Saturday, May 30, 2009: Florida Marlins Hotel

The Marlins are always one of my favorite teams to go for. I always seem to do well, and the have guys who are pretty much all cool (with the exception of Hanley) who sign. Today though, would not be one of those days. Total wise was good, quality could have been a lot better. Lets get right down to it, so buckle in (if you actually do, I’m concerned about where you are reading this), and lets get moving.

The morning was terrible. I’m not even going to go into this in detail. I got Freddi Gonzalez twice and Matt Lindstrom twice. That was it, that was my morning. Whoopie. And of course I DONT have this Matt Lindstrom card to make it just a little better:

Four autographs all morning. 4. Four, Quatro, Quatre. Post-game needed to be much better and luckily it was.

I hung out in Queens and we made our way back to the hotel when the game was over. The bus came and like always no one seemed interested in signing off of it.

But then players and coaches start coming out and the first guys out were Freddi Gonzalez and Andy Fox. Freddi had signed 2 cards for me this morning but there was a taxi waiting and he told me that he would get the rest later, which he did.

The next guy who we saw was John Baker. Security was horrible and being over the top about everything. The threatened to call the cops maybe 5 times or so but of course never did, because they know they have no case and the cops honestly, unless you go into the hotel, dont really care. Barack Obama was in town, they have much better things to worry about. Anyway, Baker was nice enough to roll down the window of the taxi he was in, and signed all 6 of my cards for me. Very nice guy, and his wife/girlfriend thought it was the coolest thing ever.

The next guys out were Burke Badenhop and Hayden Penn. Badenhop wouldnt sign at first, but when Penn started to, he joined in as well. Hayden Penn has a horrible signature. Literally “h-loop” but with that he signed 4 cards at least, while Burke who has a decent graph did both of the cards I had.

The next guy ot was Brian Sanches. Somehow I had 8 cards of him, which he was happy to sign all of them. I think he was rather excited someone knew who he was. It was weird though, because after each card he did this weird hesitation and looked like he was going to hand them back each time but never did.

Security had gone in at this point and we were lucky enough that Jeremy Hermida came out. Jeremy had been refusing the first trip and the previous day according to other collectors, but he got stuck on the taxi line, and had no problem signing. I got a 2007 Fleer Rookie Sensations card and a 2008 Allen and Ginter that a friend kindly gave to me since he had 2 and had already gotten him on other things. They look really nice and you can see them below.

That was it at the hotel. I was starving, so I headed down a few blocks to Duane Reade to get a snack when I noticed a fellow collector frantically trying to get my attention. He told me that Hanley was over at some restaurant and was signing, and that he was getting ready to go. I raced over quickly and got Hanley to sign a card for me. Unfortuately it didnt turn out so well, so I asked for another one.

“Hanley, any chance you could sign one more? The first one turned out like crap.”

“Ohh, let me see.” He said, in horrible broken English.

He looked at it made a fart sound, and signed another one, even making sure it turned out better.

Emilio Bonafacio was also there and I had him sign the one card I had of him, which I had aquirred in a trade with a fellow collector that morning.

That was it, then security freaked out on us when we tried to get Dan Uggla. I yelled at them. I’m not getting into specifics on this cause it makes me so **********, but, lets just say, one guard is in a lot of trouble, and they now know not to mess with me anymore.

I went home, and even though I only got 9 different players, Hanley was well worth it.

Here’s the recap:

Florida Marlins:
Burke Badenhop: 2/2
Kiko Calero: Refused
Josh Johnson: Missed
Matt Lindstrom: 2/9
Cristhian Martinez: Missed
Dan Meyer: Missed
Andrew Miller: Refused
Leo Nunez: Missed
Hayden Penn: 4/9
Brian Sanches: 8/8
Chris Volstad: Missed
Sean West: Missed
John Baker: 6/6
Brett Hayes: Missed
Ronny Paulino: Missed
Emilio Bonafacio: 1/1
Jorge Cantu: Refused
Chris Coghlan: Missed
Ross Gload: Refused
Wes Helms: Refused
Hanley Ramirez: 2/9
Dan Uggla: Refused
Brett Carroll: Missed
Jeremy Hermida: 2/9
Cody Ross: Missed
Fredi Gonzalez: 8/8
Jim Presley: Missed
Andy Fox: 0/0
Carlos Tosca: Missed
Tommy Hutton: Missed
Jeff Conine: Missed
Andre Dawson: Missed
Jack McKeon: Missed

Jeffrey Loria: Missed

Here’s a look at the highlights:

There should be an update tomorrow about the Rangers hotel from yesterday, June 2nd tomorrow. I will be going for Tampa on Friday, maybe Monday.

Season Stats:
Saturday’s Total: 35 Autographs
Season Total: 443 Autographs
Season Average: 36.9 Autographs/Hotel

Sunday, May 24, 2009: Philadelphia Phillies  Hotel

Sorry about how long this has taken me to get this up. I do have a life outside autographs and I was living, I guess you could say. Right now it looks like it’s about to poor outside so this would be an excellent time to catch up here, and that’s what I’m going to do.

I spent the night in Queens again, and Vincent and I headed out extra early to the hotel to make an attempt to get Charlie Manuel who leaves exceptionally early. Right as we got there I said to Vincent I hope we didn’t miss him already, and he looks at me and says “Isn’t that him right over there?” Sure enough it was. Charlie is a very nice guy and signed 6 cards at first, missing the lone Cleveland Indians card on my page.

“Charlie, what do you have against Cleveland.” I asked him.

“Oops, sorry, didn’t see that one.”

The next guy out was Pedro Feliz. He started to sign, and if you can remember from Friday, May 22, we hung out with him for a while.

“Pedro, Chili’s and bowling was lonely without you.” I told him.

He just laughed and signed a card, sideways.

The next guy out was Pete Mackanin, former Pirates and Reds interim manager, and now a coach for Charlie Manuel. I had 2 cards from his Pirates days which he signed both.

Matt Stairs again went for some coffee and signed when he came back.

Then we noticed Brad Lidge and Raul Ibanez leaving through a different entrance so a few collectors went there to try and get them. Ibanez wouldnt sign, and Lidge didnt want to either at first, but when he realized that there were only 4 of us he did sign. It wasnt his full auto like I got two days ago, but nice anyway.

When we came back other collectors told us that Cole Hamels came out and of course would not sign but went into a drink place. Vincent and I went to the place and found him on line at the juice bar place. We talked with Cole for a good 10 minutes. I knew he wouldnt sign since he was pitching anyway, but we simply talked. When would be good to get an autograph. How were the new stadiums? Which one was nicer? What kind of drink did you get?

It was nice to see that he was at least friendly and talkative and not just a huge *** hole all together. I got to ride the subway with him in 2006, and he was nice then and would sign at the hotels but not anymore. It happens, hes not the first one.

Anyway, back at the hotel I got Scott Eyre 4 more times, making that 12 on the trip, and Chan Ho Park once before he got on the bus.

Not a great day, but for a pre-game, a solid total of 17.

Here’s the recap:

Philadelphia Phillies:
Joe Blanton: Refused
Clay Condrey: 0/0
Chad Durbin: 0/0
Scott Eyre: 4/4
Cole Hamels: Refused
JA Happ: 0/0
Brad Lidge: 1/8
Ryan Madsen: Refused
Jamie Moyer: Missed
Brett Myers: Refused
Chan Ho Park: 1/9
Jack Taschner: Missed
Chris Coste: 0/0
Carlos Ruiz: Missed
Eric Bruntlett: Missed
Greg Dobbs: Missed
Pedro Feliz: 1/8
Ryan Howard: Missed
Jimmy Rollins: Refused
Chase Utley: Missed
Raul Ibanez: Refused
John Mayberry, Jr.: 0/0
Matt Stairs: 1/9
Shane Victorino: Missed
Jayson Werth: Refused
Charlie Manuel: 7/7
Milt Thompson: 0/0
Pete Mackanin: 2/2
Davey Lopes: Refused
Sam Perlozzo: 0/0
Larry Anderson: 0/0
Gary Matthews: Missed

Phillies Total: 17 Autographs

Check out the highlights:

Season Stats:
Sunday’s Total: 17 Autographs
Season Total: 408 Autographs
Season Average: 37.1 Autographs/Hotel

I was in the city yesterday (5/30) for Florida and will hopefully get an entry on that up tomorrow. I will be in the city on Tuesday and maybe Wednesday for Texas, and definitely Friday for Tampa. Two good teams, hopefully I’ll do very well.

Saturday, May 23, 2009: Philadelphia Phillies  Hotel

This is going to be a rather short entry, and my apologies as well for getting it up so late. I spent the night at my friend’s place in Queens so we were up and out early and to the hotel by 9:30. It was a 4:00 game so we anticipated the team leaving roughly from that point to about 12:45 or so, when the bus would leave.

