Monday, October 27, 2014

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie + Tom Foley 10/27/14

As far as last minute adventures go, this one just about tops them all. I found out literally HOURS before this event, which was a rally for Connecticut Gubernatorial candidate, Tom Foley, that New Jersey Governor, and likely 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie wouldn't be too far from me.

Even though I was not prepared at all, after my last class/meeting I shot over to the store, printed some photos, grabbed some baseballs from home, and was on my way.

I got to the venue about an hour before things were set to kick off, and there were a TON of people. Luckily, I found a parking spot down the road, and headed over. It was clear that neither Foley nor Christie had arrived yet, so I waited by the spot where I figured they would be going in.

Both arrived after the event was supposed to start, which is totally normal. Foley was first there, and after he finished talking to a few folks, I had him sign a photo for me. He was nice, but not overly so, but certainly wasn't mean which was good.

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When Christie's SUV pulled up I got ready to approach him, but Foley did also so I obviously wasn't going to interrupt. When they went to go in I don't think the governor heard me, but his lead security guy did, and he told me he would get me on the way out.

It was getting pretty cold at this point, so I really hoped he would stop. The event didn't run too long, and when Christie came out, I was the first person to stop him. He was extremely nice, and took the time to sign a photo for me, as well as take a picture with me!

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I wasn't done.

After that, I was able to get in the middle of the media scrum, and got him to sign a baseball. I was really excited about this, and he gave me an AMAZING signature. 
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I left very happy.

It isn't often that I get a chance to meet a political powerhouse, the last one really being Rudy Giuliani a few years ago. It was nice to have to opportunity to make this happen, especially on such short notice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Jeff Hardy, & Matt Hardy 10/18/14

The other night I had the chance to meet not only my favorite tag team of all time, but also the legendary Ricky Steamboat. There was a wrestling event being held at a high school in Connecticut, and as always, although I have never gone, there was an autograph session with all of the stars beforehand. As everyone knows, I don't really ever pay for autographs unless it is for charity, and since part of this was a fundraiser, and I grew up a really big Jeff Hardy fan, I decided it was definitely worth the trip.

The set up was pretty normal, and the first person I met was Ricky Steamboat. He was very nice, and definitely appreciated his fans more so than the other stars there. I never got to see him wrestle, but I follow and respect the history of the business, so I couldn't pass up the chance to meet him.

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After I met Ricky, I went over to the Hardy table. Jeff was always one my my two favorite wrestlers, HHH being the other. It was awesome that both Jeff and Matt were there together, because their matches as a tag team were always legendary. Matt didn't seem to even care that anyone was there, but Jeff made up for it and he was really nice, and talked with people. Nonetheless, I was happy that I got to meet them.

I got a photo with the Hardy Boyz:

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The show itself was actually really good. Matt and Jeff ended the main event with a Twist of Fate to Swanton Bomb combo.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

UCONN First Night + Ray Allen! 10/17/14

It is my senior year of college, and even though I live in Connecticut I had never been able to make it to First Night, the fantastic annual event that UCONN(and most colleges), hold to commemorate the start of basketball practice, and a new season. Luckily for me, I now have a job that never requires me to work weekends, so I could finally make it to the event.

There is usually a strong alumni presence, but the timing this year didn't work very well with the NBA schedule, which is heading towards the end of the preseason. Ray Allen of course, still hasn't signed anywhere, and he lives in Connecticut so I expected him to be there. Other than him, there were just the familiar faces such as Donny Marshall and Charles Okwandu.

First Night also represents the only time in the season in which both the mens' and womens' teams are together at once. There was an autograph session before the event, which was good, except for the fact that they don't allow outside items. Ryan Boatright hooked me up though, and was super nice as he always has been. Head Coach Kevin Ollie also hooked me up with one of my own items. I had the feeling that the athletic department was definitely breathing down the players' necks this year, because Boatright looked around 3-4 times to make sure nobody saw him signing my item.

I got Ryan on a magazine, and will add Ladontae Henton on it as well later this season:

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Here is the Kevin Ollie 8x10 that he signed for me. As you can see, the markers that the school provided were absolutely terrible:

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Finally, here is the huge poster signed by both full teams:

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After the event I went outside to try and meet my favorite basketball player ever, Ray Allen. For those of you who don't know, Ray is one of the toughest athletes to meet in any sport, and he just NEVER signs. I was lucky enough to have gotten a beautiful autograph from him at the Calhoun charity basketball game 2 years ago, and I was shocked.

