Friday, May 5th, 2009: Tampa Bay Rays Hotel

Rain stinks. It kills sharpies, and when a player goes out you don’t want all your stuff getting ruined by trying to get them to sign. Friday was one of those days that seemed like the rain could wash everything away, including the game that night, which it ultimately did.

I got to the hotel late at around 10:45, and it would be a little while before we saw someone come out. The first players we saw were Lance Cormier and Ben Zobrist. Zobrist went to get lunch and Lance was going to go get flowers for his wife. For lance I had a board of 9 2004 SP Prospects for him to sign. Here is a signed version you can see:


Lance has a nice autograph. Some of the cards had gotten a little wet and he actually made sure each card was dry before signing it. Usually he signs one or two, but since it was raining he was in no rush to leave so he signed 6 for me. I gave one to another collector, and Lance requested to keep two of them, which was no problem at all. I told him that I had three more cards in my bag and he said “Let me get them when I get back! I gotta get her flowers before she gets here!”

Before Ben Zobrist could come back, Joe Nelson walked out and signed the only card I had. Ben finally made his way back and nicely came around to where there was an overhang. My pen somehow got dripped on and the signatures started getting faint and whatnot. Nothing got completely ruined but they dont look great some of them. He did all 9 cards, and I restocked the last 3 that I had for later.

Gabe Gross came out and signed one for me and told everyone else that he’d sign later. The card got hit by a lone rain drop and messed up the signature a little but nothing terrible.

The next guy I got was Steve Henderson, a former player and now coach under Joe Maddon.

After that was Grant Balfour and Willy Aybar. Both signed only one card and both got messed up by rain, not terribly but still enough. Ughhhhhhhh.

After seeing Matt Joyce a few times and after him mumbling to us a few times, he finally decided to sign, and luckily niether card got messed up by rain.

Ben Zobrist came back out and signed the other 3 cards for me, making the total 12 for the day.

Dionner Navarro came out next and and smartly stayed under an overhang so he nor our stuff would get wet, but of course he decides to use someone else’s thick sharpie for the card, which is annoying to me, but whatever, better than not getting an autograph.

Andy Sonnanstine made his way over to starbucks, and when he came back, I asked him to sign, he told me he was going to put his stuff on the bus and then come back. He kept his word, and came off and right over to me where I was under the overhang and signed 3 cards, like he always does.

The last autograph for pre-game that I got was Carlos Pena who signed my Allen and Ginter absolutely perfectly. He has a good signature and then a good signature which he puts lines through. This time he didnt put the lines through them and it looks awesome.

I was on my way back to Queens to get my car and just finishing eating my McDonalds when I found out the game had been postponed. So it was immediately back to the city. Had I not have made one more light I would have missed the bus returning. I got to the hotel and the bus was pulling up.

I got David Price to sign a card off the bus, and Reid Brignac as well. I was the only one who got Reid, as other people went for other players.

Matt Joyce came back out of the hotel and signed the last 2 that I had giving me 4 for the day.

JP Howell came out next. JP is insanely cool and got on line for a taxi, and signed whatever you put in front of him. I of course only have a 2006 Topps photoshoped Tampa Bay card.

Reid Brignac came out again, and signed another for me and one for everyone else as well.

Joe Maddon and the rest of the coaching staff came out and waited on line for a taxi. Joe signed 2 cards, since one got messed up by the rain. Since he was waiting on line for a while I decided to get a picture with the 2008 AL Manager of the Year:

Soon after that a group of players came out. It was Matt Garza, Jason Isringhausen, Jeff Niemann, and Andy Sonnanstine. Matt Garza wouldnt sign at first, but once Jason Isringhausen started signing he did as well. He signed a nice 2006 Upper Deck card. Jeff Niemann signed 5 cards including a 2007 Bowman draft picks and prospects jersey card.

Grant Balfour came back earlier and was heading out again with his wife, and walked out and signed another card for me.

Next guy out was Dionner Navarro who signed a card for me and inscribed it 2008 AS for me.

There was a huge gap before we saw anyone else. The group of four players returned and I got Isringhausen this time to sign a 2006 SP Authentic. Then the coaches returned and I got Maddon to sign one more.

Dont even get me started on BJ Upton. All I have to say is that he is the nastiest person in the game. Joe Maddon, if you see this, get him under control, because clearly his ego is so large that it is eating himself, and thats probably why he has been so bad the past two seasons. If you dont believe me about his ego, the man believes he is better than Chipper Jones. Enough said.

That was it for the night. Pena returned wouldnt sign, Longoria wouldnt do it. It was frustrating since there werent too many people (4) and Longoria still wouldnt sign. Oh well. Glad I got him last year. Glad Tampa comes in again this weekend.

I met up with some friends in the city and we walked around for a little bit and then headed over to where my car was and headed home. I dropped them off and we hung out there for about half an hour before I headed home at 3:30.

It was a good day, Here’s the recap:

Tampa Bay Rays:

Grant Balfour: 2/4
Randy Choate: Missed
Lance Cormier: 6/8
Matt Garza: 1/9
JP Howell: 1/1
Jason Isringhausen: 1/9
Joe Nelson: 1/1
Jeff Niemann: 5/7
David Price: 1/4
James Shields: Refused
Andy Sonnanstine: 3/9
Dan Wheeler: Refused
Michel Hernandez: Missed
Dionner Navarro: 2/9
Willy Aybar: 1/9
Reid Brignac: 2/8
Evan Longoria: Refused
Carlos Pena: 1/9
Carl Crawford: Missed
Gabe Gross: 1/9
Matt Joyce: 4/4
Gabe Kapler: Refused
BJ Upton: Refused
Ben Zobrist: 12/12
Joe Dillon: Missed
Joe Maddon: 3/8
Steve Henderson: 1/1
Tom Foley: 0/0
Dave Martinez: 0/0

Rays Total: 48 Autographs

Take a look at the highlights:

Sorry that it is a bit blurry.

Anyway, I have three more updates that will be up soon. Enjoy this one. Washington was good yesterday, and I’m looking foward to doing this team again Friday and maybe Sunday.

Season Stats:
Fridays Total: 48 Autographs
Season Total: 533 Autographs
Season Average: 38.1 Autographs/Hotel

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