Unfortunately as early as we got there we weren’t there in time for Charlie Manuel who is apparently a morning person.

The first guy we got was Chris Coste. I had gotten 5 cards done the day before and he finished up the cards he didn’t get today. Really nice guy, and if you don’t know his story then check out his book: The 33-Year-Old Rookie: How I Finally Made it to the Big Leagues After Eleven Years in the Minors. I haven’t read it, but I know his story from seeing interviews and whatnot.

Matt Stairs was the next guy who I got, and he signed a 2005 Topps Total card. If you want an impossible set to complete that’s the one to pick. 770 cards, 100 of those being double cards, so basically 870 players. If you started now you couldn’t do it since Joe Kennedy, Cory Lidle, and Josh Hancock have cards, and there are many prospects who could be struggling in the likes of the Saudi Arabian baseball league (if there is one) trying to make it to the big show. Here’s what they look like if you haven’t seen them:

 

The day kept growing and it was frustrating as time kept ticking but autographs werent coming. Finally Scott Eyre came out with his kids. I had a board of 9 cards for him, but one fell off in my binder so he was only able to get eight signed. Oh freaking well. Midway through him signing for me one of his sons said something.

“Dad, are you really going to sign everything for him?” Eyre’s kid asked.

“Well see, if I sign them all for him now I dont have to do it later.” He said.

“You should tell that to Cole Hamels.” I told him. He laughed.

Eyre is a cool guy and would have waited around for me to grab the last one and the other 3 in my bag, but I wasn’t going to press the issue. 

The day before, Raul Ibanez had walked out and said that he’d sign when he came back. He came back, but guess what? No autograph. I never saw him walk out but someone said he was in starbucks. I went over there with Vincent and when he came out he signed a card for me, a ball for Vincent and that was it. I dont know what he did to my sharpie but boy did he mess it up and it cost me later too.

Then Chan Ho Park came out. Chan Ho likes to use one sharpie so luckily for me his autograph came out wonderfly. Yahoo! Whoopie! (That’s sarcasm- I know its tough to tell without tone.)

The next guy out was big bopper Ryan Howard. Ryan wasnt going to sign at first, but he did start signing and in the mayhem I was lucky enough to get him. But because Ibanez messed up my sharpie it came out bad too. At least it was an Allen and Ginter though.

But of course the 2 cards Ryan Madsen signed came out wonderfly.

That was it, the bus left and we did too. We went bowling, grabbed food and headed back to the city.

We didnt get anyone off the bus, so Vincent and I decided to go for someone else, a 3-Time MVP, Alex Rodriguez. We waited for him outside of his apartment and he came out but didnt sign. We knew where he was going so we went there as quick as we could, and were lucky enough to beat him there. He wasnt going to sign but he finally did. He signed for Vincent first, a jersey in silver sharpie, and signed my card of course in silver sharpie. Boo. It’s not pretty but it is an autograph from Alex Rodriguez. Check it out:

Please note: Im not telling you where he lives or where I saw him or anything. So DONT ASK.

So even though I didnt get any Phillies the rest of the night, I’d say it was a pretty good day anyway. Howard, Ibanez, and A-Rod.

Heres the Recap:

Philadelphia Phillies:
Joe Blanton: Refused
Clay Condrey: 0/0
Chad Durbin: 0/0
Sergio Escalona: 0/0
Scott Eyre: 8/8
Cole Hamels: Refused
JA Happ: Missed
Brad Lidge: Refused
Ryan Madsen: 2/8
Jamie Moyer: Refused
Brett Myers: Refused
Chan Ho Park: 1/9
Jack Taschner: 0/0
Chris Coste: 4/4
Carlos Ruiz: Missed
Eric Bruntlett: Missed
Greg Dobbs: Missed
Pedro Feliz: Refused
Ryan Howard: 1/9
Jimmy Rollins: Refused
Chase Utley: Missed
Raul Ibanez: 1/9
John Mayberry, Jr.: Missed
Matt Stairs: 1/9
Shane Victorino: Refused
Jayson Werth: Refused
Charlie Manuel: Missed
Milt Thompson: 0/0
Pete Mackanin: Missed
Davey Lopes: Missed
Sam Perlozzo: 0/0
Larry Anderson: 0/0
Gary Matthews: Missed

Alex Rodriguez: 1 Card

Phillies Total: 18 Autographs
Todays Total: 19 Autographs

Take a look at the Phillies Highlights:

There is one more update that will be up at some point same time tomorrow. I am NOT going for Florida on tomorrow but will be there on Saturday, and will be going for Texas on Tuesday and maybe Wednesday if Tuesday doesnt go well.

Friday, May 22, 2009: Philadelphia Phillies  Hotel

I grabbed the 8:56 train from my station and headed down towards the city. I had only planned on staying Friday for pre and post game but that turned into an entire weekend affair. I met up with my friend Vincent at Grand Central and we headed over to the hotel. When we got there there were already a few people at the hotel.

The day started out pretty quickly as I got Milt Thompson, the Phillies hitting coach and former player to sign a card. Sam Perlozzo, was the next coach out and he signed 7 cards from his Baltimore Orioles managerial days (06-07) after returning from Starbucks. Very quickly I had 8 autographs, but just as quickly as the day began was just as quickly as it slowed down.

We did see a few players. Clay Condrey and Jack Taschner came out at different times, but Clay, other than a brand new 2009 Upper Deck Series 2 card, and Jack who has a few cards but I got them signed last year when he was San Francisco, I had nothing this time for them. Its annoying to not have anything for certain people, and no offense to either one of them, but I wasnt using a team card on either one of them.

The next guy out that I had cards for was Brad Lidge. I was one of the first people up to him, and like all quality players, he has an Allen and Ginter. Guess what I got signed? If you said anything but and Allen and Ginter than you dont know me too well. Brad is a cool guy, and has a nice signature, and it looks great on the Ginter. You can see it below. I did also get a picture with him. Check it out:

A little bit later we noticed two players inside the hotel. We determined that the guys were Chris Coste and JA Happ. Then Jack Taschner walked out and over to Starbucks to get drinks. The players came out and they were cool and had no problem signing. I got Chris 4 times and JA 3 times.

Chris Coste said to me “Man you must have a lot of baseball cards if you have that many of me.

So after everything was done, I went up to Chris again as he waited for a cab. He usually signs just “Chris” so I asked him if he could sign another one with his full name.

“Hey Chris, any chance you could sign this card with your full signature?”

“I’m sorry man, I’m not gonna do that. You still want me to sign it anyway.” He replied.

“Sure, thats cool.”

“Its nothing against you, I just haven’t done that in so long, I dont even think I can physically get that one out on paper anymore.” He said with a chuckle.

I dont know whether he was joking or not, but he gave me a nice one at least, so I was pretty happy with that.

The next guy we saw was Chad Durbin. Vincent told me that he was impossible to get when he was with Detroit. I dont know what it is with some guys, but they let other players allow them to decide whether they should sign or not. Someone obviously thought Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander were the coolest guys around. But now woth Philly, he was pretty cool.

The next guy was Joe Blanton. Joe is a cool guy. Usually when you see him the first time he says no. Then he goes and gets a drink for himself and goes back inside, and signs when he comes back. Today was no different. He signed 3 cards including a nice 2007 Topps Chrome Refractor that looks awesome.

The only guy who I got at the bus was Larry Anderson who signed 2 for me. Ryan Howard signed maybe 3 or 4 and I would have been the next person to get him, but he got on the bus.

I had 24 so far, not bad, but luckily I was able to go postgame as well.

Vincent and I hung out and looked through cards. He bought a box of Topps Series 2 and Upper Deck Series 2 and we opened those. The Upper Deck box was insanely lucky and was a “hot-box” meaning that instead of getting 2 memorabilia (jersey, bat, hat, etc.) and 1 autographed card per box, he got one per pack! Nothing super special, but some nice cards nonetheless.

We headed back to the hotel after the game ended and the bus was suprising late getting back. The first player I got was Chad Durbin who had taken a car back. He went out to grab a bite or something and he signed the other three cards that he didnt that morning.

I wasnt able to get anyone to sign off the bus, but Jayson Werth came out a little bit after the bus left and he signed 3 cards for me. He used to be insanely nice, but now, with a ring on his finger, he has lost that niceness he once had. During the day he signed maybe 2 autographs, but since there were only 4 people there it was a lot less overwhelming for him. 

Pedro Feliz came back after that with his agent, and this just made my night. Pedro is an insanely cool guy and he hung out outside the hotel for literally 30-45 minutes talking to Vincent and I. When he was signing I asked him to sign the 2 Allen and Ginters that I had.

