Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RBI (177) Jason Kipnis...

The American League is stacked with some quality second basemen from Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia and now Jason Kipnis. Kipnis is a huge part of the Indians revival as a cornerstone of the franchise.

Kipnis was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLB draft and debuted in 2011 for the Indians. He's been a reliable solution for the tribe at second base with a combination of solid defense, home run power and speed on the base paths. In two full seasons he's already developed into a consistent 15/25 player. His solid numbers have resulted in an All Star nod already with more recognition likely in store for him down the road though hardware will be tough to come by considering Pedroia and Cano's residence in the AL.
I was lucky enough to get this Jason Kipnis autographed 2012 Topps Heritage card during the Indians vs Angels series at Angel Stadium during the 2013 season. I did well getting Cleveland Indians autographs this season so I'm looking forward to them coming back around so I can work on getting a few more signatures.

Monday, August 26, 2013

RBI (176) A Comeback All Star...

Recently I was able to get the autograph of former All Star pitcher Scott Kazmir.

Kazmir was drafted 15th overall in the 2002 Draft by the New York Mets despite verbally committing to the Longhorns. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004 and became a staff leader until he was traded to the Angels. After the trade his career fell apart and he dropped out of baseball until he worked his way back through independent ball and the minors to come back up with the Indians. He's been a 2-time All Star and was the 2007 AL Strikeout leader.
Scott Kazmir autographed this 2011 Topps Heritage card for me and was nice enough to inscribe "All Star" on it when I asked him to. To be honest I wasn't a huge Kazmir fan but seeing how he fought his way back into baseball to be part of the Indians resurgence makes me respect him a lot.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

RBI (175) Terry Francona...

I was very happy to get a Terry Francona autographed baseball to add to my collection. It took a few attempts with him as an analyst, Red Sox manager and as manager of the Indians but I was glad to get a ball signed by Francona in my shelf.

Francona is one of the top autographs for me in Red Sox history since he is the manager that was able to break the curse and bring a World Series championship to Boston. He not only broke the curse but also won the 2007 World Series making himself a key part of the Red Sox dynasty. The infamous breakup of the clubhouse cost him his position in Boston and after some time away from managing he has helped turn the Indians around. He's crossed the 1,000 Win plateau and earned two rings, he's definitely one of the top managers in the game.
I got Terry Francona's autograph on this baseball when the Indians came to play the Angels at Angel Stadium during the 2013 season. I had sent a card to Tito during the 365 challenge that I wasn't able to get back so it really means a lot to put this in my collection. I think I'll be trying to get a copy of Francona's book autographed next season and work on getting Francona's signature on my Fenway Park seat.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

RBI (174) Justin Masterson Jersey...

I've posted about my Justin Masterson collection that I've slowly been building and I made a big addition. 2013 has been a huge breakout year for Masterson with him being amongst the top of the AL Strikeout leaders and a strong record. He was named an All Star for the first time so I went ahead and got a Masterson All Star Game bp jersey.
When the Indians came to town I was able to get this Justin Masterson autographed jersey on the numbers with a silver paint pen. He was kind enough to do a dual inscription "1st ASG" and then wrote the bible verse "John 16:33" I'm really happy with how it came out and it's one of my favorite autographs I've been able to get. Without a doubt Justin's one of the nicest and most accommodating signers in baseball whenever he gives out an autograph he really takes his time and knocks them out. He's always sure to give a consistent signature and almost always puts a verse when he signs. Seeing how he incorporated the All Star inscription into his normal signature was a really awesome touch. Justin Masterson's autograph is definitely one of my favorites.

RBI (173) Sandy Alomar Jr...

It's always nice when you're able to get a stud's autograph and it's even nicer when that stud is more than just a player but a respected name within baseball. I was able to get former catcher and current coach Sandy Alomar Jr to sign.

