Results tagged ‘ Autographs ’
Around a month ago, I blogged about the through the mail (TTM) autograph requests I was planning to send off to players during Spring Training. At the end of the post, I stated that I was going to be publishing a blog post every time I received back a couple autographs. Having received two more TTM autograph requests since my last update, I’ve now gotten back half of the requests I sent out, so I figured I’d post another update:
CASEY KELLY–PADRES ORGANIZATION
Casey Kelly is currently ranked as the number 69 prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. He would probably be higher had it of not been for an elbow injury he endured for most of last season. An injury that limited Kelly to just 14 games pitched; 6 of which came in the majors. In the 6 games pitched at the big league level, Kelly went 2-3, with a 6.21 ERA, but showed signs of his readiness to be a major league pitcher. If Kelly doesn’t begin the season with the Padres, it would be a real shame. He has the ability to be an impact player for an improving Padres team.
JASON MOTTE–ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Although the ink from the autograph smudged off a bit in the mail, I’m very happy to add Jason Motte’s autograph to my collection. Topping out at 100, and regularly hitting the upper 90′s, Motte’s overpowering fastball is what makes him one of the best closers in the game. Last season, Motte saved a total of 42 games for the Cardinals, recording 86 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched, on a 2.75 ERA. This season should see Motte posting more of the same type of stats as last year.
I still have autograph requests out for Mariano Rivera, Adam Jones, Tyler Skaggs, A.J. Pierzynski and Justin Masterson, so hopefully they’ll come back soon, so I can write about them; though there’s no guarantee they’ll come back at all.
A few weeks ago, I blogged about the through the mail (TTM) autograph requests I was planning to send off to players during Spring Training. At the end of the post, I stated that I was going to be publishing a blog post every time I received back a few autographs, and now that I’ve successfully gotten back some of the requests I sent, I figured I’d go ahead and type this entry up.
Of the ten total TTM’s I sent off, I’ve received three of them back, with them being from:
STEFEN ROMERO–MARINERS ORGANIZATION
Stefen Romero’s 2012 season was truly remarkable. Batting .352 with 23 home runs and 101 RBI’s, including 34 doubles, between A+ and AA, Romero showed his ability to produce stats far above what’s generally expected from a 12th round draft pick. If he can keep on producing the same type of numbers in the coming season, it shouldn’t be too long before he’s helping out the big league club, up in Seattle.
DANNY HULTZEN–MARINERS ORGANIZATION
Danny Hultzen is currently ranked as the number 18 overall prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. Though a promotion from AA to AAA, mid-season, resulted in a bit of a struggle for Hultzen, overall, he had a decent 2012 season, posting a 9-7 record, with a 3.05 ERA. If Hultzen can find his groove again this season it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise if he receives a call up from the Mariners towards the end of the year.
SONNY GRAY–ATHLETICS ORGANIZATION
Though he had a rocky 2012 season–going 6-9 with a 4.26 ERA–many are still thinking that Sonny Gray will eventually pan out to become the front line starter he’s projected to become. I have to agree, and certainly hope so. Gray ended the 2012 season with AAA, and as with Hultzen, if he can get his pitching consistency back under control, Gray could earn a job pitching for the Oakland A’s at some point this season.
I still have autograph requests out for Mariano Rivera, Adam Jones, Casey Kelly, Tyler Skaggs, Jason Motte, A.J. Pierzynski and Justin Masterson, so hopefully they’ll come back soon, so I can write about them; though there’s no guarantee they’ll come back at all.
Today marks the official reporting date for pitchers and catchers to Spring Training, and therefore, after nearly four months since the Giants won the 2012 World Series, it’s officially time for baseball once again. For die-hard baseball fans, like myself, this long awaited day couldn’t have come sooner.
The Red Sox, Rockies, Cubs and Indians had their pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Sunday, however, the majority of pitchers and catchers are set to report to camp sometime over the course of the next 48 hours: The D-back’s, Braves, Reds, Tigers, Astros, Royals, Marlins, Mets, Athletics and Pirates reporting date is today, with the Orioles, White Sox, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, Twins, Yankees, Cardinals, Padres, Giants, Mariners, Rays, Rangers, Blue Jays and Nationals set to report tomorrow. (The Phillies’ pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday.)
Once all of the pitchers and catchers have reported, on Wednesday, there will be a mere 45 days until the first official game of the 2013 MLB regular season, which begins on March 31st, with the Houston Astros taking on the Texas Rangers.
But I’m not quite ready to jump ahead to the start of the regular season, just yet, as I still have a lot I want to talk about in the coming weeks. Therefore, for the time being, I’d like to take a minute to discuss something I love to do this time of year (besides watch Spring Training games on TV.) Every Spring Training, for the past two or three years, I’ve sent out a handful of through the mail (TTM) autograph requests to different players around the league. This year, I’m going to be sending out a dozen, or so, TTM’s, with the best player being Mariano Rivera.
Rivera is known to be one of the better TTM autograph signers (as far as big name players go), if you send to him during Spring Training, however, I’ve failed to get back an auto from Rivera in either of the past two years that I’ve sent to him. This year, I’m hoping to have better luck, as with this (more than likely) being Rivera’s final season, it’s basically my final shot.