“How come you want those two cards signed?” He demanded. “Why are those your favorites?”

“I just love the way they look signed.” I told him. “I always try to get those signed first.”

“Oh you want two cause your going to sell one on ebay, right.”

“No way, I’ve never sold anything on ebay and I never plan to either.”

He was just joking with me but he acted completely serious. He was funny and down to earth. He just talked with us and we told some jokes and whatnot and it kind of felt like you were spending time with a friend. Vincent told him that after the game on Saturday he should come with us to Chili’s and go bowling with us. He joked and said yes and how we will go. I got a picture with him too. Here it is:

 

Unfortunately it was dark and I didnt want to use the flash and blind the poor man, so it came out pretty dark.

While we were talking with him, Carlos Ruiz came back and he signed 3 cards for him. Carlos came over and talked with him as well.

That was it for the day, but I had two more pre-games to work with to make it a better trip. Look for those updates by Thursday evening.

Here’s the Recap:

Philadelphia Phillies:
Joe Blanton: 3/9
Clay Condrey: 0/0
Chad Durbin: 5/5
Sergio Escalona: 0/0
Scott Eyre: Missed
Cole Hamels: Refused
JA Happ: 3/3
Brad Lidge: 1/8
Ryan Madsen: Missed
Jamie Moyer: Missed
Brett Myers: Refused
Chan Ho Park: Missed
Jack Taschner: 0/0
Chris Coste: 5/9
Carlos Ruiz: 3/7
Eric Bruntlett: Missed
Greg Dobbs: Missed
Pedro Feliz: 2/9
Ryan Howard: Missed
Jimmy Rollins: Refused
Chase Utley: Missed
Raul Ibanez: Refused
Matt Stairs: Missed
Shane Victorino: Missed
Jayson Werth: 3/7
Charlie Manuel: Missed
Milt Thompson: 1/1
Pete Mackanin: Missed
Davey Lopes: Refused
Sam Perlozzo: 7/7
Larry Anderson: 2/2
Gary Matthews: 0/0

Take a look at the highlights:

Like I said the updates for Saturday (5/23) and Sunday (5/24) will be up by Thursday night. I haven’t decided if I will go Friday or not for Florida, but I will definitely go Saturday, and I will let you know by Thursday night.

A Quick Update…

Just wanted to check in and say hey. Happy Memorial Day to all, and a thanks to all the service men and women out there for keeping our country safe, regardless whether you or I believe(d) this war should be going on or not.

First, I was in the city Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the Phillies and hopefully I should have both updates no later than Thursday. I had a huge hit Saturday night, and that will certainly be up there. The autograph is horrible but its a huge hit nonetheless.

Second, I will be in the city Saturday for Florida and maybe even Friday. Its the only time all year I will get to do this team, and I would like to make the most of it.

Third, my blog for the first time was on the leader board  for most views for the time period of April 15-May 18, coming in at 43 of 50! I’m very happy about that, and a special thanks goes out to everyone who has checked in and made that possible. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009: Baltimore Orioles Hotel

The day started with me getting up at 6:45 after going to bed a few hours before after watching Ryan Church failing to touch third base and throwing my 7/11 cup at the TV. I got to the train station, parked, paid for parking, bought my ticket and waited for my 7:23 train. My thought process towards coming early was that they had gotten in on Sunday night, and had all of Monday to party and go out, and would be well rested and come out early. They are a notorious late team. At first the plan worked out, then it was just slow.

But first someone at the MTA or GCT (Grand Central Terminal) needs to help me on this one:

If I take an 8:56 train from my stop, I get into GCT at 10:01. The train makes 11 stops. That’s 1 Hour, 5 Minutes from my stop to NYC.
I took the 7:23 train from my stop, I get into GCT at 8:29. The train makes 2 stops. That’s 1 Hour, 6 Minutes  from my stop to NYC.

Would anyone like to take a shot here? I’m at a loss for words on this one. It’s considered an “express” train. It makes 9 less stops and gets me into the city 1 minute (I’m not complaining about the minute) later. I’m completely fathomed by this. Whatever. And the train is “peak” which is total BS, so I have to pay an extra $3. Did I mention that it was one of those old trains with the diesel engines from the 60s that smell like piss? Oh, it was a fun ride.

I finally did manage to make it to the hotel and I met up with my buddy Joe. It would be about an hour before we saw anyone, and that first person would be Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie is a weird guy. He doesn’t really like to sign and last year we had to convince him to do it and at that point he still wasn’t happy about it. Get over yourself. You may be the ace of the O’s but you’d be a #4 starter on any other team in the league. Maybe even a #5 starter. BUT, Jeremy was actually cool once we caught up to him. He was playing with his phone and at first we thought he was ignoring us. But I realized he just couldn’t hear us. Either way, he was actually really cool this time, and signed one each for three people. Weird autograph though. Take a look this one and the one I got is down in the recap:

 

The next guy we saw was 2008 All-Star closer George Sherrill, who has been removed from that position this year already. George saw us coming over and kind of gave one of those “oh crap” looks, but he had no problem signing, and signed all 6 cards that I had.

It was maybe 10:15 at this point, and we wouldn’t see anyone for until at least 11:45. The next guy we saw was Rich Hill. From what I have heard Rich is kind of an unfriendly guy. He usually doesn’t sign too much when he does, but today he signed for everyone. Unfortunately he was using someone else’s incredibly thick sharpie and it came out terrible on my Allen and Ginter. I tried to get my two other Ginter’s done, but I couldn’t. You can see it below, it doesn’t look terrible, but for me I like a thin sharpie on cards and it was way to thick for my liking.

Chris Ray came out and gave us his normal excuse “not at the hotel.”

Then we saw George Sherrill return and meet up with Jamie Walker and Jim Johnson. Who? Jamie Walker and Jim Johnson. Never heard of either of them? Don’t worry, neither does the rest of the world. Jim Johnson is actually a decent pitcher, but Jamie Walker, haha. Not exactly.

“I don’t sign autographs at the hotel.” Jim Johnson told me. “Can’t you get me at the field?”

“I’m not paying $500 to get YOUR autograph.” I told him.

“Oh well, in that case.” He paused. “Mail them to me.”

“I’d rather save my 88 cents, thanks. You know Tom Glavine signs at the hotel. Greg Maddux signs at the hotel. The all-star closer on your team signs at the hotel. You’re pathetic.” I said to him as he got into his cab.

What a clown. Seriously, there should be a rule. Any player who is not going to the Hall-of-Fame (which is 99.9% of them) should have to sign autographs. When guys like Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Don Sutton, and Trevor Hoffman sign autographs at the hotel, that means ANYONE who is worse than they are (cough, cough Jim Johnson) should be forced to by law sign at the hotel.

Can you say RANT? Don’t even get me started on hotel security. Who cost most of us to miss Brian Roberts. Seriously, I’m not even starting on those idiots.

Dannys Baez came out next and headed right for a car waiting for him. It seemed as if he was just going to go in and leave, but he stopped and signed for everyone. I got a 2006 Allen and Ginter card signed and a 2005 Topps Total card done. The 2006 Allen and Ginter looks awesome. Its a bit sideways, but it looks great. I bought 2 packs of that year’s set. I have gotten 2 of the 16 cards signed that I got. Jhonny Peralta and now Baez. Coo

The next two guys we saw were both coaches. Dave Trembeley and Juan Samuel both signed the two cards I had for them. They both have nice autographs, and Juan Samuel is an exceptionally nice guy. While I was getting Dave Trembeley I missed getting Adam Jones. At least I got him three times last year, and Baltimore comes in again.

Then we saw Chris Ray walking back. I figured he wouldn’t sign, but he literally walked right over to us and waited for us to get our stuff out. He appologized to us saying he had to be somewhere and was very late. He signed 3 for me, and then I gave 3 to Joe to get signed, and as part of the deal, I would get one, making 4 Chris Ray cards. Cool. He was very, very tough to get when he was the closer of the team in 2006, but he turned out to be very nice this time around. Maybe he felt bad about the morning?

The next guy that I got was Felix Pie. Pie is a very tough autograph to get apparently. He signed 3 for someone and then 2 for me before getting into a car and leaving. He signed his full signature too. From what others have told me there would be days you would be lucky to get an F and a P.

The next guys out were Nolan Reimold and Lou Montanez. Reimold was cool and signed the one card I had of him. Lou signed everything for me last year. Someone asked Nolan who the other guy was, and I told the person it was Lou.

“Did I pronounce his name right?” I asked Nolan.

He said the two ways that you could say it (Im not doing the spell outs of them) and said “I dont really know actually. Tomato, Tamato. Its all the same.”