Alomar Jr. was signed by the San Diego Padres as an amateur free agent in 1983. He was traded by the Padres after two short call ups and broke into the Majors with the Cleveland Indians in 1990. Immediately he made a name for himself playing for the Tribe for 10 seasons before becoming a journeyman playing for the White Sox, Rockies, Rangers, Dodgers and finally the Mets. He's a 6-time All-Star and won the 1990 AL Rookie of the Year. After his playing days were over he became a coach for the Indians as well as temporary manager after Manny Acta was fired, but was passed over for Terry Francona to be Acta's replacement.
I was able to get Sandy Alomar Jr. to sign this 1991 Bowman card for me when the Indians were in town to play the Angels during the 2013 season. He was kind enough to inscribe "90 ROY" for me after I asked.

RBI (172) Jim Leyland TTM...

I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my 365 TTM's come back after a long delay. There was no postmark on it so I wasn't sure who had finally responded. When I opened the envelope I was happy to see Jim Leyland signed my card.

Leyland is notorious for chain smoking during games inside the dugout but not many people complain considering the results he's been able to get as a manager. He's won more than 1750 Games, was 2-time NL Manager of the year, AL Manager of the Year and won the 1997 World Series to give the Florida Marlins their first franchise World Series championship. As Detroit's manager he's had another World Series appearance and been one of the more humorous managers in the game. He's quoted as commenting on Orioles stud Manny Machado that he's the league leader of doubles and Leyland is second in doubles, double vodka's and double scotches. 
Jim Leyland autographed this 2011 Topps Heritage card for me that I sent TTM c/o the Tigers at Comercia Park after 1 year and 4 months.

RBI (171) Jonny Gomes...

Big thanks to Matt from MC's Autographs for this one. I was hanging out at the stadium waiting for the Red Sox when he gave me this Jonny Gomes 8x10 that he had an extra copy of so I could get it signed. I never had gotten Gomes before, so it was cool to drop a nicer item than just a card.

Gomes was taken in the 18th round of the 2001 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He debuted for the Rays in September of 2003 and then finally stuck around after a big year in the minors in 2005. He's played for the Rays, Reds, Nationals, A's and currently the Red Sox. He's been a spark plug in the rebuilt Red Sox being a part of the Red Sox beard nation that has helped rebound them from the Bobby Valentine destruction into dominance of the American League.
Jonny Gomes autographed this 8x10 photograph for me when the Red Sox came to play the Angels during the 2013 season. He laughed when he was signing the photo and a player in the dugout I couldn't see made a comment about the shot, responding he must have been hustling after a steak dinner.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ronda Rousey

It's not a secret I'm a big UFC fan and that I'm a huge Ronda Rousey fan especially after going to UFC 157. Ronda Rousey's hot, an Olympic medalist, a UFC champion and a general badass there's too much to not like. After striking out at the UFC World Tour Los Angeles I decided I wanted to add a Ronda autograph especially before it became even more difficult to get one. With her being a coach on the 18th season of the Ultimate Fighter, fighting Miesha Tate as co-main event with Anderson Silva and Chris Wieddman and getting ready to film the Expendables 3 getting Rousey to sign will be even tougher.
I got this Ronda Rousey autographed 11x14 photograph on ebay for a pretty fair price and I'm stoked to have a Ronda Rousey autograph in my collection especially after I got it PSA authenticated.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

KIC Print

I added another print to the collection that I keep displayed. This one is a small "Defy All Odds" 4x6 print of local upstart Southern California KIC brand showcasing their logo character Spacey. The brand has expanded to cover snapbacks, beanies, tshirts, stickers and even socks.
All the packages of the KIC Set Up The Upset tshirts come with Spacey stickers and a personalized note on the "Defy All Odds" Spacey print.
Obviously from the hot girls repping the KIC brand Set Up The Upset tshirt care packages and Spacey prints have some fans and I know I'm one of them.
Besides who is really going to complain about seeing hot girls in their KIC Set Up The Upset tshirts or the alien logo prints and stickers?
I know I won't be complaining. And even MMA fighter Marina Shafir likes her Spacey beanie care package.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

RPS (9) Autograph Recap Dan Henderson's Gym Grand Opening 8/18/13

I went to Temecula to go to the Grand Opening of UFC/MMA legend Dan Henderson's Gym. Hendo was scheduled to be there to celebrate the opening of the gym along with other MMA fighters including Tarec Saffiedine, Sam Smiley and referee Big John McCarthy.