While Rivera is the player that I’m most hoping to receive back, he’s not the only well known player that I’m hoping to obtain a signature from. In addition to Rivera, I’m sending out requests to guys like Jason Motte, Adam Jones, Justin Masterson, etc., who, according to what I’ve read, are decent signers through the mail.
I’m also planning to send to a few minor league players, who received an invitation to big league Spring Training, including Danny Hultzen, Casey Kelly and Stefen Romero, who are all supposed to be great about signing.
As stated, my overall TTM autograph history is a short one; I’ve only been doing it for the past few years. In that short time, however, I’ve acquired a few decent players’ autographs. My best ever success, which coincidentally was my first success, came from Mark McGwire, back in March of 2011. Apparently, McGwire doesn’t sign TTM all that often, but for some reason he decided to do so for a few weeks during Spring Training. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to get that one back.
I’m planning to post a blog entry for every autograph I receive back from the players I’m sending TTM requests to during Spring Training. Hopefully, it won’t be all that terribly long before I start getting them back (maybe a few weeks?). So be sure to check back for that, over the course of the next few months….
The forecast for this game was rain; and rain it did–up until around 5:00, when I left for Durham, NC. Luckily, when I arrived to the ballpark at around 5:45, the dry spell continued, and I was able to grab a spot near the front of the line without having to get soaked.
Gate 1 already had tons of people lined up behind it when I arrived, so I headed over to Gate 2. Behind Gates 1 and 2 there were two lines (normally four) in which you could enter the ballpark, and just my luck, I picked the wrong one. The lady that was scanning tickets had no idea what she was doing. Heck, she couldn’t even figure out how to get the gate open, as she had to wave down an orange shirt employee to come help her out. (As you can kind of see in the left portion of this photo posted by the Durham Bulls):
I was able to cut my way into the other line, but it really didn’t help. I was stuck outside Gate 2, as people filed in through Gate 1.
All I could do was watch as dozens of people entered the ballpark–many of which I assumed were headed down to the dugouts (just like I was planning to do) to get autographs. Finally–after what seemed like an eternity of waiting–I made my way into the ballpark and down to the extremely crowded Pawtucket Red Sox dugout.
Going into this game I had made the decision that I wanted to go for autos from Pawtucket Red Sox’ players such as Danny Valencia, Bryce Brentz, etc., instead of Reno Aces standouts like Trevor Bauer, A.J. Pollock, etc. Unfortunately for me Danny Valencia didn’t sign, and Bryce Brentz signed for everyone BUT me. Meanwhile, I watched as the entire Reno Aces team (or so it seemed) signed for everyone who wanted an autograph.
It was one of those days.
After it became evident that I had failed in getting autos from the players I wanted, I made my first logical decision of the day. I knew American Idol Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery was going to be throwing out the first pitch, so I made my way over to the Reno Aces dugout where I predicted he would come out from. Sure enough, after a few minutes of waiting, Scotty emerged from the clubhouse:
McCreery then proceeded to make his way out to the mound to throw out the first pitch:
The starting pitchers for both teams–Trevor Bauer, for the Aces, and Nelson Figueroa, for the Red Sox–had both been great so far in the post season…:
…but in the end only one could be crowned Triple-A National Champions. It was going to come down to which lineup performed better on this particular day, as you had to figure the pitching was going to be stellar.
My view at the start of the game (from my ticketed seat) was this:
Did you notice how empty the outfield seats were in the picture above? Well, the desire to snag a home run ball got the better of me, as this soon became my view:
Check out the view to my left (1) , right (2) , and behind me (3):
I sat out there for a few innings, but around the 6th inning it began to rain so I headed back to my original seat (which happened to sheltered). On my way back I was surprised at how many people were making their way towards the exits. I mean, come on. I realize the Red Sox were getting killed—the rain didn’t make it any better–but this was the Triple-A National Championship. How could you leave early?! I don’t get it.
By the time the ninth inning rolled around there weren’t that many people left:
Soon after taking that picture I decided to move down a little closer to the field. My view of the final out (and the victory celebration by the Reno Aces) came from the first base side of the ballpark…:
…but my view of the trophy presentation came from the third base side:
I want to take a second to say congrats to the Reno Aces. They were extremely impressive in their 10-3 victory. I had a feeling that they would come out on top–as they had top prospect Trevor Bauer on the mound, backed by an impressive lineup–but anytime you go up against a team that had gone 6-1 in the playoffs up to that point, you never really know what the outcome may be.
As stated in my last blog entry, this was my final baseball game of the year. This is not, however, my last blog entry of the year by any means. There’s still a couple weeks left in MLB’s regualr season, followed by the play offs, and the World Series, so I’ll have plenty to blog about in the weeks/months to come….
My grandparent’s and I arrived to the ballpark at around 6:00. The gates where just being opened, and I wanted to be one of the first people inside so that I would have the best chance of getting some autographs.