What a beautiful friendship in the works.

Here’s the card I got Nolan to sign:

We had seen Nick Markakis a few minutes earlier and he said he would sign when he came back. Well he came back, but he was still holding his baby, and we noticed too late before he went inside anyway.

Then we saw Brian Roberts come out with his wife/girlfriend (who is exceptionally atractive. Good going Brian.) and followed him to Starbucks. While we were waiting for Brian, Nick Markakis walked by. He stopped and signed for us, but unlike before when he was friendly he seemed rather agitated.

“Why can’t you guys go to the ball park and get autographs there?” He demanded.

“Cause tickets are at least $500.” Someone told him.

“Then can’t you wait outside the stadium?” He asked.

“I would” I told him, “but security blocks off the players entrance and you can’t go near it.”

“Oh.” Was his only response.

I had him sign my 2008 Allen and Ginter and my 2009 SPX and that made my day. Then security flipped out at us, and we weren’t able to get Brian Roberts when he came
out of Starbucks. That sucks, but they come in again, and I’m not too worried since I have gotten Brian 9 times in my life but never gotten Markakis.

Then at the bus Aubrey Huff signed which was a shocker, and that was it for the day.

A slow day but not bad nonetheless. A season low for total though, and it doesn’t suprise me with this team at all, with 24.

Here’s the recap:

Baltimore Orioles:
Danys Baez: 2/9
Brian Bass: Missed
Brian Bergeson: 0/0
Adam Eaton: Refused
Jeremy Guthrie: 1/9
Mark Hendrickson: Refused
Rich Hill: 1/9
Jim Johnson: Refused
Chris Ray: 4/7
George Sherrill: 6/6
Koji Uehara: Refused
Jamie Walker: 0/0
Chad Moeller: Missed
Greg Zaun: Missed
Robert Andino: Missed
Aubrey Huff: 1/9
Cesar Izturis: Missed
Melvin Mora: Missed
Brian Roberts: Refused
Ty Wigginton: Missed
Adam Jones: Missed
Nick Markakis: 2/9
Lou Montanez: 0/0
Felix Pie: 2/9
Nolan Reimold: 1/1
Dave Trembeley: 2/2
Terry Crowley: 0/0
Juan Samuel: 2/2
John Shelby: Missed
Buck Martinez: Missed
Jim Palmer: Missed

Take a look at the highlights:

I am 99.9% sure I will be going Friday for Philadelphia and then probably one day (Monday or Tuesday) for Washington.

I’m also taking classes to be a little league umpire, which are a lot of fun. My test is tonight so hopefully I pass (which I should) and then I’ll make tons of money. Sweet.

Season Stats:
Tuesday’s Total: 24 Autographs
Season Total: 338 Autographs
Season Average: 42.25 Autographs/Hotel

Saturday, May 16, 2009: Minnesota Twins Hotel

The Twins are a tough signing team. I don’t know what it is about them, but I always seem to do horrible when I go for them. I have never gotten more than 17 in a trip for them, and that was in 2006. Even last year I managed just 16 for them. So last entry for the Braves, I stated at the bottom that I would be happy to get anywhere from 18-25. I accomplished that goal, and beat it. Overall, this team can be very frustrating and I don’t plan on going back for them (I’m sure I will end up going anyway) until Justin Morneau gets traded.

I woke up at 5:55 went to 7/11 and got a horribly delicious cappuccino and made my way over to the train. I got to the city at 7:40, met up with my friend Joe, and we made our way over to the hotel.

The first guys we saw were Joe Nathan, Matt Guerrier, Craig Breslow, and Jesse Crain. They came out and were waiting on line for a taxi. None of them would sign. They were waiting there for a few minutes. Joe Nathan said later, Craig Breslow said he was busy, and I didnt even try for Guerrier and Crain. They got in a cab and left. Not a good start to what was going to be a long day.

The next guy out was Scott Baker. Scott is a cool guy, and he was more than happy to sign. He’s quiet, doesnt say much, but nevertheless he signs and has a nice autograph. Much nicer than some other people on this team.

Kevin Slowey came out soon after that. Before the end of last year, Kevin had personalized everything. Some players do that, so people wont put their stuff on ebay. But seriously Kevin Slowey? Well for whatever reasons (he either realized his stuff doesnt sell for much anyway, or it got to be too annoying) he doesnt do that anymore, BUT he also changed his signature from the one he would give when he was personalizing to a “KMS” which are his initials. Heres an example of his personalization obtained by someone TTM:
 

https://i1.wp.com/i134.photobucket.com/albums/q115/bryanspellman/slowey046_edited.jpg

A little while later, Nick Punto came out. As I was getting ready to get him to sign, Jason Kubel walked out as well, and I immediately went up to him. I had 16 cards with me on 2 boards. I gave him the first board and he signed two, and after some other people got him I went back up, gave him the other board and he signed 3 more. Jose Morales who had been brought up from AAA because Delmon Young left the team to be with his sick mother, also came out and I had him sign the lone card I had of him.

A friend Vincent gave me a call to come over to Starbucks to see if someone was Michael Cuddyer. It wasn’t but we did notice that Mike Redmond was on line and he signed three cards for me.

The team bus was already here, so we hurried over to the other side just in time to see other collectors heading to another entrance to try to get someone. Francisco Liriano and Carlos Gomez were walking out. Gomez is a morron and has one of the worst autographs in the game, while Liriano is a decent guy and has a beautiful autograph. I was very lucky and was one of two people who was able to get Liriano, and I was lucky enough to have him sign an Allen and Ginter short print card, which at that point made my day. It would be the only Allen and Ginter I would get signed all day. Here is what the card looks like unsigned.   

My friend Joe had a perfect oppertunity to get Liriano doing a “roll down” at a red light. A roll down is when a player rolls down their window and signs from inside their car. From what he told me Liriano had taken his photo and sharpie and was about to sign when the idiot taxi driver drove away and his photo blew out of Liriano’s hand. I felt horrible for Joe especially since I know how close he was to getting it and seeing it end that way is painful.

But back by the bus I was only able to get one more player and that would be the super cool Denard Span. He signed 3 for me out of 7 cards. He talked a little bit with someone and then jumped on the bus. That was it for the morning. I had gotten 16 cards signed, which was almost at the bottom of my goal for 18-25 so I knew I would have a solid day, or at least I hoped.

My friend Vincent lives over in Queens so we headed over to his place and eventually to a card shop where we were at for a little while. They had a big box of single cards and I bought a few of players I needed. Vincent bought some cards and so did Joe. We headed to another card shop and Vincent bought a box of Goudey. The Goudey cards are nice. They’re cardboard so they dont need to be rubbed down, and the pictures are usually nice and the cards just look nice in general. A box is about $80 and you get 18 packs of 8 cards. Its a bit expensive for me, but I will certainly look into getting some cards. Maybe a blaster box at Target or something. Here is an example of what some cards look like:

Nice, right?

Anyway, we went to Burger King, got some food, and headed over to Vincents to open the box, throw a baseball around a bit, and look at his collection.

We were watching the game, and we headed over to the train immediately after the game ended. We made it back to the hotel about 40 minutes after the game ended. There were already some other collectors there, and they told us that David Wells was standing around the corner. We found him and I got an index card signed for my friend Joe. I dont collect index cards and I dont want any really. If it were someone really good, maybe, but David Wells? To me, I’d rather pass and help someone else get another of him.

The first guys we saw were Danny Gladden and Bert Blyleven. I got Blyleven to sign a card but missed Gladden while I was getting Bert.

The bus came back a while after that but unfortunately we werent able to get anyone off the bus.

The first guy out was Scott Baker, who again was very nice. His wife was with him, and she was joking with us saying “We have to go to a show! We’re going to be late!” But she was kidding and Scott laughed and did the international “no way” face.

The next guy out was Jesse Crain. Jesse signed 2 for me, and I had my friend Joe go up to him to get me three more cards signed, including a nice 2004 Topps Chrome first year card.

Then security started getting really annoying after Mauer and Morneau came out and of course wont sign, and other players werent even signing anyway. Nick Blackburn gave me some BS about being busy. I asked him if he could sign when he came back and he said in a sarcastic tone “Maybe, I dont know, we’ll see.” Another ego that needs to be killed immediately.

Joe Nathan, one of the nicest players in the league wouldnt even sign. He was on the taxi line with his wife, and another couple. His wife was talking to this other woman, and he wasnt even invloved with the converation and told me “not when I am with my family.” Ughhh. This team was beginning to tick me off.

