Wednesday, October 24, 2012

RBI (113) An Odd Giant...

If you haven't noticed I'm starting to get a bit more free time so I'm trying to stay current with baseball as the World Series begins. Pitching tonight in a historic Game 1 where Pablo Sandoval hit at least 3 Home Runs and is 4-4 so far in the night is a giant amongst Giants, but they still call him "Tiny" Tim "The Franchise" Lincecum.

Timmy was taken multiple times in the MLB draft but only signed after he was taken 10th overall by the San Francisco Giants in 2006. He made his debut for the Giants in 2007 as a 24 game starter. From 2008 to 2011 Tim was beyond dominant for the Giants being named a 4-time All Star, winning back to back Cy Young Awards and helping the Giants franchise win their first world series in San Francisco. 2012 hasn't been kind to Timmy as evident by him pitching in Game 1 of the the 2012 World Series out of the bullpen opposed to starting the game like in 2010. His ERA, inning pitched, and strikeout number are well below his career norms, likely due to a decline in velocity to his fastball.

While some are wondering if the franchise can ever be the same, I wonder if he even has to be. Veteran pitcher Tim Hudson had some advice that I believe to be quite true and reflects the idea Steve McCatty recently talked about while discussing his Washington Nationals pitching staff. Strikeouts are attractive, make highlight reels, and fill stat books. They also raise pitch counts and don't necessarily win games. Outs do.

Lincecum has outstanding off speed stuff that can crush opposing batters so long as he throws his slower fastball with control instead of trying to blow through guys and still missing the strike zone or giving up hits. Establishing the strike zone with more control so he can pull the string for weak groundouts with his deceptive off speed stuff will make Timmy's career rebound. Tiny Tim's coming up for a Giant rebound I think and just by the floor of this year and the massively high ceiling he has if he starts to control his fastball more can set him up for a steal of a Comeback Player of the Year award.
Lincecum signed this for me during interleague play during the 2012 season at Angel Stadium. I was really excited to get his autograph and when he saw the Gypsy Queen he was shocked at how nice it looked and he thought it was one of his best. I was surprised he didn't know what it looked like and asked if he didn't see his cards. I guess Topps doesn't show the players what they're going to look like because he responded "No man I never see my cards." I asked if he wanted to see his All Star card from 2011 and he said yeah after I sign for the rest of the crowd. Tim signed down the line and then signed back up to me and took the card to check it out. He thought it was a funny photo of him and signed it for me. It was a quick encounter but definitely awesome.

Congrats to Tim Lincecum for throwing his no hitter and it makes these Tim Lincecum autographed baseball cards even more awesome to have in my collection.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

RBI (112) A Post Season Regular...

It struck me as unusual that this October Johnny Damon was no where to be found. Damon has easily been one of the more popular players in the MLB as he bounced around team to team throughout his remarkable 18 year career.

Taken in the 1st round of the 1992 draft by the Kansas City Royals, Damon debuted quickly in 1995. After 6 years in Kansas he was sent to Oakland where he had a strong year that netted him a large contract with the Boston Red Sox. He left the Sox after 4 seasons infamously to cut his trademark locks for the New York Yankees for 4 seasons before being a gunslinger for Detroit, Tampa Bay, and Cleveland. He is a 2-time All Star and won 2 World Series Championships, one of the most memorable in sports history with the 2004 Red Sox and then one with the Yankees.

He sits at 2769 hits, 235 Home Runs, 1668 Runs scored, 1139 RBI's driven in and 408 Steals. His career .284 average goes along with a robust .352 OBP. While his home run numbers aren't overly impressive for having a 18 season career his 522 doubles and 109 Triples means 631 of his 2534 non-home run hits were for extra bases. For someone who batted leadoff or in the upper end of the order for most of his career Damon was hitting for extra bases at a clip of 1:4 hits or basically almost one a night. Not too shabby and it could be one reason that helped his teams appear in October for almost half his career.
Interestingly I wasn't the one to get this autograph. I was out in the outfield hunting for baseballs and had forgotten this team card and sharpie with my parents. Seeing him hanging out around the fans my mom actually went down the line and got Damon to sign this 2011 Topps team card for me. I was definitely excited when I found out she got it for me seeing as his importance to the '04 Sox.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RBI (111) Johnny Cupcakes...

Continuing on with my little bit of off mainstream sports hit I decided to post another autograph I got from the world of clothing. Johnny Cupcakes is a Boston based designer who has done collaborations with top notch companies like Nickelodeon, Hello Kitty, and always manages to add a whimsical component to every piece.

