Sunday, August 26, 2012

RBI (103) Jered Weaver, No-Hitter...

I think one of the best parts about baseball is how easy it is to fall in love with the game. There are times where a fun outing to a ball game becomes moment in history and everyone holds their breath as the magic of the game captivates tens of thousands of people at once. It's a game that can mean something to someone and hold you transfixed without even realizing what's happening.

I've been present for some pretty great moments and career milestones, from Ellsbury's straight steal of home against Andy Pettite, CC Sabathia's 2000th strikeout, and Jonathan Papelbon's final appearance as a starter. But the most magical would probably have to be Jered Weaver's No Hitter of the Minnesota Twins on 5/2/12.

It was a masterful start and throughout the entire game the stadium knew something special was happening. Even after his wrist was hit by a pitch and would eventually require surgery, catcher Chris Ianetta trucked on through the game to help Weave cut through the Twins lineup. Weaver only allowed 2 base runners the entire game, a reach on a passed ball after a strikeout and a walk. When he retook the mound in the 9th the stadium alternated from a pitched cheer to a collective hush as everyone held their breath. Finally the last out was recorded by Torii Hunter on a long fly ball the right field and Weaver had done what he had flirted with so many times before.

Weaver is a very tough autograph to get. As a top end starter amongst the elite of the AL he is understandably not a guy often going out and about signing autographs. He did however have a very uncharacteristic free public autograph signing. The signing was held at Pechanga Indian Casino and was very very busy.
I arrived a little late having gone to work and zoning out on the freeway and ending up heading toward the wrong casino. By the time I realized where I was and flipped around to head the right way I was behind schedule. Luckily my friends were pretty far ahead in the line and saved a spot for me. It was a big line that wrapped around the upper level in 3 sections.
There was a VIP line that was going to start at 6:00 pm and go till 7:00 with the regular line going till 9:00, but since there were only a handful of VIPs' Weaver decided to just power through and sign for the public. When you finally got your time with the man of the hour it was a pretty amazing opportunity. The signing handlers didn't let anyone take photos of Weaver while he was signing but he was pretty personable and inscribed his no hitter at request.
Weaver was signing a little inconsistently when he would sign but not always put his number or the date for the no-hitter, but considering he ended up doing more than 600 autographs that's to be expected. I was lucky enough to get a perfect signature, with his jersey number, inscription, and the no hitter date. It's definitely a highlight piece for me especially since I was at the game. I'm very happy to have this Jered Weaver autographed baseball on the sweetspot of the ROMLB with No Hitter inscription dated 5-2-12.

Interestingly this is a game used ball from the first Angels vs Ray series in the 2012 season that was given to me by an umpire.

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