I was even more shocked last night.

I was in the spot I needed to be in, and the door opened and I saw Ray saying bye to people in the doorway, but then he walked back inside, and I thought that he had maybe chosen to use a different exit. After waiting for a while longer, I had not lost hope because I figured there was a strong chance he was just talking to people because he doesn't get to come around a lot. Anyways, after a while longer he walked out. Nobody there even tried for an autograph, because by his demeanor, he clearly was not going to stop. Myself and two other people wanted pictures with him, and as I approached him he said he would, but I had to walk with him. I couldn't believe I was meeting him for the second time because of how impossible he is. He never stopped walking so the photo isn't perfect, but it is FANTASTIC given the circumstances.

Ray is just one of those people that I get excited about having a chance to meet because doing so brings back so many childhood memories. Not only is he the best basketball player ever from UCONN, the NBA 3-point king, and a major piece of the only Celtics Championship I have ever seen, but he is my favorite player ever in the basketball world, and at the end of a day, interacting with him means a lot to me.

I left last night VERY happy.

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Before Ray had come out, I got a picture with Sam Cassell Jr. who will hopefully be a big addition to this year's team:

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Boston Celtics Vs. New York Knicks 10/11/14

I took a few months off because I had so much going on, but I promised you guys I would be back this fall, and after a great night Thursday, as well as tonight, it's safe to say that I'm back.

Tonight, the Boston Celtics, my favorite basketball team of course, had their second of 2 preseason games in Connecticut this week, and this one happened to be at Mohegan Sun. I have been pretty successful in the past with basketball at Mohegan Sun, so it was kind of a no brainer to at least give the game a shot, even though I had never been to an NBA game there.

I did the usual, which for those who don't know and want to get autographs at basketball games is: go down to your favorite team's tunnel, know every player's name, and hope they don't "big league" you.

Lucky for me, I know every player on the Celtics, and also lucky for me, 90% of them were feeling nice!

I started off things on a good note by getting Marcus Thornton's autograph literally the minute I got to my spot.

After that, the ink just kept flowing... Brandon Bass, Kelly Olynyk, Evan Turner, and many more. I had never experienced such an influx of players stopping after warmups. It was just amazing. It did help that I was one of the only people who knew just about every player, so each player almost always stopped for me first.

I ended up getting the following players: Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Kelly Olynyk, Brandon Bass, Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger, and Marcus Thornton.

The only bad part of the entire night was that I saw Danny Ainge twice, and he wasn't having it.The first time he ignored me completely, and the second time he looked right at me, thought about stopping, and decided not to. I was okay with that though since I did great with the team.

Cedric Maxwell was there as well, but I just never got close to him.

The guys that I asked to sign that didn't on the Celtics were Marcus Smart, and Gerald Wallace. Tyler Zeller ran in before anyone could ask him, but he wouldn't have signed anyway.

The legendary, Walt "Clyde" Frazier was at the game doing the tv broadcast for the Knicks. He ignored me on his way onto the court, but after the game I was able to make my way down, and he signed for me. I was shocked because for one, he is an absolute legend, and for two, he was acting completely out of it. He wouldn't even look at anyone, so I was surprised he signed.

Overall, I was more than pleased with how I did at this game, and it really switched me from baseball to basketball mode. Next up is UCONN First Night!

I didn't know what to expect going into this game so I just printed a team sheet for the Celtics:

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From top to bottom:
Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green, Marcus Thornton, Evan Turner,Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, & Brandon Bass

Here is the Walt Frazier 'graph!:

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Friday, October 10, 2014

George Springer & Nick Ahmed 10/9/14

A few weeks ago I got an email saying that the UCONN Alumni Association would be holding a dinner in the middle of the state, and Astros star, George Springer, as well as Diamonback, Nick Ahmed would be attending. Both players made their MLB debuts in 2014, and Springer is of course one of the best young prospects in the game. Springer was born in New Britain, so I figured that if  I was ever going to have a chance to meet him before he got too popular, it would be at this event, just a few miles from where he is from.