Joe Crede was the next guy out. Crede is a big time d-bag. It took us about a block and a half but we finally got him to give in. The first time he just drew a line through Vincents photo, and through two of Joe’s cards. I went up to him, showed him the picture of me and Tom Glavine, and he started giving us scribbles that at least had “J” in them. And looking at his certified auto, it wasnt that much different. Take a look:

At least he signe
d two, but still what a d-bag. Seriously someone sucks at life.

Security went away, and just in time for Glen Perkins to come out. Glen signed one card, and I told him that I needed him to sign another for “my set,” which is just an excuse to get another thing done. A lot of people do it, and it usually works.

We had seen Ron Gardenhire come out before but he said not when he was with his family. He was still with his family but he did sign upon returning to the hotel. At first it seemed like he was really nasty, but he was kind of just joking and asked us how we were doing and whatnot. He signed 5 cards for me, which got me over the 30 mark, which I was very happy about.

Then we saw Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer’s car come back. When they went out a bunch of these idiot kid collectors chased the car all the way to where they were going and apparently Mauer threatened to call the cops. Morneau is a huge idiot and wont even acknowledge that there are collectors there and walks right in. Mauer told us “Sorry guys, but those kids ruined it when they followed us to dinner.” They went inside and we followed. At this point if I had to get kicked out for Joe Mauer I wouldnt care, it would be well worth it. Vincent was able to break him down and he started signing once Justin Morneau went out of sight.

Basically, Joe Mauer is actually a very nice guy, but since he is the one wearing the skirt and high heels in this relationship Morneau basically tells him not to sign.

“Guys, come on, you know I’d sign all day for you guys, but you gotta respect our space sometimes, and we’re not going to want to sign if you start chasing our car like that.” He said.

“But Joe, Its tough when you walk out and go right into your car. People want your autograph cause youre a great player and people are going to do what they have to to try to get it.”

He didnt respond to that.

Honestly, Joe IS a really nice guy, but unfortunately Justin is not and Justin basically tells Joe not to sign. Joe signed one for everyone and headed upstairs to his room.

The last player we saw was Denard Span who signed the other three cards I had left, after giving one to Joe. He got out of a cab and turned around to sign, so since we were in the middle of the road I suggested we move to the sidewalk, and we did. Denard, again, is a super cool guy.

That was it for the day. Joe and I made our way back to Grand Central and just as we did the skies opened up. I got a 12:06 train and headed home. The train was delayed a few minutes due to this pretty sick 3rd rail fire that must have covered 2-3 feet of the third rail.

I hoped for 18-25, I got 36. Good day. The are annoying though as a team, and until Morneau gets traded (which will happen in the next couple of years) Mauer isn’t gonna sign. So to whomever makes the baseball schedules: Please have the Yankees play the Twins in either April or Septemeber during the week. Thank you.

Here’s the Recap:

Minnesota Twins:
Luis Ayala: Missed
Scott Baker: 2/8
Nick Blackburn: Refused
Craig Breslow: Refused
Jesse Crain: 5/9
RA Dickey: Missed
Matt Guerrier: Missed
Francisco Liriano: 1/9
Jose Mijares: Missed
Joe Nathan: Refused
Glen Perkins: 2/9
Kevin Slowey: 2/9
Joe Mauer: 1/9
Jose Morales: 1/1
Mike Redmond: 3/9
Brian Buscher: Missed
Joe Crede: 2/9
Brendan Harris: Missed
Justin Morneau: Refused
Nick Punto: Missed
Matt Tolbert: Missed
Michael Cuddyer: Missed
Carlos Gomez: Missed
Denard Span: 6/6
Delmon Young: Not With Team (Family Illness Leave)
Jason Kubel: 5/16
Ron Gardenhire: 5/9
Bert Blyleven: 1/1
Jack Morris: Missed
Dan Gladden: Missed

Twins Total: 36

Enjoy the highlights. Sorry about the lighting in the picture:

I plan on going for Baltimore sometime this week. Eithr Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and I am most likely going for Philadelphia on Friday, and like always you shall see an entry for every visit I make.

Season Stats:
Saturday’s Total: 36 Autographs
Season Total: 314 Autographs
Season Average: 44.9 Autographs/Hotel

Tuesday, May 12, 2009: Atlanta Braves Hotel

I did not plan on coming this day. If you haven’t read my last entry, I did exceptionally well with this team the day before. I got Don Sutton twice, Chipper Jones twice, Jeff Francoeur twice, Derek Lowe twice, Brian McCann, Terry Pendleton, Eddie Perez, and Mike Gonzalez 12 times and a few other guys to total 35 for the day That’s a great day. A solid total and very solid quality autographs.

Like I said I hadn’t been planning on coming this day. But while watching the game that night, I noticed a familiar face in the Braves dugout. A man who’s parents named him Thomas Michael Glavine. As you know, Glavine won his 300th game with the Mets, and is a two time Cy Young award winner. The man is a first-ballot hall-of-famer and is a super nice and classy guy. That was enough to get me to go. We didnt see him Monday, but we presumed that he had checked in that night for whatever reasons. Obviously Glavine would be great to get but even so, it was still worth it to go for Chipper, McCann, and Francoeur again, maybe another Don Sutton?

I talked it over with my friend Joe, and we both decided it was a go. I dont want to spoil anything, but I will say it was VERY well worth it. (That probably gave it away. Oh well)

I got to the hotel at around 9:35 and right before that Joe had texted me that Terry Pendleton was hanging out in the lobby. I wasnt there two minutes before he walked out. Like yesterday, he came out very early. Some guys are just morning people. I am not one of them, but I make do. Terry was nice, and I congratulated him on a nice win. He smiled and thanked me, and for the third strait hotel outing I had an autograph within the first few minutes.

The next guy out was Yunel Escobar. We hadn’t seen him at all Monday, so it was good to see a new face. I like Yunel. I think he has great skill, and a few of us agreed at the hotel, that in a few years he may be very tough to get. But looking at his autograph, you may not want it anyway. Its basically a big loop, then a bunch of little loops, another big loop, and then a bunch of small ones again. Oh well, not everyone is gonna have a nice signature I guess.

Then we saw Greg Norton come out with Tim Hudson. Tim Hudson had told us the day before that he would “sign when I come back.” He never came back. He wouldnt do it again this morning. He again told us that he would “sign when I come back.” Okay, Tim, whatever you say. Play a game this season, and THEN you can say no. Whatever. 

Then there was a big gap of time where I didnt get anyone. A few players did come out. Greg Norton, James Parr, and someone else, but I had nothing for any of them.

Luckily though the next guy out was the real reason I came. Tom Glavine walked out of the hotel, and without any hesitation started signing. He was doing two per person, as most people didnt have much for him. Then he got to me. I had a board of 9 cards for him. He signed one, then two, then three. I was suprised he did three and I was hoping he would do a few more, but he handed my sharpie back. Im not going to complain with three Tom Glavines whatsoever, and if I did, I would deserve to take a shot to somewhere below my belt.

I really wanted one card signed in particular though, which was a gold bordered 2007 Topps Updates season highlights “Achieves 300th Win- August 5, 2007” card. The card is numbered 0159/2007. I went back up to him when he was done and asked him if he could sign it with 300 wins and the date. He didnt say anything, just took my pen and did it no problem. He didnt say much when he signed, but he doesnt have to. Tom is a super classy guy, and I can’t say enough of his generousity signing today, especially knowing that you’re a future hall-of-famer and quite possibly one of the last 300 game winners of all time.

Then I capped it off by getting a picture with him. Check it out: too bad my eyes are half shut and my hat casted a shadow over my face. At least Tommy was classy enough to lift his sunglasses!

About ten minutes later a group of players came out. Jo-Jo Reyes, Eric O’Flaherty, and Peter Moylan came out looking for a bite to eat. I got Jo-Jo Reyes first, who signed another 2009 Topps card, and then Eric O’Flaherty signed 2 of his 2006 Upper Deck card.

“Good win last night. Its gotta be tough to beat Johan.” I said to Eric.

“Thanks, but you gotta ask Derek about that, I didnt pitch last night.” He smurked.

Well that wasnt the point, since its a team effort, but I think he was joking anyway. I didnt get Peter Moylan since I had gotten him 3 times the day before and had nothing left for him.

The next player out was Jeff Francoeur. Like always, jeff is a nice, classy guy, who will sign a bunch of cards no problem. The day before he signed 2, this day he signed 3. That makes 17 total since 2005 for Jeff, and it seems as if each year his autograph gets just a little nicer, which is weird because of how simple it is already, and usually players signatures get worse. I’m not going to sit here and try to solve it.

After things settled back down, I said to fellow a grapher John: “Chipper should be out in about 5.” This team is very predictable when they’re going to come out for the most part, which is nice, and sure enough, I dont even think 5 minutes later, Chipper walks out.