I showed up to the event right when it was scheduled to start and there was a small crowd inside the gym. I walked in and right away spotted Dan Henderson greeting people as they walked in, taking photos and doing a few autographs. You can see Sam Smiley talking to people in his Team Carwin jersey from The Ultimate Fighter in the background.
I pulled out my clipboard and got Hendo to sign for me. Dan Henderson autographed another copy of this photograph since I got one at the UFC 157 open workouts but it was in silver and didn't show too well when I tried to frame it.
After he knocked out the first photo I had Dan Henderson autograph this photograph from UFC 157 of Henderson vs Lyoto Machida when he was co-main even with Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche. I told him I thought he got robbed in the decision and he said it was what it was and it couldn't change now.
After Hendo signed for me we took a photo together and I decided that was a good day for me after I walked around taking photos of Henderson's championship belts and the gym. There is a full size octagon, plenty of floor space, plenty of punching bags, a separate wrestling mat area, free weights, various machines and a room for smaller classes in the gym. It looks like it's a great facility to learn MMA or BBJ that shouldn't have people on top of each other when they're working out and I hope Hendo's team there has a lot of success.
I looked for photos of the other fighters who were going to be at the gym and I spotted them all but couldn't find anything I really wanted to print out to get signed so I bought a shirt to support Hendo's gym and went home. I wish graphing could always be that easy and fun.

If you're interested in going there, Dan Henderson's gym address is 27901 Jefferson Ave. Temecula, CA and if you want to follow Dan Henderson's Twitter it's @danhendo.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Autograph Recap San Diego Padres and New York Mets 8/15/13

Ever wonder how to get an autograph at Petco Park? Want to get autographs in San Diego? Here's as close as I'll ever directly tell anyone how to get an autograph at a MLB stadium. Yup that's how irritated I am at my recent trip down to San Diego and the way the graphing community down there was acting.

 I started the day meeting up with Al and Benson to head down to San Diego with the goal of getting Matt Harvey's autograph. That was mistake number one. We went to the game when Zack Wheeler was pitching, and David Wright doesn't travel with the team right now so there was only one guy we were really trying to get the autograph of. Always a recipe for disaster.

We parked and walked around the stadium trying to figure out the best spot for us to hang out to get incoming players. We picked the right spot if you can't tell by all the other graphers that showed up waiting for players to show up to the stadium. If you want to ask them any questions when you get there, don't bother.
It didn't matter though if players came by because the guys down here have no clue who anyone is. They'd flip through their phone while people walked by trying to look at rosters to figure out who the guy 2 feet away was. Repeatedly they would walk to someone with their books of cards ready only for the person to be either A) the wrong player or even more frequently B) a regular person walking down the street. I saw them go up to joe citizen 3 times ready to graph them.

While we watched Kyle and Matt showed up to join us so there was a healthy number of real graphers there to go to work. I was able to get this John Buck autographed 2012 Topps Heritage card to start the day. Al and I were the only ones to get him since the SD graphers had no idea why we were walking to  him.
After Buck Benson and I spotted Andrew Brown showing up to the stadium with a friend but we had nothing for him. Unfortunately the regular SD graphers were busy not paying attention and didn't even notice him despite having cards for him. They also didn't notice Ronny Cedeno walking through the group to get inside until Benson said something, but once again we didn't have anything we wanted signed by him.

A player showed up and we went closer to figure out who he was. We tried to take a glance at someone's book who was getting a card sign and AFTER he got the autograph he noticed us trying to figure out who it was and flipped his book around with his arm over it so we couldn't see. Really? You already got the autograph. Us getting a signature would have no impact on you whatsoever and in the end we didn't even have a card for the player. Why? Because it was Carlos Torres. Someone who is barely hanging around the majors which is why 5 serious graphers weren't able to figure out who he was. Nice etiquette and great pick up San Diego graphers. That's why I'm making this post.

