Monday, April 27, 2015

Dodgers at Padres: My First Road Game. . . . and HR Derby (04/25/15)

This game was filled with a lot of firsts for me: first road game, driving all the way to a stadium, first timer in the field level seats, and apparently a home run derby.  I drove my dad for two and half hours on the 15 freeway in order to avoid traffic, but there still was some congestion here and there probably with the alluding rain about to come at any moment.  Thankfully, it was manageable as we got there at 3:05 p.m., an hour before the gates open.  I'm glad that I bought both the game tickets and tailgate tickets in advance in order to easily progress to the stadium.

Like most baseball fans, I hope to visit all of the Major League stadiums across the country and was pleased to choose Petco Park as the first stadium to visit on the road.

My first experience with the metal detectors at baseball stadiums was just as smooth as those in Staples Center.  Security made sure to get ready by the time gates opened at 4:10, the usual ninety minutes before the start of the game at Petco.  I had no clue that the Padres were giving away a calendar with the front cover of Matt Kemp holding puppies.

I was happy with the tickets I purchased, as we were sitting in Section 122, Row 25, in the seats to the far left.  Our seats were easily in close proximity to the third base line with the players warming up before the game.

Hi there Jon!

Great view of the field and the skyline.

Selfie near the third  base line.

Selfie right next to the field.

My autograph experience was not successful whatsoever.  I did not see the Padres take batting practice since it probably happened before I entered the stadium.  The Dodgers also pretty much did not sign, except Kershaw who tried to rack as many people as possible.  Had I moved more to the right of the dugout earlier, I think I could have made it.

Another near miss was during the Dodgers' batting practice.  There was a foul ball that literally rolled right through this part of the wall that I was hanging around.

Here is a video that I uploaded on YouTube of Brandon McCarthy's pregame warm up pitches.

This was my view for the entire game.  Like I said, it was worth the money.

The pregame festivities included a local school marching band performing the Star Spangled Banner.

Justin Upton also received his Silver Slugger award for his time with the Braves last year, a complete omen of things to come during the game.

The game started quite well for the Dodgers.  As soon as Jimmy Rollins got the first hit, Andre Ethier showed us that he is back in form with a home run to right field.  Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal reached on base hits and Carl Crawford did the same thing to try to drive them both in, but Grandal was called out on a very close play at home.  Sadly, that lead was short lived as Myers lead off the bottom of the first inning with his home run, followed by a two run shot by the silver slugger Upton, which also scored Kemp.  Just like that, the game was tied.

Thankfully, the Dodgers redeemed themselves in the second inning as Adrian Gonzalez, with Pederson and Ethier on base, hit a three run blast to right.  What's up with right field getting all the love?  I'm not kidding because Kendrick hit a home run of his own in center and Uribe followed with his own long shot to right in the fifth inning.  That was pretty much it for Ian Kennedy, who started for the Padres.

In between innings when I had to use the restroom, I explored the upper deck section of the left field pavilion.

I was also not that far from the Padres Fox crew and camera, which could have hit me as I made my way down the steps back to my seat.

I cannot tell you how much I tried to convey the light drizzle with the progression  of the game.  In the bottom of the sixth inning, Solarte and Kemp got on base in order to set up the stage for Upton, who hit another home run to right center.  McCarthy was then taken out of the game as a trainer followed him back to the dugout.

Here is my attempt at a panorama as Sergio Santos came out to warm up.  He was not good whatsoever as he looked out of place with his own mechanics as pitches landed on the dirt.  Derek Norris took advantage of the opportunity as he scored Yonder Alonso with a base hit.  The game would go on with a back and forth battle of the Dodgers and Padres bullpens.

The cheerleaders eventually came out to do their usual cheer stuff by getting the fans excited as they threw soft balls into the crowd.  They then exited the stadium through means of the stairs from my left; another benefit from sitting in the field level.

I made a decent glance at the game clocks that are now utilized in all ball games.

For some fans in the upper level above me, they were quite generous in throwing money.

Near the end of the game, the Padres revealed that it was pretty much indeed a sold out game with an attendance of 44,454.  The Dodgers ended up scoring one more run in the eighth thanks to Ethier before I decided to go with my dad for the two hour ride back home.  I was starving as I really was immersed into the game with all the dramatic home runs.  The Dodgers need to do this more often. As we rode our way back home with ease, seriously the tailgate was not from from the freeway, I checked the game on the phone to confirm that the Dodgers indeed win the game with a score of 11 - 8.

Some day, I will come here to graph ball players and cross it out my bucket list of visiting all baseball stadiums.

I would also like to come to the Honda Center for a similar reason.