Just like yesterday, Chipper signed while walking to the same store. Again, he just signed not really paying attention to who he was signing for. He must have signed 60 things both days. He took my board the first time and I pointed to two cards, one being an Allen and Ginter, one being a 2008 Goudey and asked if he could sign both, and he did so no problems. He handed me the board back, and I continued to follow him. I took 2 cards, this time another Allen and Ginter and an Upper Deck X, and placed them on top of my binder so he wouldnt realize that he signed for me already, not that he probably would, but just to be on the safe side, and again signed both no problem.

“Are you gonna miss Shea at all, Chipper?” I asked him.

“Hmm. Im sure I will but that new stadium is real nice.” He replied. “Im sure I will though.”

And after watching the last two games and watching 3 balls that would have been homeruns turn into two doubles and an out, I’m sure he does. And for the record, Carlos Beltran was 100% out when he stole thrid in the 10th in that night’s game. I am a Met fan, but he was out, just for the record. Here are what the Goudey (left) and X Chipper cards look like. And trust me, they look 100 million times nicer signed. 

 

Chipper four times, Glavine four times, Francoeur three times, and Yunel Escobar. It didnt matter if i didn’t get another autograph for the rest of the day, I was just fine with that.

The next player we saw was Omar Infante. Omar is a nice guy, doesnt really look like a player. Either way Omar signed three. He has a weird signautre but it looks nice on cards.

The next guy out was javier Vazquez. Javier had pulled the Tim Hudson on us the day before and told us that he would sign when he came back, and never did come back. Idiot. But today was different and he did actually sign. He has a nice autograph, and I asked him to sign right in the middle, which was an Allen and Ginter, but he didnt listen and signed a crappy 2008 Upper Deck. At least I got him.

David Ross came
out looking for a bite to eat. I recommended a pizza place to him, which he didnt seem to care at all about. He did sign two cards though, which was good for me at least.

Buddy Carlyle, who we never saw leave, came wandering by the hotel, so we stopped him and he signed a 2008 Topps High Heritage card.

Jair Jurrjens, who should have gotten a win Tuesday night was the next guy out. He signed spiratically as he talked on the phone. Some people got three cards signed. I got one. At least it was a first year 2005 Topps Updates and Highlights, so that makes it a bit better that he screwed me out of two more. Oh well.

Then Brian McCann came out with Greg Norton. Brian signed a few and I was lucky to get him, but it turned out horrible. He used someone else’s sharpie and it ran and it was a bad signature anyway. He said that he would be back in a few minutes and that he would sign more then. He was honest and he was back in about ten minutes with a starbucks iced something that resembles coffee in his hand. He signed two for me this time, a 2007 Topps Chrome (Nice) and a 2009 Topps Heritage (Nicer).

So to add to the rediculous day I had already I just added three more Brian McCann autographs. I was already extatic on my decision to go, and that made me even happier.

Then we saw Tim Hudson and David Ross making their way out of the hotel and towards the subway. We chased up to them, and David Ross heard the sound of us running and thought there must have been an earthquake happening cause he ducked and covered his head. Hudson gave us a bit of attitude but when we reminded him how he said he would sign when he came back he gave in. He was giving horrible autos, but it was a little better when I had him sign an Allen and Ginter.

The last auto of the day was from Jeff Bennett on a team card from 2003. Whatever.

I got recognized by Don Sutton at the bus, and he politely asked that since I got him yesterday if I could please step off the line. It didnt bother me since he signed two the day before. And now I have something to get signed in August when they come back. So its not a horrible thing.

That was it, I grabbed some food, hung out with Joe a little and grabbed a 4:43 train home.

Here’s the recap:

Atlanta Braves:
Jeff Bennett: 1/1 (Team Picture Card)
Buddy Carlyle: 1/1
Mike Gonzalez: Refused
Jair Jurrjens: 1/8
Kenshin Kawakami: 0/0
Derek Lowe: Missed
Peter Moylan: 0/0
Eric O’Flaherty: 2/2
James Parr: Missed
Jo-Jo Reyes: 1/3
Rafael Soriano: Missed
Javier Vazquez: 1/9
Brian McCann: 3/9
David Ross: 2/9
Yunel Escobar: 1/5
Omar Infante: 3/9
Kelly Johnson: Missed
Chipper Jones: 4/9
Casey Kotchman: Missed
Martin Prado: Missed
Garrett Anderson: Refused
Matt Diaz: Missed
Jeff Francoeur: 3/9
Greg Norton: 0/0
Jordan Schaffer: Missed
Jorge Campillo: Missed
Tom Glavine: 4/9
Tim Hudson: 1/9
Bobby Cox: Missed
Terry Pendleton: 1/1
Eddie Perez: Missed
Don Sutton: Refused

Braves Total: 29

Here are the highlights:

I am all caught up to date now. My next outing will be Minnesota on Saturday. If Pat Neshek were healthy I’d have 95 cards alone signed by him, but without him being there I’m hoping for 18-25. Minnesota is a bad signing team, but I’m gonna try.

Season Stats:
Tuesday’s Total: 29 Autographs
Season Total: 278 Autographs
Season Average: 46.3 Autographs/Hotel 

Monday, May 11, 2009: Atlanta Braves Hotel

The Braves were in town, and after last years torching of this team, I was excited that I was able to graph this team early in the year. The best part about this team is that their all-stars get it. Chipper, McCann, Francoeur, they understand that the fans are a big part of the game and they all sign. Obviously sometimes they don’t, but for the most part they do.

This was the first “normal” hotel of the year. By normal, I mean that its a single team, night game, arrive in the morning and leave after the bus takes off. If I lived in the city, I’d certainly come back for post game, but I don’t.

Anyway, I was meeting up with my friend Joe at the hotel, and after talking on the phone and texting we both were really excited for this day. He got to the hotel before I did, and I showed up at around 10:10 because no one on the Metro-North knows what they’re doing.

Terry Pendleton was the first person we saw, although I had been informed that Derek Lowe was already out of the hotel. Pendleton was the 1991 NL MVP and was now a coach on the team. He usually always leaves early, so it was no suprise to see him out. He is a quiet guy, and has clearly found some good food since his playing days, but who cares, as long as he signs, which he did, and like Saturday I got off to a quick start.

Derek Lowe was spotted walking back to the hotel by a fellow collector named John. I didn’t recognize him, as I didnt know he cut his hair but once he came closer it hit me. Even though he was pitching that night he was very friendly and signed no problem. And to make it even better, he signed my favorite card…Allen and Ginter. I know its getting old at this point, but I am in love with these cards. Heres what the card looks like unsigned:

Next out was Jordan Schaffer and James Parr. Like I have mentioned in the past, I bring a team card or two when I dont have a few players. I only had one today and that was signed by Schaffer. Not the nicest of autographs, but it looks nice at least and if he pans out to be as good as scouts think he could be very tough in the future.

The next player out was Greg Norton who has one of the worst signatures in the game. If you had seen this article on MLB.com then you know that this past weekend was a tough one for Greg. If you haven’t seen what I’m talking about here is the link: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090505&content_id=4580286&vkey=news_atl&fext=.jsp&c_id=atl Greg signed the three cards that I had, and we would see him a few more times throughout the day.

Eddie Perez who is a catching instructor/bullpen catcher/coach came out. He said he would be right back, and that he would sign then. When he came back he was holding a suit, and a coffee and said he would be right back out and he would sign then. He came out and signed the lone card I had no problem. I wished him luck for the game (since they were playing Johan) and he thanked me and went on his way.

The next guys out were Tim Hudson and David Ross. Tim Hudson who is out for the season after having Tommy John surgery was traveling with team, which I have no reason why he is, said “later, when I come back.” David Ross signed one card for me. Tim Hudson never came back. LIAR!

The next guy out was Jeff Francoeur. “Frenchy” as he is known as is a great guy. I have gotten him over fifteen times since he was called up in 05. He has a pretty bad signature. Usually just JF-scribble 7. But today’w were pretty nice. They were more carefully done, which was still pretty sloppy. But I was happy to get my Upper Deck X-ponential card signed, and it came out great. Heres the card that he signed: The signed card is pictured below in the highlights picture.

I also got a 2008 Upper Deck Goudey card signed.

Then the big hit of the day came next. Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones walks out about 20 minutes later. He usually goes to a high class clothing store that will remained unnamed since a lot of players go there. He is just a super classy guy. You can easily double or triple up on him by going back up to him over and over again. He knows people do it, and yet he doesnt care. I was able to get him twice, but unfortunately my sharpie was wearing out so they dont look great. But its still 2 more Chippers to the collection. I got a 2008 Allen and Ginter and a 2008 SP Authentic- Authentic Achievements card signed. We followed him to the store and I was the last person to get him. People were trying to get more stuff out to get signed and Chipper told me “Tell them I’m done for now. I’ll sign later.” So I did.

