Sunday, April 20, 2014

RBI (206) Sonny Gray...

Well Billy Beane's done it again in finding the right arm at the tight time in starting pitcher and future star Sonny Gray. Gray was first drafted in the 27th round of the 2008 draft but held out and went to Vanderbilt until the 2011 MLB draft when he was taken 18th overall by Oakland.

Gray made an immediate impact for the A's when he was called up in 2013 and made his MLB debut. He helped the A's clinch their playoff berth and then went up against reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in the playoffs for two strong starts. He's stepped up as a big arm in the rotation as the starter who took the mound for the A's home opener and is pushing them toward another AL West title.
I was able to get this Sonny Gray autographed baseball before a game when the A's came to play the Angels during the 2014 season. It's nice getting promising young players and getting him on a ball sweet spotted before the hype train really gets going and they stop sweet spotting is always a bonus.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

RBI (205) Curtis Granderson...

Recently Curtis Granderson has been in the news since an incident where a fan touched Grandy during a game. Surprising to most people Curtis didn't press charges against the fan, but I don't find that very surprising at all. Since his days in Detroit and even as a Yankee and still as a Met Granderson has proven himself to be one of the classiest ball players out there.

I had the chance to get the former 3rd round pick of the 2002 MLB draft finally for my collection. He's a Silver Slugger winner, multiple time All-Star and received the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award. He does a little bit of everything with reasonable numbers in every category and has proven to be the nicest guy in my run in with him.
Grandy was very polite while signing for a few fans responding to questions and asking about our day while he autographed our items. I told him I was sorry he had that bad encounter with a fan here in Southern California and he was very polite about the whole thing. I'm really glad to add this Curtis Granderson autographed 2014 Topps Heritage inscribed "Go Mets!" to my collection and cross his short print off the list.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Autograph Opportunity, Paul Lo Duca April 26, 2014

On the 26th of April there's an opportunity to meet with Dodger and Met fan favorite Paul Lo Duca making a Southern California appearance.
Lo Duca will be appearing at Dr. Alex Corbin Liu's practice in Rowland Heights. It's a great chance to meet the 4x All Star and get his autograph at a great price with any item being $20 and $8 per inscription. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity and remember there are mail order and presale options available.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Autograph Recap Brian Wilson Rancho Cucamonga Rehab 4/5/14

Well the day after I went to Rancho for Josh Beckett's rehab start I was back in the car heading out to try and catch Brian Wilson doing his own rehab assignment.

I got there later than for Beckett since I didn't have a need for the minor leaguers and waited for Wilson. Apparently he caught very heavy traffic on the drive in so he didn't sign since he arrived barely before the gates opened.
Note the shoes. Only Brian Wilson could get away with that. I like how these are done in the team colors so he can have his personality and avoid another notice from MLB about his flair.
After warming up Wilson tossed one quick inning and then headed out to drive to Los Angeles.
When Wilson came out there was a large crowd but he started knocking out the autographs for those who waited. I got my Brian Wilson and Buster Posey Sports Illustrated autographed, which was nice since I've held onto it since 2010 when the Giants won the World Series.
After he signed my Sports Illustrated Wilson also autographed my 2014 Topps Heritage. One more off the list for the set, and now happily I can ignore him when I see the Dodgers and chase other players.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Autograph Recap Josh Beckett Rancho Cucamonga Rehab 4/4/14

Dodgers starting pitcher Josh Beckett was slated for a surprise rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga. With the Dodgers home opener the same day I figured the graphers would be light in attendance and I'd be able to knock out a big autograph for myself without having to go to LA.

