Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hall of Fame Inductee Pedro Martinez Book Signing 5/7/15

Despite last week being the last finals week of my time in college, I found time to make it to Massachusetts for the iconic Pedro Martinez's book signing. This was actually his second signing of the day, and third of the week.

I got to the store (The Paper Store in Framingham) about 2 hours before the event because I knew it would be packed. Luckily I was only about 25 people back, but if you know about Pedro Martinez you know he takes forever to sign his autograph. Anyways, I got in line and about an hour after the event started I got to the table. 

Pedro wasn't overly talkative, which is understandable because he had a long day. I had met him a number of years ago anyway, so I didn't mind anyway since I really just wanted his signed book.

I ended up getting 4 books signed, 1 for me, 2 for friends, and one extra:

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Here is a link to when I met Pedro 4 years ago:
Pedro Martinez 2011

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Actor/Director Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother, Liberal Arts) 4/1/15

Well just like in the fall, I'm back again after a bit of a lull in blogs, this one being around two months long. I have been 'graphing here and there, mostly at college basketball games, and a few other low key events. I will be writing a "Winter Recap" entry very soon to document what I did during my time off from blogging. With baseball season starting this week, I should be back in full force with plenty of cool entries!

Anyway, now to get to one of my favorite 'graphing experiences of all time.

About a month ago, I heard rumblings of my favorite actor from my favorite television show, landing the spring lecture spot at UCONN. After seeing the official news, I bought my ticket right when they went on sale to the event which would eventually sell out.

To give some personal background, How I Met Your Mother has been my favorite show since early middle school. I am graduating college in a month, and when it ended last year, it was the first show I had really watched every week from pilot to finale for years. On top of that, Josh Radnor played the lead of Ted Mosby, and eventually created and starred in the movie Liberal Arts, which was a huge independent success, and highly underrated in my opinion.

Although I had never had success meeting someone at this theatre before the show, I decided once again to try my luck since I figured the stage door would be packed as always afterwards. About 40 minutes before the show, a towncar pulled up to the sidewalk(actually down the street from where it should have, and out stepped Josh.

I quickly walked over, and asked Josh to sign a photo. He didn't think twice about it and seemed happy to. After the first, he saw that I had another, and signed that with no problem as well. I couldn't believe that one of my favorite celebrities of all time was being this cordial.

After he signed for me, he asked me where the stage door was and I explained to him how to get to it, and offered to take him to it. He went back to the car to tell his driver he was all set, and when he came back I asked for a photo with him. At this point he seemed a little rushed, but still took a nice photo with me. This was an experience I will never forget.

His lecture was hilarious, and capped the overall experience off in the perfect way.

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

An Atypical Day of 'graphing 2/6/15

Yesterday was an interesting day to say the least. I had been planning to go to Mohegan Sun for Mike Francesa's annual charity broadcast with many former Yankees greats. This year's lineup included Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi, David Cone, Bernie Williams, Buck Showalter, and a few other minor names. I had never done this event before, but my friends had luck in the past with it, and it was on a Friday which was nice and allowed me to go.

ALSO going on at Mohegan was 80's week, which was to culminate with a huge concert at night featuring Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, Terri Nunn of Berlin, and other 80's pop stars. Being a general fan and follower of pop culture, I was excited to possibly see a few of these people since I have been hearing their music on pop radio since I was a little kid.

ALSO in the building was Rev Run, of Run DMC fame, who would be DJ'ing an event at a club at night.

Finally, Fleetwood Mac would probably be showing up at some point for their show on the following day.

I'll start with the baseball guys since that was my main focus of the day.

David Cone:

David, known as a pretty nice guy, came walking down to head to the radio show and said he would sign for us on the way back. He ended up signing a ton inside the radio show, and I got word of this, but when my friend and I went over, the room was at capacity so we couldn't go in. He went another way on his way back, and I never saw him again.

Joe Girardi:

Joe came walking down to the show, and I stepped up and asked him to sign. His security seemed to be more of the problem, and they said he was late and might sign later.

I was able to get inside the show while he was on the air, and he signed after he got off the set for 10 people or so, but I just couldn't get close enough.

Buck Showalter:

Word was circulating that Buck wasn't feeling well, and when we was walking to the show this was apparent. He looked really bad, and didn't seem to want any part in interacting with fans.

By this point you may be thinking, "Well, who DID you meet?"

Luckily for me, when Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman came down, he was in the signing mood and helped me not go home empty handed.

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I also was able to meet former MLB player, and local guy, John Ellis:
(Thanks to my friend Geoff for the card!)

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I didn't try for Bernie Williams, because he is one of the toughest autographs in baseball and I had to get going.

Throughout the day I walked around a bit because I was getting a little bored, and I ended up running into 2 80's pop stars.