I certainly loved having the experience of enjoying a ball game with my dad.  The trek was a rewarding experience as it had that playoff vibe in which both sides cheered passionately as one team scored over the other and so forth.  With that I wish you all a pleasant Monday and I'll see you again as late as May 12 for the Clayton Kerhsaw Cy Young and MVP bobblehead.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Rick Monday Autograph Signing at Frank and Son (4/19/15)

If there is anything that I love about blogging, it's that I am happy to share my experience with each and every one of you.  The autograph hobby has provided me a state of  relaxation, especially when I have recently been busy writing essays for my college courses as the semester is winding down. With that said, I came down to Frank and Son on Saturday in order to acquire Rick Monday's autograph on an 8x10 photograph.  The turnaround for the event was at the point where walking around was doable.  Honabach and Sons set up the lines in a way that the autograph lines would separate themselves from each other (like FanFest).  I purchased my ticket at just the right time because I ended up being in the VIP line for Monday, which gave me a perfect view of behind the curtains next to me.

What I meant was that I was able to see the attending Dodgers behind the curtain preparing to walk to their autograph tables.  Here is Scott Van Slyke.

I don't know how to explain the excitement I get when seeing big league players up close.  It is sort of a vibe that I get once being handed the opportunity to take pictures of these men as everyone else gets ready to get their stuff signed.

New Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal gets ready to head over to his table.

As does Rick Monday, a hero and legend in his own right.

Here I am trying to act like the paparazzi in order to get a shot of Justin Turner.

Howie Kendrick, on the other hand, proceeded to take photo ops with people who purchased that said opportunity.

Scott Van Slyke went to go join in on the photo opportunities.

So did Justin.

The VIP line certainly proved to be beneficial for me as it did not take that much time to meet Mr. Monday.

Like most signers, Mr. Monday was extremely pleasant to meet in person.  We each exchanged greetings as I gave him the photograph to get signed in silver sharpie.  Afterwords, I shook hands with Monday to show my respect and admiration for what he has done in the baseball world.

What an amazing autograph.  I also got PSA/DNA in order to give this beautiful signature the authentication that it needed.  I was not done with my visit to Frank and Son as I needed to purchase baseball cards, photos, and a baseball in order to get ready for next Saturday.  On April 25, I will be heading out to Petco Park with my father in order to see the Dodgers play.  I am going to the game as my 19th birthday will be on April 30.  I would also certainly like to start my own bucket list of visiting the other major league ballparks and acquire more autographs in the process.  I will be sitting down near the third base line in Section 122, so I will be doing my research on autographs in Petco Park and I would be glad to hear any tips from you guys who have had previous experience.

Thank you guys for reading today.  As I prepare the next weekend to come, I leave you all with the "Wall of Fame" I have been working on since I started getting into the hobby more attentively.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Eric Gagne Autograph Signing at Frank and Son (04/04/15)

I am not going to lie with the fact that I procrastinated in attending this autograph signing.  At first I was actually contemplating if I should have attended the Steve Garvey signing that I barely found out about the day before considering that it was a free event and Garvey is a much sought addition for the Infield project that I want to complete.  However, Frank and Son had a rare appearance by an extremely popular Dodger that pretty much told me to not even think about missing this event: Eric Gagne.

As you guys may remember, I attended the Paul Lo Duca signing two weeks ago and received an autograph on an 8x10 that had the catcher with none other than Gagne himself.  My conscious pretty much convinced me with going with the Gagne signing at Frank and Son since he is a tough autograph to acquire and I was given the precious opportunity of completing the project of these former battery mates.  Plus, I was given hope that I can get Steve Garvey for free in the future, especially since a fellow signer informed me that the legendary first baseman attends Quakes games from time to time, which I hope to do this season.

I arrived at Frank and Son with the family around 12:30 in order to give me a good pace in terms of the timing with the event.  Gagne was not scheduled to sign until 1:00, which is why I chose not to arrive early in the morning because I would have been tired out.  Hall of Fame sports had their yearly spring event as they were selling autographed photos at a great price, though I had no interest myself. However, I did buy a total of 30 raffle tickets for $20 in order to receive this Elgin Baylor jersey. They also gave the customer the alternative choice of receiving a Chris Paul jersey.

Eric Gagne arrived a couple of minutes after 1:00, but did not start signing autographs until 1:30, due to being occupied with customers who wished to do a photo op.  Gagne got down to signing items for people who attended and even took the understandably brief time of taking photos. Thankfully, I was wise with how I paced myself with the event because there was a good turnaround for the event both the autograph and JSA lines.  Nevertheless, I was filled with anxiousness that brought out the nostalgia of my young days rooting for Gagne upon getting the former closer's autograph.  I happily handed him my photo to get signed while also taking a photo quickly.  I must say that Gagne was a bit thrown off when I happily offered a handshake, which he accepted, probably due to his wishes of making a smooth signing for him and the fans alike.

I would love to thank Hall of Fame sports for organizing an amazing event that was comfortable enough for my legs to withstand a wait that was gradual.  More importantly, I would love to thank Eric Gagne for coming out to give many signers the opportunity to add his signature on numerous items, like my photograph.  This is just my second project that I manage to complete and I hope this baseball season gives me more opportunities such as this one.  With that in mind, I wish you all a good day, a safe Easter, and a hyped new season of Dodger baseball.