Eric Young Jr. autographed this 2012 Topps after he showed up to the stadium. Cheers to him becoming the 2013 NL Stolen base leader.
Matt Harvey shot us down later in the day after we ran into him by the stadium while we were out going to get some food thinking he had already come in earlier in the day.

We went inside the park hoping to get him. After getting good positions above the Mets dugout Matt convinced Terry Collins to sign and our group racked him before the SD graphers were able to get one. I didn't have anything for him that I wanted signed so I called out to him since I didn't get an autograph if I could have a ball. He laughed and asked if I wanted them all but I said one would be fine and tossed me this Mets commemorative logo ball, in a good nature way saying he was done with favors for all 40,000 fans.
Harvey came in early from BP with a trainer looking irritated and didn't say anything when we asked if he could sign and we're thinking he tweaked something while running. The Mets ended and we went over to Padres side to get some more autographs since we had made the drive down and they sign down the line.
Rising star for the Padres 2nd/3rd baseman Jedd Gyorko autographed my program.
After Gyorko signed Casey Kelly came over and was signing but I already got his autograph at Padres Fanfest. Chase Headley autographed this 2012 Topps Heritage base card.
Since I had it even though I'll never finish I also had Chase Headley autograph this 2013 Topps Heritage insert.
And Yonder Alonso autographed this 2012 Topps Heritage base card with his terrible autograph in a black sharpie.
So after showing up to San Diego for the first time to graph I knocked out 6 autographs and a baseball. That's the closest I'll come to saying how to get an autograph at Petco park from visitors or from the Padres themselves. I If you want to get an autograph in San Diego didn't do all the work for you, but there's enough that you should be able to figure it out. In the words of Ron Burgundy, Stay classy San Diego.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

RBI (170) Josh Hamilton SSP...

It's always nice when you're able to get a former AL MVP's autograph and it's awesome that Josh Hamilton is such a consistent signer for the fans at home. 
I know there will be some people irritated that I had Josh Hamilton autograph this card since it's a 2012 Topps Heritage short print with black and white image swap to make it a ssp that I technically ruined by having Josh sign it. Oh well. I think it looks cool signed.

RBI (169) Ryan Dempster...

In the 3rd round of the 1995 MLB Draft pitcher Ryan Dempster was drafted by the Texas Rangers. He was traded to the Florida Marlins and debuted in 1998. He's played for the Florida Marlins, Reds, was a longtime fixture for the Chicago Cubs, Rangers and currently the Boston Red Sox. His career has had him bounce between the bullpen and rotation. He's had some strong successes in both roles being a 2-time All-Star, crossing 125 Wins and most impressively crossing the 2,000 Strikeout mark.
I was able to get this Ryan Dempster autographed 2012 Topps Heritage card before a game when he came into town the Red Sox to play at Angel Stadium during the 2013 season. He was really nice and took the time to knock out autographs for all the fans waiting before going inside the stadium. If I had realized he was going to cross the 2,000 Strikeout mark I would have dropped a ball on him but I'm glad I was able to get the card done at least.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

RPS (7) Drew League Playoffs 8/10/13

I finally decided to go into LA to go check out the legendary Drew League. David and Benson have been telling me about how cool its been this year and with the playoffs here I decided to end my summer with some fun getting autographs at the Drew League.

If you plan on going to the Drew League you need to get there early, it gets packed quickly and once they're filled they're filled and you can't get in. I opted around that since this was my finial summer autograph adventure so I decided to donate to the Drew League foundation and secured myself an assigned seat courtside for the day. Beyond graphing I was really looking forward to catching some playoff basketball with top amateurs, European league players and NBA pros. The way I looked at it, when else would I ever be able to sit court side next to some of these players.