So imediately after my ticket was scanned, I headed down to the railing next to the tunnel in which every player, from both teams, has to walk through, to get to the dugouts from the locker room.
There were three players that I wanted to get autographs from the most. They were: Christian Yelich (top ten prospect for the Florida Marlins), Marcell Ozuma (top ten prospect for the Florida Marlins), and Brett Bochy (son of San Fransisco Giant’s manager, Bruce Bochy).
I saw all three of them as they came through the tunnel, but was only successful in getting one of their autographs. It came from Christian Yelich:
I took another picture of a player in the on deck circle later in that inning. It was of Christian Yelich:
Notice the railing directly next to me. I picked to sit in this spot due to the fact that it was next to the tunnel in which the players enter and exit. This way, I wouldn’t have to run down to the tunnel after the game.
Out in right field foul ground, there is a hill, in which anyone that has a ticket to the game can go and sit/stand on:Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to leave my seat for a few minutes to go watch the game from the hill. This was my view:
I was a little nervous during the time I spent on the hill. It’s very easy for lefties to pull a ball and send it zipping towards the hill. I wasn’t wearing a glove, and didn’t want to end up with a sore hand, so I stood towards the back of the hill.
I took this time at the back of the hill to photograph the outfield wall. Take a look:
It’s hard to tell, but behind the right field wall there is a gap where fans can stand. If a home run is hit to that area it is fairly easy to get the ball. Keep that in mind, as it will come into play later.
After around 10 minutes on the hill I headed back to my assigned seat. To my surprise there was a large cockroach in the tunnel next to me. No, not a real one. But a man in a cockroach outfit:
Did you notice the blue boxing gloves he had on? (They’re kind of blurred because he was moving his hands all around.) The kid in the tunnel, as you can see, also had boxing gloves. It turns out the cockroach and the kid where going to fight it out on the field inbetween innings:
That photo was taken in the bottom of the eigth inning, and that’s how things ended.
A complete blowout by the Grasshoppers.
Remember earlier in the entry when I told you to keep in mind that if a home run was hit over the right field wall it was fairly easy to catch? Well, a player for the Grasshoppers name Noah Perio, hit two home runs over the right field fence during the game. One of the home run balls ended up in the possesion of a guy, who after the game came over to try to get Noah to sign the ball. Here’s the conversation that went down between the guy and Noah:
Random guy: “Noah, this is one of the two home runs balls that you hit tonight. Will you sign it for me?”
Noah: “Hold on a second, and I’ll go get you another ball and sign that one.”
Random guy: “I’d rather you sign the home run ball.”
Noah: “Are you sure?”
Random guy: “Yes.”
So the guy handed the ball to Noah to sign. But there was a slight problem. The guy didn’t have anything for Noah to sign it with. So the guy glanced over at me and said, “Hey. Could I borrow your sharpie?”
I wanted to tell him that if he was stupid enough to not bring anything for a player to sign with, that he didn’t deserve the autograph at all. But being the kind, generous person I am, I smiled and said, “Sure.”
The guy was happy, and after seeing that it was MY sharpie that the man borrowed, Noah gladly signed my program. So I was happy too.
I later got the manager of the grasshoppers, Andy Haines, to sign my program. Here’s Andy’s and Noah’s augtographs on the cover:
Andy’s is the one that you can read, and Noah’s, well, I’m not really sure what his says. Looks like a bunch of random lines to me. But hey, getting an autograph from a guy on THE night he hits two home runs is pretty cool. So I can’t complain.
After getting the autographs from Noah and Andy, my grandparents and I made our way towards the exit.
We would be back at 11:30 the next morning……
Remember 5 days ago when I blogged that I was going to send out a few items this week, in hopes to have them sent back signed? Well, just in case you have a bad memory, or didn’t read it at all, CLICK HERE. (Or just scroll down.)
Anyway, I sent out two cards so far. A Mark McGwire and a Mariano Rivera. I know that Mark McGwire did steroids, and that Mariano Rivera is extremely popular. But according to sportscollectors.net, they are both signing a good deal of autographs through the mail. So I decided to give them both a shot.
I’ll post pictures of the autographs when/if, I get them back, in a later entry…….
Starting next week, I am going to mail out some items to several baseball players, with the hopes of autograph success. I haven’t decided exactly who yet, or how many players I’m going to send things to…..but I am going to send out at least a few.
I have no idea what to expect…….Will they sign at all? How long will it take? But I am looking forward to finding out the answers to these questions.
I’ll post an entry of the autographs I get (if any) at a later time. So stay tuned……
In other autograph news, I am planning on going to the June 21st game between the Reds and the Yankees. (It is in Cincinnati, Ohio.) I am planning on arriving at Great American Ballpark at around 1:00 for a 7:10 game. Why? For autographs……of course. I am going to stand at the Yankees entrance from around 1:00 to around 4:00. Then try my luck during BP for autographs. I know it sounds stupid to arrive at 1:00 for a 7:10 game. But the way I see it, I REALLY want an autograph. So why not give my self the best opportunity to do so?
If there is anyone reading this that has ever tried and succeeded (or failed) at getting an autograph by mail, I’d love to hear your story.