Monday, July 22, 2013

Autograph Collecting Essentials 3, How to get autographs at a MLB Stadium

Over the past few years I've often gotten many emails from readers asking how to get autographs at a Major League Baseball Stadium. Normally I'm asked specific questions about where to go before, during or after the game to get a player to sign at specific stadiums. I've never given out too many specifics because I tend to compare graphing to fishing. You may have your best friend who is a regular fisherman teach you how to cast but you wouldn't expect him to give up his best lures or favorite fishing holes would you? Didn't think so.

Here are a few essential basic tips though to help give you a leg up on the competition of the average casual fan trying to get a souvenir baseball signed though I wouldn't say they'd give you much of a lead over regular graphers like myself.

Timing: Get there so you're actually there while the player is available. Don't expect to score an autograph from someone if you come 5 minutes before first pitch. If you want to get a certain players autograph you should be inside while he's around. Common sense yes?

Ballhawk vs Grapher: Decide if you want a ball or an autograph. You can try to chase both but it's tough. Not many people are very good ball hawkers and graphers, choose one. If you want a bp ball then hit the outfield. Don't just hope for a foul ball to slice to you, go to where the balls are coming to you. And always take a glove if you think you're even going to try for a ball.

Priorities: If you want autographs, decide who you want. Pick a team and stick with them. Pick which player you want and stick with trying to get them.

Supplies: If you decide to spend the time to chase an autograph make sure you're equipped right. You can read the entire essentials article on your supplies here.

If you were expecting a step by step list of directions of how to get an autograph at Angel Stadium, where to get players autographs at Dodger Stadium, which hotel the Red Sox stay in, or any other information like that well then you need to realize this hobby is a lot like the game itself. You can read about it all you want but sometimes you need to get dirty and out there to the park. You may strikeout or you may hit a home run, you never know how it'll go. My streak of 144 consecutive Angel games with at least one autograph ended this season and it's likely I'll never be able to run a streak so high again. Even the best out there can't bat a thousand so the final piece of advice I'll throw out there is this. Be patient and if you work hard enough it'll pay off.

If that's too much work and you'd rather stick with how to get autographs TTM you can read my much more in depth article here.

For even more knowledge on the autograph craft I'd recommend you start to attend Autograph University a great resource for the graphing community run by the always knowledgeable Matt Raymond who has his own great stories and networked a large group of successful autograph hunters to share their knowledge for those already in the hobby or just learning.

Here's a random photo I took of Petco Park at the Padres 2013 Fan Fest because I like it. If you're interested in getting signatures in San Diego and want to know more inside tips on in person autographs at Petco Park read this post.

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