The first was Terri Nunn, known from her time in the band Berlin, who is best known for the song,"Take My Breath Away", from the hit Tom Cruise movie, "Top Gun".

Terri was really sweet. She talked to the few of us that ran into her. I have to give the assist to my older buddies who pointed her out for me.

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Later on in the day I was walking to another prime spot, and when I arrived, people were taking photos with 80's pop icon, Tiffany! She was also very nice, which was cool. I remember Saved By the Bell making multiple references to her over the years, and it was really cool to meet her.

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Debbie Gibson and Rev Run both took pictures and signed for people during the day, but I just wasn't lucky enough to see them. I would have loved to meet Gibson, but I couldn't complain after meeting a few cool people.

Fleetwood Mac hadn't shown up by the time I left.

Overall, I had an interesting day. The Yankees were very tough, but the music successes definitely helped the day move along!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Red Sox Winter Weekend 2015

Last weekend was the weekend in which most MLB  teams had their fanfests, and for the first year, the Red Sox held one not too far from me at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.

Over the last few months, the Red Sox had a huge list of possible players named, "expected attendees" on their website. They purposely did not say how many players you would be able to meet, so I was expecting maybe 3-4, but even that turned out not to be the case. Luckily for me, I was able to catch a few guys and got them to sign when they were not in the autograph room.

The first person I met on the day was former Red Sox/ Broadcasting legend, Jerry Remy. Jerry was sitting near the NESN set, and was signing/taking photos with mostly anyone who wanted something.

My Dad and I both got a baseball signed, and I got a photo with him. I found it extremely curious that he sweet spotted for my Dad, and side paneled for me, especially since I handed the ball to him the correct way. Of course my Dad let me hear it, joking that he was the better 'grapher.

Nonetheless, I was happy to add another former Red Sox player to my collection, bringing my total to 132.

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After meeting the RemDawg I noticed that Red Sox/Liverpool FC owner, John Henry was sitting nearby watching a ping pong tournament that was going on. Surprisingly, I had never met him and being a fan of both of his teams, I had to add him to my collection. He was very nice, and signed no problem:
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After we met him, I had a 1:00 autograph session so I went up to the ballroom that the autograph sessions were taking place in, and the line to get in at 12:00 was already INSANE. I'm talking hundreds of people already waiting to get into the 1:00 session. 

The autograph session worked like this:

There were many different times(you picked one earlier in the week).

For each "Time" there were 4 separate lines of 1 player each, (2, if the players were of way less caliber).

There was also a "photo only" line, that the autograph line lead into after you get your autograph.

So when it was all said and done, if you didn't know what you were doing, the most you were guaranteed to get by attending Winter Weekend was 1 autograph and 1 photo. I should mention that this was NOT a free event, so unless you either A) Got really lucky with who your autograph session was, or B) Worked to get extra autographs, this event was NOT worth the money whatsoever. Luckily for me, I was able to do both case A and B, and ended up doing alright.

 photo 20150124_130450_zpsc4054fe4.jpg So back to the event... I walk in to the ballroom, and head to my assigned line. After about 3 or 4 minutes I sighed in relief as I saw that the legendary Carlton Fisk was who I drew to get an autograph from. I was extremely lucky, because the line next to me was for 2 relatively unknown players to the casual fan. Dustin Pedroia was also signing during this session, but I had already met him albeit 9 years ago now! 

Carlton was really nice, but wouldn't add the  "Hall of Fame 2000" inscription. I figured he wouldn't, because there were A LOT of people, but I was happy regardless.
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It's not every day that I can add an autograph as nice as this to my collection::

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 photo 10942507_10204362168788329_2248896540597982928_n_zpsfa704703.jpg As I said earlier, after you got your autograph, you had to option to enter the "photo only" line. The player that was in my photo line was Xander Bogaerts, and even though I had met him probably a dozen times in the past, I had never gotten a picture with him so I decided it was worth the wait. 

By the time I was done, it was time for my Dad's autograph/photo session. Unfortunately, he didn't draw as good of an autograph as me, but his photo draw was better. He drew newcomer, Wade Miley for his autograph, and Fred Lynn as his photo. I was happy that he at least got to meet one guy he used to watch a lot.

With that said, this is where the event was poorly planned, and many folks didn't get their money's worth. I got super lucky with my draw, but my Dad got a terrible autograph draw, and a good photo draw. I guess you could say for the casual fan, this would be fine, but for people/'graphers who come to expect a bit more, they left disappointed. I personally got my money's worth, but had to really work for it, and have some luck on my side.

Here is the Wade Miley autograph:

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After he got out of his session, we went back down to the main area where we had met Jerry Remy and John Henry earlier, to see if anybody else was hanging out. 