The day started off well with much hyped prospect Corey Seager signing a 2013 Bowman prospect card for me. I've seen Corey be a good signer the past few times I've gone to Rancho, but I've never had anything for him so I made sure to bring along a card this time.
After Seager came in a steady stream of minor leaguers made their way in before Beckett finally came. Josh autographed my Fenway seat back, and it was a big addition for me to put the 2007 World Series Champion on it.
After Beckett signed I returned home and waited to head back to Rancho for the game. I went inside and ran into fellow graphers Matt and David and it began the second part of the day.
Finally Beckett left his rehab start and signed a for a few fans, he ran with a black sharpie and I was able to get my 2014 Topps Heritage card done for my set.
To cap the day uber prospect Julio Urias also signed after the game. I remember watching Puig walk past me in Rancho and regret never taking a shot at him considering how things turned out. I wasn't going to let this happen again so I got this Julio Urias baseball and had him sign his Quakes debut ticket.
It was a very long but satisfying day to knock off a card for my set, pair of top prospects and my Fenway seat back.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Autograph Recap Angels vs Mariners Opening Series...

Baseball. It's back. The first team to come into town was Seattle Mariners and I did pretty well knocking out the first part of my complete 2014 Topps Heritage set.
Game 1: I wasn't able to get anything pre-game so I gave up and went to grab a nice lunch with Rob and Benson to celebrate baseball coming back. It was a good change of pace from the normal value menu binge we make later on in the season. When we went inside it was great to be officially back. I started off with Logan Morrison signing a pair of his Topps Heritage. Lomo autographed one normally and on the other wrote his twitter handle "@cupoflomo" for me.
Next up I was able to get the new man of the hour Robinson Cano's autograph. To be honest I was a little unprepared for Cano to come out and point at me to sign so I went with the first thing I had in front of me and tossed my card instead of a ball. It's official I'll have to be committed to this set now.
After Cano signed I got Abraham Almonte to sign his half of his rookie stars card. He's an interesting prospect making good use of his chance so it'll be interesting what he does.
I already posted about getting Brad Miller's autograph on a baseball, and I got Miller's heritage card signed after game one.
Game 2: I started the day off pretty well getting outfielder Dustin Ackley's autograph. He was nice and knocked a few out for those who asked.
It was a good feeling getting Michael Saunder's autograph finally after being unsuccessful over the past few years to get him to sign something. It's very satisfying to have him sign his heritage early.
After Saunders signed for me slugger and 2-time All Star Corey Hart came over and autographed his heritage.
Game 3: For the third game I picked up where I left off getting a guy who has been historically tough for me. Even though Justin Smoak has played his whole career in the AL West I've never been able to get him to sign for me. I got his heritage autographed and it's nice to get him off the list.
After Smoak I got third baseman Kyle Seager to sign for me before the game started. Seager's part of the new wave of prospects establishing themselves early into true big league players so it's good to have him done before he gets tougher.
I didn't stay for post game action and headed home satisfied to have knocked off most of my Mariners heritage cards and glad baseball is back.

Autograph Recap 2014 Exhibition Angels Vs Dodgers series...

As I posted previously when I put up the Kenley Jansen autograph I got I went to Dodger Stadium to graph the Angels. The following day was the Angels pitiful excuse of a "fiesta" fan fest, Mike Trout extension press conference and Dodger game. This year I'll be beginning the long and arduous task of collecting the Topps Heritage 2014 set and getting it autographed. I've bought a complete low number set and am working on assembling the short prints.

The first card I got signed for my set was my David Freese short print during Spring Training so it was time to finally get to work on the set. While at Dodger stadium I was able to get Kole Calhoun to sign his heritage and inscribe "Red Baron" on it.
I started off the next day Saturday at Angel Stadium getting this Matt Shoemaker autograph on his Rookie stars card with my buddy David.
After Shoemaker we went to the press conference and the fiesta where the only coaches to sign were Steve Soliz, Gary DiSarcina, and Don Baylor, and no active player did an autograph session or signed at the press conference. Bust.
We went inside the stadium and I was able to get a long time favorite Matt Kemp's autograph on his heritage card when he finished his batting practice session.
After Kemp signed I waited for the rest of batting practice to finish up, but it was slow so I tried my luck with the players when they stretched. I got my Carl Crawford autographed card, even though it wasn't the best signature.
Post game was a bust as I got shot down by the players as they left for San Diego to start the regular season.