Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Nomar Garciaparra Autograph Signing at Glendale Galleria (12/13/14)

If there was one baseball player's autograph that I had wanted to acquire all year long, it had to be Nomar Garciaparra.  Prior to the FanFest held in February, I had bought a Nomar Garciaparra 8x10 in hopes of having him sign it.  After all, I was being realistic over the autograph tickets that I would buy or at least were available.  Sadly, the Nomar autograph ticket was sold out as quickly as I could have cursed over the tickets selling out in quick fashion.  If you remember from my FanFest post, I did at least get a Shawn Green autograph, which was my other priority.  Nevertheless, I was a bit frustrated that I could not have gotten a Nomar autograph before they sold out, which forced me to properly store the photograph in one of my drawers.

Flash forward all the way to last Saturday where the possibility of getting Nomar's autograph was finally achievable.  I had discovered in November that the Dodgers were going to continue the tradition of the Mall Tours, where former and (possibly) current players would attend for autograph signings.  However, the Dodgers had posted only two Mall Tours, which really bummed me out even more because I wanted to complete my projects on the 1981 World Series MVPs and The Infield as soon as possible.  Oh well, I still had my hopes as high as possible as the 8x10, that I would sometimes take out throughout the year and inspect, finally saw the light of day in being signed.

I had arrived at the Glendale Galleria about twenty minutes prior to the start of the Fernando Valenzuela signing.  My mindset was that if I had arrived before Fernando started signing, then my chances of acquiring Nomar's autograph would increase.  I was not the only person that was also doing the same strategy in getting Nomar's autograph, as many people knew they had a better shot at him than with Fernando.  The line was very unusual to me, as it had really extended to the parking lot, so no autograph seekers would impede the flow of shoppers walking all around the mall.  One security guard informed me to get in the back of the line simply because whoever got cut off from Fernando would start the line for Nomar.  Just as another security guard was about to mess up and start a completely different line for Nomar, a Dodgers representative confirmed that it was fine standing in line as whoever got cut off would definitely start it. 

Having calmed down from that experience, all I had to do was endure the long in between break from Fernando's departure to Nomar's arrival.  I'm not going to lie, the wait tired me out and I was a bit disgusted over the parking lot, as many people from before had just littered their food onto the floor.  There were even moments in which I just did not want to sit down on the pavement that looked like it was filled with oil and bacteria, but I had no other choice as my back would kill me in the long run.  Thankfully my experience was gradually becoming more bearable as I came across a fellow instagram user, icollectdodgerautos.  We both had a conversation previously about how the event would possible be organized and continued discussing about the event.  I guess it really is a small world after all.
As you can tell from the pictures, I had a long way to get through.  The line had me spiral twice before I can even get close to the inside structure of the mall.  Like I said, merging the people getting Fernando with the ones acquiring Nomar helped me out as I was not too far away from the entrance of the mall when Nomar arrived.  When I was getting near to Nomar, I had a lot of stuff in my mind, ranging from actually getting the autograph after a year's worth of waiting to finally getting something to eat. 
Once I got extremely close to Nomar, that's when the sense of accomplishment started to kick in.  I knew that I can knock off another Dodgers great from my list.  I should note that the mother that was in front of me asked if I would like an additional autograph.  I gave her a baseball that was filled with previous autographs so Nomar can sign it.  I did, however, scolded myself for not even trying to bring the Nomar bobblehead that I had in my collection, but it would have required more effort on my behalf to be cautious. 
Nomar was definitely a pleasant man to meet.  Upon handing him the photograph, I asked him how he was doing.  He happily replied that things were doing good for him, except that he was a bit under the weather.  Therefore, when I offered a handshake, he had no other choice but to inform me of his condition and we fist bumped.  I was happy though that the experience was well worth my time and effort.

Now I am definitely most proud to say that I have added two Nomar autographs to my collection.  I am also happy to add Nomar's photo to my Dodgers Wall of Fame, knowing that I am more relieved more than ever.  Is there a moral to this experience?  Yes, the most tiresome of experiences can bring the most reward.  Also, I just finished my first semester of college, so I'll make sure to get back into writing more posts.