting into the stadium during an important promotion is not as simple as it sounds considering when you have to get through the ill mannered five freeway and get parking.  Well, we were able to get through these obstacles with as much comfort and patience as we could possibly display in order to get to our destination safely.  Upon going through the stadium gates, we immediately received our bobbleheads and headed over straight to the table Tim happened to be at for his signing.

I gave Tim my baseball to sign on the sweet spot and also asked him to inscribe "1988 World Series Champion", which he happily did on the side panel below the sweet spot.   Tim was certainly a great person to meet as he took the time to sign autographs and take pictures, while also displaying the World Series ring that he won with the Dodgers.  As I do more of these in person signings, I will attempt to gradually grow my collection of autographed sweet spot baseballs.  Thank you for reading and have a pleasant day.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pedro Baez Autograph Signing at Walmart (07/09/15)

The last free in person autograph signing I attended was the Nomar Garciaparra event that was held back in December of last year.  Since then, I have been focusing on paid autograph signings that I thought were necessary in terms of the need for such a specific player's signature. Upon hearing that my local Walmart in Baldwin Park was going to have a Dodger come over to sign for free, I was definitely excited for the opportunity because I have done little within the hobby for the past two months.  Initially, Yimi Garcia was scheduled to come to town to sign for an hour until noon. I was happy to hear that Yimi was coming because I needed him to sign a card for my 2015 Topps Heritage set.  However, the event was changed as Yimi was sent down to Triple A in order to make room for pitching depth coming up from the minors in the forms of Josh Ravin and Chin-hui Tsao.

I was a bit bummed out that Yimi was demoted because I really needed his autograph on that baseball card.  Even though people like to poke fun at his failures, I still recognize him as a needed bullpen arm for the postseason race due in part of his ability to strike out guys and limit walks.  As a result of the transaction, Pedro Baez was announced as the man to replace Garcia for this autograph signing.  I arrived around 9 in order to be on the safe side.  When I entered the Walmart and found the exact location of the signing event, I spotted only two men in line as the staff were organizing the final touches.  As an hour and a half went by, people started coming, though in decent numbers in a way that it didn't make look too crowded.  Pedro arrived early at around 10:35 and got down to signing in respectable fashion within a few minutes.

I gave Pedro my baseball to sign and he was happy to oblige to put his autograph on the sweet spot. This is the first signing in a long time in which I ask a player to sign his autograph on a baseball. What makes this autograph look just as cool is the fact that I decided to try out the uni-ball jetstream pen for the first time and let me say, it turned out great.

I decided that since the line wasn't too long, it was a good idea to head back in line in order to get Baez's autograph on an 8x10 photograph that the store provided.  It only took until 11:15 for me to be near the front of the line again.  Here is the photo that Pedro signed and notice the hologram authentication that was placed on the lower right.

By the way, a Walmart employee asked if I would like a photograph opportunity with Pedro the second time I came up to the front of the line.  I happily accepted the photograph opportunity that would cap off a great day at finally getting back into the groove of the autograph hobby.  The one thing that I really like about these type of organized signings is that I get to socialize with other graphers about a ton of things concerning baseball.  Thank you very much Pedro, the staff at Walmart, and everybody in attendance for making the signing a pleasant experience with no trouble being present. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dodgers vs. Marlins Game Recap (05/12/15) - Stanton Hits it Out, Dodgers Rally Forward

There is no doubt that the first bobblehead giveaway is just as anticipated as Opening Day.  The vibe that comes with a new bobblehead giveaway brings a feel of excitement as people wait impatiently to add that new Kershaw bobblehead to their collection, and with good reason.  Unlike previous years, the bobblehead was slated to be given to the first 40,000 fans entering the stadium, meaning that there is going to be less bobbleheads produced.  I left the house with my father and younger brother at about 4:00 and got there at about 4:30, ten minute before parking gates opened.  There was traffic on the five freeway, but it wasn't too bad enough to derail me from acquiring the bobblehead.  After a fairly quick and easy access through  the metal detectors, we all got our Kershaw bobblehead, with the revelation of a new box decoration.