We walked back to the hotel, and maybe five minutes later Jo-Jo Reyes walks out with Peter Moylan and another player, I think James Parr, but someone I didnt have anything for so I wasnt worried about getting that player. I was able to get Jo-Jo to sign his 2009 Topps card and I got Peter Moylan to sign 3 cards from his rookie season of 2006.

The next guy who came out was Derek Lowe. Derek was about to get into a cab. He literally had one foot in, and I was hoping I could grab him again. Sure enough he was in a really good mood, and did it no problem. 

“Hey Derek, got one more in ya?” I asked as he was getting in.

“Yeah, sure thing bud.” He replied.

Again, an Allen and Ginter. Very happy.

The next guy who came out was Casey Kotchman. Casey is a notorious dick, and he gets that from his Anahiem Angels days who going back 3 years ago were one of the stingiest teams. Now that Torii Hunter has gotten there, they are much better. But Casey thinks he his Babe Ruth. I followed him literally 5 blocks, the only one, and he wouldnt even recognize the fact that I was next to him. Chipper Jones signs, but Casey Kotchman doesnt? Something is wrong there. And look at how he signs too. What a d-bag.

kotchmanAG.jpg image by dtect

He arrived at the same store Chipper went to. I dont know what it is with baseball players and suits. Thats just me, I dont have the money to shop there, they do. Garrett Anderson who will never sign in person but does all his stuff TTM. (through the mail), Casey Kotchman, Chipper, and Jeff Francoeur were all inside. I decided to stay there so hopefully get Chipper again when he came out.

We were there for a few minutes when my friend Joe says to me: “I really wish McCann would come over here.”

I kid you not, not even a minute later Brian McCann is walking to the place, and we stopped him and got him to sign. The all-star catcher signs and Casey Kotchman doesn’t. (Casey, are you taking notes?) Brian also signed an Allen and Ginter for me. 

Unfortunately when Chipper, McCann, and Francoeur left I wasnt able to get any of them. Oh well.

We walked back to the hotel and I immediately got Martin Prado to sign 3 cards. He changed his signature too. He had a rather nice graph, and I guess doing that over and over again finally got to him and he went to something more simple.

The next guy was Mike Gonzalez. Gonzalez had already gone out while we were at the store, and was returning with a coffee. He signed 12 cards for me. Well, actually 6 but I had a fellow collector get six more for me. Thanks John, its always appreciated.

Then there was an hour and a half or so wait for the team bus to leave. The bus wouldnt leave until 3:45 and mostly everyone was gone by now. But it was well worth it, as Hall
-of-Fame pitcher Don Sutton is a broadcaster with the Braves now. The past two years he was with Washington.

We see Sutton walk out of the hotel, and he tells us to make a line by the bus and wait for him so he can put his bags on the bus so he could have his hands free. Don is considered the nicest Hall-of-Famer, and he was friendly and joked around. He signed two cards for me and laughed and joked. I got a picture with him. Well seven, actually. Joe didnt know that my camera is very sensitive and takes a picture as he said it “if a feather hits it.” Don joked around with me since I was wearing a long sleeve shirt that I would have baked if we were in Atlanta. He was super friendly and nice, and its great to see that from a Hall-of-Famer. Here is the picture I got with him:

Please note the hilarious face of the head security guard in the background. Priceless.

That was it for the day. But what a good day it was. And I will say that tuesday was even better. Joe and I grabbed some lunch/dinner in the food court downstairs in Grand Central after we went back to get our trains. If you ever have some time to kill and are hungry go get some Two Boots Pizza. Best plain pizza I have ever had.

Heres the recap:

Atlanta Braves:
Jeff Bennett: 0/0
Buddy Carlyle: Missed
Mike Gonzalez: 12/18
Jair Jurrjens Refused
Kenshin Kawakami: 0/0
Derek Lowe: 2/9
Peter Moylan: 3/3
Eric O’Flaherty: Missed
James Parr: 0/0
Jo-Jo Reyes: 1/4
Rafael Soriano: Missed
Javier Vazquez: Refused
Brian McCann: 1/8
David Ross: 1/9
Yunel Escobar: Missed
Omar Infante: Missed
Kelly Johnson: Missed
Chipper Jones: 2/9
Casey Kotchman: Refused
Martin Prado: 3/3
Garrett Anderson: Refused
Matt Diaz: Missed
Jeff Francoeur: 2/9
Greg Norton: 3/3
Jordan Schaffer: 1/1 (Team Picture Card)
Jorge Campillo: Missed
Tom Glavine: Missed
Tim Hudson: Refused
Bobby Cox: Missed
Terry Pendleton: 1/2
Eddie Perez: 1/1
Don Sutton: 2/2

Braves Total: 35

Here are the highlights:

I will have an update about Tuesday, May 12, up tomorrow night. It was an awesome day. Even better than this day. Not as much total, but the quality was just insane.

Season Stats:
Monday’s Total: 35 Autographs
Season Total: 249 Autographs:
Season Average: 49.8 Autographs/Hotel

May 9, 2009: Pittsburgh Pirates Hotel

So I am finally made it home from college Friday afternoon. I unpacked my stuff and relaxed for a little while before heading over to my friend Dan’s house that night. We hung out with some of his friends and did out last minute preparations for our cards and made our way to bed.

We woke up at 5:30ish to the (at least I think) wonderful sound of rain banging on the roof and splashing the trees outside. Rain usually is not a good thing. But by the time we left at 6, the rain had subsided. We grabbed an express train and in just about an hour we were in NYC.

As soon as we arrived at the hotel we ran into another collector who was signaling us to come to where he was. Matt Capps and another player and a few coaches were already walking away. We caught up to Matt Capps. Matt is a cool guy and signed 2 each for us. He probably would have signed more but the other guys who he was with were still walking and he ran to catch up with them. But considering it was just 7:40 in the morning, I’ll gladly take two autographs at that point.

Then we saw a group of three players, headlined by 2008 All-Star Nate McLouth. The left through a side entrance of the hotel and we ran around to go get them. The other guys were Ryan Doumit and Andy LaRoche. The first player I got was Nate McLouth. Nate is a cool guy. He looks more like a surfer than anything, if you ask me. He has long(er) blonde hair and he has it slicked back. He used to sign everything for everyone. Now, he just does one. That’s infortunate, but hey, one is better than none. We followed Doumit and LaRoche into the subway at this point. Doumit was not signing. He signed one or two, but he said no when I got up to him. Andy LaRoche was cool though and he signed a new 2009 Spectrum card. Take a look at that card:

I like the card. Its shiny and nice, but is it me or is purple just not supposed to be the background color of a baseball card?

Anyway, we made our way back up to the hotel. The next player out was Evan Meek. Evan is my new favorite player, okay, well one of them. Evan comes out and no problems comes over and starts signing, and then I had the coolest conversation with a baseball player ever.

“So have you guys been able to get to the new ballparks yet?” Asked Evan, directly to me.

“No man, I literally jost got home from college yesterday.” I replied.

“Oh cool. Where do you go to school.”

“I go to Keene State. It’s in New Hampshire, about four hourse from here.”

“Hmm, what’s it like up there?”

“Its cold. But the parties are insane and usually about 90% of the school is trashed on the weekends.”

“Well thats not good.”

“Well its alright, I mean the parties are good at least.”

“Oh you said trashed. I thought you said something else. Thats good that the parties are good. How’s the meat?”

I stopped with the most confused look on my face. “The meat?”

“Yeah, you know the ladies.” He added.

“Oh yeah, the ladies are good. Very good.”

“Thats good.” He added as he finsihed signing all 5 of my cards.

Just an awesome guy. I wish all players were like him. It would make my life much easier and much more enjoyable, but I guess thats part of the fun not knowing who is going to sign going into the day. Here is a blurry, but nice shot of Evan and the very lucky lady who Evan is with:

Then the bus showed up. Since it was a day game the players were leaving the hotel by really no later than 9:30. The first guy that I got getting on the bus was that day’s starter Paul Maholm. Paul is a cool guy, but usually wont sign before he pitches, but for some reason he did today, and unfortunately his generousity didnt work out for him so much on the mound, but he did hit his first career homerun, which is tough to do at CitiField.

The next guy I got was Bob Walk. Bob was a former major league pitcher for the Pirates, Phillies, and Braves and is currently a play by play man for the Pirates. He has a nice signature and signed one out of the four cards I had.