The first game I caught had Baron Davis on the court having a good time.
After his game I was able to get this Baron Davis autographed 8x10 photo from his time with the Golden State Warriors.
After he signed Baron was super cool taking photos and saying hi to everyone as he hung out to watch some of the other games. He even took a camera himself to record some of the games and interviewed some of the other NBA players who showed up. Tayshaun Prince showed up to just watch a few games and I got a photo with him, but he didn't seem very happy about it. I didn't have an 8x10 but Brandon Jennings showed up to play and led his team to a win. Then Davis went and interviewed Kenyon Martin who showed up to watch former teammate NickYoung's MHP play.
Young and teammate Gilbert Arenas almost beat LAUNFD but Areanas missed a game tying free throw in the final seconds to give the ball back to LAUNFD for them to score on the final possession. Arenas disappeared after the game but I was able to get Nick Young to autograph this 8x10 photo of him laying down a dunk for the Wizards in front of Ron Artest.
After getting Nick Young's autograph I got a delicious grilled beef hot dog and some Drew Aide on David's recommendation. One word. Delicious. Brandon Jennings even got in line to get the same thing.
There were some good games throughout the day but the main event was the Money Gang's playoff game. The Game shot me down when I tried to get his attention after MHP's game and he was just walking around the gym and talked to actor Omar Miller who showed up to watch. Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace showed up to play for Money Gang but bolted through the gym with security. The top surprise though was James Harden showing up to play.
Harden, Artest and Game tried to get it done but they weren't able to pull off a win despite Harden having a chance at two quarter ending baskets. I was however able to get this James Harden autographed 8x10 photograph from his time with Team USA.
Big thanks to David for the tip that Harden won't sign anything from his time with the Thunder since that's what I probably would have printed. When I asked Harden to sign he looked at me then leaned in to check what photograph I had of him then nodded and reached out to take the photo and sharpie. I'm really happy to put a James Harden autograph in my NBA collection and he's definitely the best player in it by far.

Going to the Drew League playoffs was definitely an awesome way to end my summer and it's something I'm really glad I did. I wasn't able to get everyone but getting Nick Young, Baron Davis and James Harden autographs at the Drew League were worth it besides being able to watch some great basketball.

Friday, August 9, 2013

RBI (168) Elvis, The King...

No not that Elvis. Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.

Andrus was signed as an amateur free agent by the Atlanta Braves and was a key cog in the Mark Texiera trade that has paid huge dividends for the Rangers organization. Resulting in a franchise shortstop, two All Star pitchers (Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz), and a catcher who is finally catching on with the Red Sox (Saltalamacchia) it's been one of the greatest trades in the franchise as it resulted in consecutive American League Championships. The 2-time All-Star has signed a huge multi-year extension to stay with the Rangers. He's already stolen more than 150 career bases and knocked 700 hits despite only being 24. It'll be interesting to see where his career numbers end up finishing since he broke into the MLB at age 20 and has years to go.
I was able to get this Elvis Andrus autographed baseball at Angel Stadium when the Rangers came to play during the 2013 season. I was excited to see Elvis nod when I asked if he'd sign especially when I saw him nod when I asked him to sweetspot the ball. I was less excited when I got the ball back and saw he gave me a super short version of his signature. If he didn't include his jersey number I'm not sure anyone would have any sort of idea who signed the ball.

RBI (167) AJ Pierzynski...

Every time AJ Pierzynski comes to town he is met with a constant stream of boos when he's announced in the line up or comes up to bat. Most Angel fans don't actually remember the controversy that led to the booing but just join in because their "supposed to" dislike him. It breaks down to a controversial 2Out 3rd strike in the 2005 ALCS that should have sent the game to extra innings and instead allowed a runner on base for the White Sox to win the game. The White Sox went on to win the series and win the World Series that year.

Taken by the Minnesota Twins in the 3rd round of the 1994 MLB draft, AJ's been a consistent contributor for the teams he's been the backstop for. Since debuting in 1998 he's caught for the Twins, Giants, White Sox and Rangers. AJ has been a 2-time All Star, Silver Slugger and was a key cog for the White Sox 2005 World Series Championship. He's knocked in more than 700 RBI's, crossed 150 Home Runs and 1700 hits. Impressively he's been on the receiving end of Mark Buerhle's no-hitter and caught Phillip Humber's Perfect Game.
I got this AJ Pierzynski autographed baseball when the Rangers came to Angel Stadium during the 2013 season.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

RBI (166) The Tanner Scheppers Incident...