As we entered the stadium, we were already star struck by the presence of Tommy Lasorda, who was being interviewed by the Sports Net LA reporters.  With the crowd surrounding him, there was no way I could have possibly asked for an autograph.  Besides, I only came prepared to place my bobblehead in a bag.  Afterword, we headed to the Left Field Pavilion, where we bumped into Deep Left, who commented that he wanted a win that was not as dramatic as the day before.

I sort of had a similar mentality to batting practice as I did not give care for the day as to whether I got a baseball or not.  I must do say that Giancarlo Stanton hit a mammoth of a home run that bounced off the seats from Section 305 and out of the stadium.  Therefore, I was hoping for him to display that kind of athletic ability in the game, which would be heard in his first at bat.

The Dodgers were sending out Mike Bolsinger while the Marlins countered with a former teammate in the form of Dan Haren.  In the first inning, Bolsinger got the first two batters out with ease, until Stanton came up to the plate.  I cannot explain the gut feeling inside of me that knew something was going to occur.  It was as if some sort of aura that was building up upon Stanton's approach to the game where he is completely confident at the talent that he puts forward on a day to day basis.  As fast as I could even react, Giancarlo Stanton hit a monstrous home run over the same area of the pavilion that he hit the BP homer, hitting the top of the roof and out of the park.

Luckily for the Dodgers, they put their recent strings of success with the winning streak in order to come back through.  Howie Kendrick capitalized on such of  an opportunity in order to hit a home run to right field in the third inning.  Little did I know, that was just the beginning as Ethier would go on to hit a home run of his own in the fourth inning in order to start the Dodgers rally.  Throughout the remainder of the game was filled with Dodgers hits with pretty much every position player getting involved in the action in some way.  The Dodgers ended up reaching double digits in the six inning.  It also had barely turned 9:30 during that time that we decided to leave the game in order get ready to go to school the next day.

Before we got back home, we stopped by our nearby Jack in the Box in order to get Munchie Meals.

The minute we got back home, I immediately tended to getting my bobblehead out of the box, which was far beyond my expectations of how beautifully designed it was.  Every little aspect of it, whether it be the awards presented or the mere fact that it bobbles to perfection, catches my attention to the point that it easily beats out the bobblehead of last year.  I just hope that I can collect the rest of the bobblehead giveaways that are sure to come because they look just as great as this one.  I was also glad that the Dodgers came back to display their work ethic in earning these types of wins. Thank you for reading and have a safe weekend.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sampote Sands Autograph Signing at Frank and Son (5/9/14)

Initially, I was scheduled to head over to San Diego for a cousin's birthday party, but was informed the other day that it was cancelled due to the rainfall that occurred.  With that in mind, I decided to head over to Frank and Son in order to check out what I could purchase.  Upon entering Frank and Son, this stand caught my attention due to the Ultraman statues that were displayed.

Co - owner of the Ultraman series, Sompote Sands, was signing free autographs for guests.  All what really was required was that the promoter asked for your name to be written down on a list, which Sands would then look over in order to personalize the autograph.

I gotta say, the autograph looks really nice in gold sharpie, especially if this is a simple 8.5x11 sheet of cardboard paper.  I can only remember watching Ultraman from when it was apart of Fox's FoxBox kids programming (anybody remember that?).  I really don't know that much information about the ownership rights to the series, other than the fact that Sands was vital in bringing the show outside of Japan,  which lead to some disputes with the Tsuburaya family.

In terms of my usual commitment to the baseball hobby, I purchased a Shawn Green bobblehead for $17.  I also purchased a Dan Haren and Steve Cishek 2015 Topps Heritage base card in order to be hopeful in getting them signed for this Tuesday's Dodger game against the Marlins.  However, I am anticipating to fear for the worst considering that it is a bobblehead game.  I don't think that I am going to be taking that much stuff since I am solely focused on the new Kershaw bobblehead.  Thank you for reading and I hope to inform you on one of the most anticipated games of the year that is to take place in three days.