Then came out Ian Snell. Ian is a great guy, and I have gotten him many times in the past before. He will sign whatever you have, and he gladly did a board of 9 for me, including 4 (FOUR!) Allen and Ginters, and you know me and my love for signed Allen and Ginters. I also got a 2008 Spectrum done (luckily not a purple background,) a 2008 Heriatge, 2 2007 Fleers, and a 2005 Topps Total that was already signed by Soloman Torres. The Topps Total Sets were large 700+ card sets that featured over 800 players. Some of the cards had 2 players on them. This one featured Soloman Torres and Ian Snell. I have gotten one of these signed by both of them before, and this one had been signed by Soloman Torres in 2006, and now completed by Ian Snell in 2009. NICE!

I got Adam LaRoche to sign one before he grabbed the bus as well, and yep, another Allen and Ginter!

That was the last auto for the morning. 21 total for 2 hours work, not bad, not bad at all. I was a happy camper.

A fellow collecor named Jon as well as myslef and my friend Dan decided to hit up a card shop we heard about that was in Brooklyn on Nostrand Avenue. We headed over to Grand Central to grab either the 4 or the 5 subway and we took it down to 14th street where we grabbed the L train, and after 4 stops of being on that train, we transfered to the G. We got off a few stops later at Nostrand Avenue and when we got to the streets we realized that we were a few miles away. About 6 to be exact. We started walking but when we got to some random boulevard and saw the 3 subway entrance we realize we were in trouble. I wanted to take the bus but no one else felt like dropping $2 to take it. So we got on the 3 and took it one stop and transfered to the 4 train and took it to Wall Street to check out a different card shop called Chameleon Cards and Comics.

Its a nice store and although they dont have a great selection of cards its a real neat place and they have some great prices. Dan bought a box of Allen and Ginter for $63! I bought a box of about 1000 2009 topps cards for just $13. The amount of cards in there were about 2 and a half hobby boxes worth, and probably would have cost close to $160 if I bought the actual boxes of them.

We paid and headed over to this McDonalds where we grabbed lunch and then opened our cards. It was a “McCafe” and it was insanely nice. They even had a guy playing piano. I looked through my cards, Dan opened his box, Jon looked at what he got. I found some Pirates and added them into my binders, and made sure they were erased down so the sharpie doesnt run. We were there for a good 45 minutes or so.

After leaving, Jon got some sushi from a place across the street while Dan looked up card shops on his iPhone. We found one on the upper east side and decided to check it out. It was not worth it by any means. It was super expensive and they had a horrible selection.

Either way, Jon left to go play softball and Dan and I decided to go to Queens to an old card shop that I went to when I was a kid. I couldnt find it when I went out to Queens two weekends ago, but today we found it. They had moved. But let me tell you, I wish we hadn’t gone. It was boring. They didnt sell packs, just boxes and they had mainly Pokemon and Magic cards anyway.

Dan and I got some Taco Bell and headed back to the city for the post-game graphing.

We got no one coming off the bus. That sucks A LOT.  

Evan Meek came out again. Too bad I didnt have anything left for him, but he went to go pick up a suit, since the players are required to wear them on getaway day (the last day of the series) which would have been the next day.

Upon his return a beggar who couldnt have been more than 25 went up to him and asked for some money to which Evan disgustidly said no to. He walked right by us.

“Yeah, you tell those bums Evam.” I said to him.

“Jesus, these kids need to get off the f-ing heroine and go to school.” He said, rolling his eyes.

If you didnt see it before, NOW can you see why he is the man? He is in fact the man, so much so that when he came out again after that with his lady again, I had to get a picture with him, and got yet another cool conversation.

“Evan, any chance I could get a picture with you cause your so freaking awesome?!”

“Sure bud, but what makes me so awesome?”

“Your a really nice guy, just down to earth, funny, and that herione and bum comment was freaking hilarious.”

We took the picture and I think you can see in the bottom right hand corner that his girl wouldnt even let his hand go. I mean I guess cause Evan is so cool that she though I was trying to steal him from her? Well I doubt it was that, but she didnt let his hand go.

The first guy I got to sign after the game was Sean Burnett. I was suprised at how many cards I had of him. 7 in total, 4 different. He was a nice guy and did all 7. Not a great signature and to add to that he is wearing a black jersey or jacket in all 7 cards so the blue sharpie is very hard to see in some cases.

Matt Capps then came out with his gorgeous blonde wife, and signed three more while walking. Like before he was a cool guy and had no problem doing it. The next guy out was Paul Maholm, who had not pitched well. But for most of these guys, they leave their emotions on the field and when they come back its like the game hadn’t even happened. I guess that happens when you play 162 times a year. Paul signed another card for me, and I congratulated him for hitting his first career homerun, which he was actually very excited about. Plus I got a proof shot of him signing for Mary, who is a veteran collector and has many thousands of things signed. Shes a funny woman, and if you know her you will know that she calls just about every player “homeboy” and for some reason players love her and always seem to sign for her when they otherwise say “no.” She has helped me get Hanley Ramirez in the past, so hey, she knows what shes doing. Heres the pic:

Then a group of players came out led by Freddy Sanchez. Ian Snell, Brian Bixler and Ramon Vazquez came out. I had tried to get Freddy when he came off the bus but he mumbled something that I couldnt understand. I guess he said I’ll sign when I come back out, since thats what he did. He can be very tough to get sometimes and I was pumped when I got him to sign my, you guessed it, Allen and Ginter.

A few minutes later Eric Hinske came out with Ryan Doumit. Eric signed one for me but Ryan wouldn’t do it. I dont know if it maybe was uncomforatble for him since he had a broken wrist and was in a cast or if he just didnt want to. He did a few in the morning, but he started saying no. It could have hurt him. Either way I struck up a little conversation with him, asking him about the injury and wishing him the best in his recovery. He was nice, just didnt sign. Whatever. He had a cast on, thats an excuse right there, so no hard feelings.

Then Adam LaRoche came out. His wife was there, with his kids. so were Adam’s parents. If you dont know, Adam’s dad is a former player and current coach on a AAA team. So what he was doing in NY is beyond me, but the next day was Mother’s day so they were probably spending some time together as a family, a nice family, only without Andy. I dont know what Andy did, maybe they dont like him cause he isnt as good as Adam? But he wasnt there. Adam signed one, this time a 2007 Allen and Ginter. I had gotten the 2008 version signed that morning.

Then that group of players (Sanchez, Bixler, Snell, Vazquez) came back, minus Vazquez. I got Brian Bixler to sign 5 cards, inclduing 3 that I had gotten in that box of 2009 cards from the card shop before.

Then Andy LaRoche came out with Delwyn Young and another player who I had nothing for. I honestly dont know who it was, I dont remember, but thats unimportant. I got LaRoche to sign one and of course Delwyn Young is living in a fanatsy world where the Pirates go 162-0 each year and he hits .793 with 321 HRs and 981 RBIs a season, so he wouldnt even look at a pen.

The last player who I would get was Zach Duke. We followed him around the corner and when he realized that there were like 3 people he stopped and signed. I dont know what had gotten into him, because he used to be insanely nice, but something changed and he was kind of nasty now.

That was it for the day. Dan and I took a 7:45 train back. Normally we would have stayed later, but we got everyone pretty much on the team worth getting and we wanted to go out so we left. We went out and had fun.

Overall, theyre a good team. They have a few players who do need to get their heads out of their behinds and realize that theyre not THAT good. Cough, cough: Delwyn Young, Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen, and Tyler Yates.

Heres the recap:

Pittsburgh Pirates:
Sean Burnett: 7/7
Matt Capps: 5/9
Jesse Chavez: 0/0
Zach Duke: 2/9
John Grabow: Missed
Jeff Karstens: Missed
Paul Maholm: 2/9
Evan Meek: 5/5
Ross Ohlendorf: Missed
Ian Snell: 9/9
Donald Veal: 0/0
Tyler Yates: Refused
Robinzon Diaz: Missed
Jason Jaramillo: Missed
Brian Bixler: 5/5
Adam LaRoche: 2/9
Andy LaRoche: 2/9
Freddy Sanchez: 1/9
Ramon Vazquez: Missed
Eric Hinske: 1/9
Nate McLouth: 1/9
Craig Monroe: Refused
Nyjer Morgan: Refused
Brandon Moss: Refused
Delwyn Young: Refused
Craig Hansen: Refused
Ryan Doumit: Refused
John Russell: Refused
Bob Walk: 1/4
John Wehner 0/0

Pirates Total: 43

Here is a look at the highlights for today:

I was in the city on Monday (5/11) and Tuesday (5/12) so there will be updates on that very soon, and I had VERY, VERY solid days both days. So check back in tomorrow or Thursday for those updates!

Season Stats:
Saturday’s Total: 43 Autographs
Season Total: 214 Autographs
Average Total: 53.5 Autographs/Hotel