It's not often that I'm negative about someone on this blog but I have to say I wasn't too happy to learn about an incident that occurred during the 2013 season.

Texas Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers was involved in an incident while on a road trip in Cleveland that resulted in him coming to the stadium during the series with a black eye. When asked he reported he had been sucker punched while out on a food run from the team hotel. He is quoted as saying Cleveland P.D. told him "...it happens a lot actually..." and didn't expect the culprits to ever be found.

In actuality after further investigation by the police of local Cleveland media Scheppers was out at a bar with Joe Nathan and AJ Pierzynski and began verbally instigating a group of bar patrons. Around 2:30 am Scheppers exited the bar and quickly lost a bar fight that he reportedly had plenty of opportunities to avoid.


I've posted autographs of celebrities I've run into while out and about while in Anaheim or Los Angeles so it's not surprising that I've seen baseball players away from the stadium also at restaurants, bars and other events. More often than not they're just normal guys who happen to have higher credit card limits. Occasionally I've run into guys who aren't the most considerate fellow patrons, because they happen to have higher credit card limits and are used to getting their way. I don't normally post those stories because it just is what it is.

Scheppers went out and instigated a fight that he apparently lost and lost very quickly. He then slandered the citizens of a city and made comments to the media that he expected the Cleveland police department to be complicit with. No. No, no, no.

Just because you're a baseball player doesn't mean you always get what you want or should get what you want. Expecting the incident to disappear and comments that made the national news circuit that disparaged the good people of Cleveland to have no follow up investigation is just silly.

You Tanner Scheppers got a black eye literally and figuratively in the press. You may throw a fastball, but you couldn't pull a fast one.

Scheppers signed this 2010 Topps Pro Debut card for Matt of MC's Autographs and he was nice enough to pass along the autographed card to me since he was able to get a duplicate signed. Much appreciated.

RBI (165) Joe Nathan...

It isn't everyday you're able to get one of the top closers in baseball to sign for you, but it is pretty common when that top closer is also one of the best signers in baseball. Closing pitcher Joe Nathan is one of the top in the game when it comes to closing out games and signing autographs.

Nathan spent years being an elite closer for the Minnesota Twins setting the franchise single season saves record at 47 and becoming the franchise all-time saves leader with 255 saves. Injury concerns ended his time with the Twins but he moved on to the Texas Rangers and regained his elite form. He's a 6-time All-Star, a member of the 300 Saves club and was the AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year in 2009.
Nathan is definitely one of the Twins who listened to Harmon Killebrew when it comes to signing an autograph. Nathan has one of the nicest, cleanest signatures in the game much like fellow Twins product Michael Cuddyer. I'm very happy to have this Joe Nathan autographed 2013 All Star baseball in my collection, especially since he was the closing pitcher who got the Save for the game.

I'm curious to see when Joe hangs up his cleats since he's in the midst of one of his best seasons despite his age. He's moving rapidly up the all-time saves list and closing in on joining the top 10 list. A spot that wouldn't likely get challenged considering the volatility of modern day bullpens.
Here's a quick photo of Joe Nathan signing down the line after working out during batting practice. I got Joe Nathan's autograph at Angel Stadium when the Rangers came to town to play the Angels during the 2013 season.

Corey Miller

It's not often that I go out and purchase autographs but this is one that I decided fit the bill. This a print autographed by world famous tattoo artist Corey Miller who you may recognize from the tv show L.A. Ink. Miller's based out of Southern California and owns a tattoo shop that's local to me. I popped by the shop and picked up a copy to add to my print collection and was happy to see that it was already signed so I didn't have to try to track Corey down to sign it. I like when artists sign the print so having the Corey Miller autograph makes the piece even better to me.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

RBI (164) Blue Jays Ace Pat Hentgen...