The event was scheduled to start at 6, and the guys came in just after that. There were a lot of people there, but not too many cared about autographs or pictures, so I got to go through the line twice. They were saying you could only get 2 autographs per player, but the guys didn't care at all and were signing whatever people had. It was just easier for me to go through twice because I had large items.

Both players were very nice, and George especially seemed pretty happy to be there. I'm definitely glad I got to go, and I got a number of great items signed.

George was giving out some of the best autographs I have ever seen from him! Lately his signatures have been just his initials, but he definitely hooked me up!

I felt pretty confident going into this event so I decided to buy a Springer jersey. I'm very pleased with how it came out because silver markers/pens can be very tricky. I think I'm going to get it framed soon!

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I also got a Rawlings bat signed:

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George also made the cover of Sports Illustrated this summer, so I had to add him to my SI sub collection, which has grown a lot in the past few years:

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Finally, I got a baseball signed:

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George was also nice enough to take a photo with me:

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I didn't come as prepared for Nick Ahmed, but I had him sign a baseball:

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This was a fantastic event, and I really hope both of these guys can break out big time next season!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Former Red Sox/Current Broadcaster "Psycho" Steve Lyons 9/3/14

Tonight the Pawtucket Red Sox won the International League Championship in game 5 of their 5 game series against Durham, and last week I was lucky enough to make it to one of their first round playoff games.

I had seen that former Red Sox player, and occasional fill-in broadcaster, Steve Lyons would be on hand to sign autographs and meet fans, so that was even more of a reason to make the trip over, plus it was most likely going to be my last game in Pawtucket this season.

After the first pitch, I went over to the area where Steve was going to be, and he was already there with a short line.

I noticed that he was taking a lot of time with each fan, which was awesome because that really doesn't happen very much anymore in this hobby. When I got to the table, he was nice as can be, and not only signed a few items for me and took a picture, but even offered me one of the photos they had at the table which was a cool addition to my collection. He also asked me where I was from, and just a few other things, which was nice.

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\My friend had gotten a number of cards signed, and gave me an extra that he had as well:

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Overall, it was a really fun night, and I got to see Pawtucket win in extra innings!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 Summer Recap Volume 1

Hey everyone! I know a few months ago I stopped blogging unexpectedly, and there were a number of good reasons for that. First, as I mentioned briefly a few months ago, I had a huge jumpstart in my career, which moved me for the summer. This was an amazing experience, but it meant focusing more on serious things, Also, I had a lot of computer issues, so finding time to blog took an even further back seat. While I did go to a few baseball games this summer, I focused more on going to concerts, which was easier than ever before because I was in the city. With that said, here are some of the awesome experiences I have had since my last post.

Dave Matthews Band: My love for DMB grew deeply this summer, and i was lucky enough to make it to one of their two tour dates in my city. On the first night they were in the city I narrowly missed meeting Dave Matthews which would have been amazing, but I got to meet the amazing Boyd Tinsley. Boyd was hands down one of the coolest musicians and most fan-appreciative band members I have ever met. I also met Carter, but he wouldn't take a photo with me.

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Jeffrey Osbourne Celebrity Softball Classic: The only time I returned to Pawtucket this summer was for what I expected to be an amazing, star studded event. The list of celebrities for the event was astonishing, including names such as Kareem, Magic, and many more. With that said, I decided to purchase a VIP ticket, which allowed for me to watch the game from the field, and access signings held in the outfield during the game. Unfortunately, the usual poor management of events by Pawtucket led to me missing the biggest names, however I did get some awesome stuff signed.

I was able to meet actors such as Chris Tucker and Cedric the Entertainer, and athletes such as former Red Sox, John Tudor and Oil Can boyd, along with others such as Steve Grogan, Patrick Pass, + more.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Chris Tucker:

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John Tudor:
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Matt Nathanson: I was able to see one of my favorite musicians, Gavin Degraw, along with Matt Nathanson this August. Matt did a meet and greet for people who bought a t shirt, and he was truly such a kind guy. I wish all musicians were as nice and more specifically as genuine as Matt. He took time with each fan, and truly seemed interested in what they had to say.
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I also made it to 3 New Britian Rock Cats games, which I will talk more about in a seperate entry.