The signature logo of the company is a cupcake with crossbones underneath. It's playful and gives plenty of different spin off ideas to have a pretty fun line of t-shirts. They've opened stores in Boston, Los Angeles, and London all the while maintaing a sense of exclusivity by limiting the number of shirts produced and hand numbering various products. A regional theme is kept with the shirts at each store as playoff seasons typically result in local teams colors being produced for sports fans.

The owner Johnny is a pretty amusing prankster who likes to leave presents for his customers so an in store purchase may result in opening your box to reveal a classic 90's TV show trading card or free stickers and buttons. His fun personality is probably why bands such as Gym Class Heroes and Four Year Strong are supporters of the brand, showing up randomly to visit the stores, events, or appearing in internet commercials/promotional photos.
I had Johnny Cupcakes autograph this postcard advertising the grand opening of his store in Los Angeles when I ran into him while at the Boston store for the release of a new limited shirt. It's a little tough to see since he carried a silver sharpie and signed across part of the grey background but he also drew the cupcakes logo under his name. It's random but I do enjoy little postcard prints like this or the KIC Spacey print since they're fun to frame and quickly interchangeable.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

RBI (110) HUGE Hit...

That's not just my opinion over this autograph either. I know we all have our different niches in the autograph community and one of mine happens to include the owners of various companies. It's not just your run of the mill company that I'm interested in though.

I am a fan of the clothing brand The Hundreds. Those of you who read my blog and are younger probably already know the brand from personal experience, and those sports fans a little out of that demographic have more than likely seen it's designs somewhere or may recognize their little logo. One of the owners of the brand is actually from my home town and graduated from a rival high school. So not only do I like the clothing, but I always tend to root for the local guys.

As the brand expanded they added to existing stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and opened one in Santa Monica. Many people questioned opening a second store in the LA area, but personally I think it makes sense since Southern California residents can testify stores and residents in Fairfax and Santa Monica are nothing alike. I had the day off of work on the day of the Grand Opening for the Santa Monica store so I went. I picked up a few store exclusive pieces and a copy of their latest magazine issue (that's right they print a magazine too). Local boy Bobby Hundreds was there and I had him autograph a copy of the magazine after we talked for a few minutes about home.

I think we can all agree it was a pretty decent issue to get signed. I also think it's funny that the "Adam Bomb" he drew isn't in it's normal pose and the eyes are looking up to stare at models Holly Madison and Angel Porino showing off the summer bikini line. I wonder if this is the magazine equivalent to sweet spotting a baseball or him having some fun with it? I mean how often does someone get an excuse to doodle on a hot picture of Holly Madison's bikini body? Seeing as both of them are in the LA area fairly frequently I may try to finish the cover, but I'm not sure I really want to.
You can follow Bobby on twitter @BobbyHundreds he's actually a pretty entertaining writer and talented photographer if you're interested in that sort of thing from the streetwear scene. This Bobby Hundreds autographed magazine may be one of the best visually appealing autographs I have to I may have to frame this one up with my KIC Spacey print from the Set Up The Upset tshirt package.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

RBI (109) 2012 Season Summary

Well folks the regular season is over and it's time for my autograph season summary since the Angels, Padres and Dodgers missed the post season.

64 Games attended at Angel Stadium this season which combined with the 72 last season means a running total of 136 consecutive games at home with at least one autograph. My total consecutive streak ended at Fenway when I opted to attend early but didn't graph and instead enjoyed 100 years of baseball in the hallowed ballpark.

3 Parks visited: Angel Stadium 64 games, Fenway Park 2 games, and Petco Park 1 game.

I had more precise numbers until my iPhone died so I'll say I got approximately 140 autographs this season at a stadium plus a few through other autograph signings.

The highlight pieces of the year. Some are because of what's signed and others because who the signer is.

The AL Rookie of the Year and possible MVP Mike Trout autographed 8x10 photograph I took.
One of my favorite players of all time Dustin Pedroia on my Fenway Seat.
Mark Trumbo on the custom poster I designed for him to sign.
Yankee Captain and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter autographed all star baseball.
Ranger superstar and former AL MVP Josh Hamilton autographed World Series baseball.
And the final highlight piece of the year would be the custom poster designed for Ernesto Frieri that he autographed and inscribed for me.
It was a great season and I definitely enjoyed the experience graphing with everyone. There are some more key pieces that I picked up but these are some of my favorites on the year and I'm excited to see how I can top myself in 2013.

Stay tuned for a follow up posting about the worst autographs that I was able to get this year...