It's been some time since that was announced but in the 90's it was a common statement every time former pitcher Pat Hentgen took the mound. Currently Hentgen is back with the Blue Jays as bullpen coach for the team and I used that as my chance to meet him to get an autograph at Angel Stadium.

Hentgen was taken in the 5th round of the 1986, signing with the Toronto Blue Jays and debuted in 1991 for Toronto. He would pitch for the Cardinals and Orioles before returning to the Jays to retire after 14 seasons. He'd have a very strong career being part of the 1993 World Series team, being named to 3 All Star teams and winning the 1996 AL Cy Young award. He'd hang his hat on 131 Wins, 1,290 Strikeouts, and a remarkable 34 Complete Games out of his 306 games started.
I was able to get this Pat Hentgen autographed baseball during the Blue Jays at Angels series at Angel Stadium during the 2013 season. I made a rookie mistake tossing my ball to him asking for his autograph and if he could include his Cy Young award which he inscribed "96 CY" but didn't ask him to sweetspot the ball.

I should have taken the time to ask for his autograph, if he'd please sweetspot and then tried to get the inscription but I was trying to get the ball inscribed before random fans came over to start asking for autographs. My mistake but the inscription definitely makes it one of the better side panneled baseballs I have. The ball was a toss up I got from Alex Anthopoulos the Blue Jays bullpen catcher.

Monday, August 5, 2013

RBI (163) Jose Bautista aka Joey Bats...

Joey Bats aka Jose Bautista has been one of the top home run hitters in the game for the past few years. He's taken a long path to stardom but he's amongst the top of the game and would be a welcome addition to plenty of contenders if the Toronto Blue Jays weren't invested long term through the Miami Marlins fire sale in attempting to take the AL East.

Bautista was a 20th round pick in the 2000 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates but was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He was traded and played for the Orioles, Devil Rays, Royals, and Pirates before finally reaching the Toronto Blue Jays. His career reached a turning point in 2010 when he took advantage of an increased role with the Blue Jays that let him evolve into one of the more dangerous hitters in the game. He's crossed the 200 Home Run plateau, been named a 4-time All Star, is a 2-time MLB Home Run champion and won 2 Silver Sluggers in his time since becoming a face of Toronto.
I was glad to get this Jose Bautista autographed baseball during the 2013 season when the Blue Jays played at Angel Stadium. It was awesome to get this baseball signed by Jose Bautista because he had previously eluded me the past two years. It was a great day for me because after I got RA Dickey's autograph on my Sports Illustrated Bautista came over when he finished hitting in his batting practice group he came over to the large crowd waiting and took a seat against the dugout. He told the fans he'd sign until 6:05 and for 7 minutes straight went down the line signing balls before switching to a sharpie and knocking out everything a sharpie would be appropriate for until the time he said he would go inside. Everyone was polite and got an autograph, I wish it could be like this for superstars more often.

You can find Jose Bautista @JoeyBats19 on Twitter and instagram.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

RBI (162) Cy Young Winner and 1st Autographed Sports Illustrated

It may be surprising that after this many years hunting down autographs I've never gotten a Sports Illustrated autographed. I know lots of my fellow graphers who are able to knock them out but I'm a little more limited in my scope mainly focusing on teams that come to play in Anaheim so getting a SI signed means I not only have to get the autograph, but the player needs to be on a team that plays the Angels.

One issue that I sat on for a while was the R.A. Dickey and Kayla Harrison December 17, 2012 Sports Illustrated. My patience paid off as Dickey was traded from the Mets to the Blue Jays so I knew he'd come through the stadium eventually.
Dickey was the 2012 NL Cy Young winner after reviving his career with an All Star campaign to be the NL Strikeout champion. He's quite the story of finding success after true struggles so I'm very happy to have added him to my collection. His story is something special so adding this RA Dickey autographed Sports Illustrated as the first one I got signed makes the wait well worth it to me.