Allen Craig would not sign coming off of the NESN set, but I was able to get Tommy Layne, who made his Red Sox debut last year. I had failed to meet him in Pawtucket before his call up last season, so I was actually pretty happy about meeting him:

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After that, I was pretty exhausted so we decided to leave. I was walking through the casino towards the exit, when all of a sudden I saw Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and a few others walking around. I had to choose, because they were walking somewhere fast and Xander was the best player, so I went with him. I was the only one asking him/that noticed them, so he signed for me and gave me a better autograph than I have ever seen him give. I had to keep pace with him, but he made it worth it. 

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That was a nice ending to my day, and the event overall.

One more thing worth mentioning before someone asks is that the players WOULD NOT sign after their talks or even walking through the event. I think they were strictly told not to. I got Xander Bogaerts because he was walking through the casino, not through the event space.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Actor/Comedian Patton Oswalt(King of Queens,Young Adult, Ratatouille) 1/6/15

Last week I finished off my winter break from school by making my first 'graphing trip to New York City in about 2 years to meet an actor from one of my all-time favorite tv shows, Patton Oswalt. Besides his role as Spence on King of Queens, Patton is known for his stand up comedy specials, his supporting role in Young Adult, and as the voice of Ratatouille.

This was a book signing at a store in which I had attended many events at in prior years, and had generally great experiences with in the past. The event details said that one outside item would be allowed to be signed which was a nice surprise, and not usually something that is guaranteed to happen at book signings.

I ended up being the first person at the event, and waited for the discussion to start. John Hodgman was on hand to talk to Patton about the new book, and their discussion was hilarious. I truly enjoyed my time there, and I actually connected to a lot of things Patton talked about in his life which was honestly really nice.

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When the signing started, I was the first in line, and Patton was nicer than I could have imagined. He actually listened to everything I told him, thanked me 3-4 times during our short conversation, and seemed to be a pretty genuine guy. I wish more famous people were this friendly, but at the end of the day those who aren't are major pieces in what makes the hobby interesting.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Patriots Running Back Jonas Gray 1/5/15

This evening I was able to start off 2015 on a good note by meeting breakout Patriots player, Jonas Gray. A few weeks ago, Jonas scored 4 touchdowns in a single game, and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in the following week. Regular readers of the blog know that I am a pretty avid Sports Illustrated collector, so this was a good, cheap opportunity for me to add one to my collection.

I am not one for paid signings, just because I enjoy the chase this hobby entails more than anything else within it. Expanding on this thought, I was not impressed at all by the way the store ran things for this event, and I won't throw them  under the bus, but it's easy enough to figure out by searching the date and "Jonas Gray Signing".

First, they were using dud markers which is just really annoying, and simply cheap for a paid signing. Secondly, they had some guy bringing your item up to the table, so you couldn't hand Jonas your marker or say anything before he signed the item. Luckily for my friends in back of me, they saw this and were quick to respond. Third, back to the marker issue: Jonas started to sign my magazine with a black sharpie, which is just a no go, and unacceptable for a paid event. Further, it was completely dead from signing dud items like shirts, plastic things, and other cloth, and other canvas-like items.

As I stated, Jonas started to sign my item in the black, and luckily I interrupted before he got very far. I held out my blue marker, and the owner of the store said, "he has a blue". Luckily it wasn't too bad, but mine wouldn't have been as streaky. There is just no reason to rush a paid signing so much that the customer can't even say anything, or have the star use a specified pen before starting to sign.

With all of that said, luckily the magazine didn't come out too badly. You can see where the black marker started, but hopefully when I frame it, it won't be visible on the wall.

I was very rushed, and in trying to explain to the owner of the store why I wanted to use the marker I brought, I didn't even get to say a single word to Jonas.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Troy Brown 12/30/14

Yesterday I woke up and when I went on social media I was surprised to see that former Patriots star and 3 time Super Bowl Champion, Troy Brown would be appearing at a nearby supermarket to sign autographs/take pictures for free. I don't get to 'graph football as much as I would like, so this was a good opportunity to meet a great former player.

Regular readers of my blog may notice that some of my best successes are from last minute decisions to 'graph an event, and I really wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.The event was scheduled to start at 12, and I arrived at 11. There were about 30 people in line, and there were to be 150 bracelets to be handed out, so I was in luck.

Troy showed up about 25-30 minutes late, but that was okay, and when I got up to him he was quiet, but nice.

I asked him to sign an extra and he said he couldn't, but I got a picture with him instead. I could have gotten back in line, but there were a lot of people in back of me, so I just decided to head out.

This was a very quick hit for a Patriots legend, and  huge part of 3 super bowl wins.

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