Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pawtucket Vs. Buffalo(Blue Jays) 4/21/14(Shane Victorino, Munenori Kawasaki)

Well, it was one of those weird nights that I talk about once in a great while. I kind of knew Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino would both be rehabbing in Pawtucket tonight, but was verified of this at about 11:00 a.m. Unfortunately, I had a meeting at school, so I probably was going to miss this chance, but I kind of didn't mind anyway, because the meeting was really important, and Shane Victorino never, ever signs, even if there's a fire(sorry, Step Brothers reference). Also, I have met Middlebrooks countless times.

Regardless, my meeting finished, I texted my dad saying that those guys would be in Pawtucket, and he basically told me that he'd go. So on very short notice, I drove home, threw some baseballs in my bag, and drove over to McCoy. We got there maybe 3 minutes before first pitch, which if you know anything about me, is very, very different from my normal routine(I tend to show up AT LEAST 1.5 hours early).

So anyway, the game goes fairly quickly, Middlebrooks was pulled early, Victorino soon after. Slightly to my surprise, both players' vehicles were still in the caged lot(which is off limits). I had failed there before with John Lackey, and more recently David Ortiz, but the past is the past,and although whoever was going to stop would have to roll down their window, I thought at the very least I would get another Middlebrooks 'graph.

When Middlebrooks left, the crowd was probably 15 strong. He drove right by us. Everyone left at that point besides another guy, my father, and myself. I really didn't want to go home empty handed, so I ever so slightly contemplated just going around the corner to try for Munenori Kawasaki, but even though Shane is a really, really tough autograph, I just couldn't pass up a 2 on 1 opportunity.

When Shane exited the building, I called over to him, "Shane can you please sign? There are only two of us." At that point I had forgotten I had given my dad a baseball in case Middlebrooks had stopped. I received no answer from Shane, but when the gate opened, he stopped right in front of the 3 of us. At first he took the other guy's baseball, which was a team ball. The kid pointed out where he wanted Shane to sign it, but Shane said, "Okay now you're getting too picky. I'm sick of this shit. " He handed the kid back his ball unsigned. Quickly, I handed him my baseball, he asked me my name, and sweet spotted it. I was in shock that I had just met Shane Victorino. To my surprise, my dad jumped in right behind me and got a baseball signed as well. As I said, I had forgotten I had even given him the baseball, so it was really cool that I came out of the situation with 2.

After I met Shane, I went over to the visitors' exit, and within 2 minutes, I met Munenori Kawasaki, who is a very funny guy.

It's the nights like these that keep me going in this hobby, and sometimes the surprises bring the best memories.

Shane Victorino:

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Munenori Kawasaki:

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Total Autographs for 2014: 85

Friday, April 18, 2014

New Britain Vs. Portland 4/17/14(Henry Owens, Mookie Betts)

Yesterday was my first time seeing Portland this season, and just like over the past few years, they had a number of great prospects on their roster.

My main targets for the day were #1 Pitching prospect for the Red Sox, Henry Owens, #5 prospect Blake Swihart, and #6 prospect, Mookie Betts.

When I was pulling into the stadium, I saw the team bus leaving, so I knew chances were that I missed at least one of those guys. That in prior years wouldn't have mattered in New Britain because the stadium used to always be open, but apparently the new ownership changed that policy. I ended up missing Swihart because of this (I couldn't stay for the game).

There ended up being two more bus trips. Off of the first bus that I was there for, came Henry Owens, who was nicer than I could have ever expected. There were probably 8 or so people waiting for him, and he signed ANYTHING people had. He was signing for at least 3-4 minutes outside.

I ended up getting 2 baseballs, 4 photos, and a card signed:

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Off of the next bus was Mookie Betts. Unfortunately he will probably be traded at some point, because although he can hit just as well as anyone in the system, the Red Sox kind of have second base covered for a while.

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The only other player I got for Portland was Henry Ramos:
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While I was waiting for those buses, I started a New Britain team ball for the year.

Brandon Waring & Cole Johnson:

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Kennys Vargas & Nate Hanson:

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Tony Thomas, Daniel Ortiz, &Ryan O' Rourke:

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Total Autographs at this game:19
Total Autographs for 2014: 82

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pawtucket Vs. Syracuse 4/9/14

After the Red Sox game the night prior(Boston Vs. Texas 4/8/14), I knew I'd be going to Pawtucket with my friend the next day because I only had one class in the morning. I picked him up and headed up right after my class for the 12:00 game. We got there pretty late for pre game, but I figured since there was a game the night before, some guys might be running late which was somewhat true. In the back, the first player I saw was former Red Sox fan favorite, Manny Delcarmen. He was nice as always, and since I had never had him sign a ball for my Red Sox collection, I did so. He added the World Series Champs inscription when I asked.

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The only other player we saw outside was Brandon Workman who showed up from Boston(he was sent down after his fantastic performance in the game the night before) but denied the 3 of us waiting. 

The rest of the day was very good. I actually ended up meeting 6 guys who received a World Series ring from the 2013 campaign.

Since it was a day game, the pitchers were working out on the field, so I was able to get Brandon Workman to sign in there. I will show the autograph later on, since it is on a team ball with former Red Sox players.

That was it for pre-game 'graphing, but afterwards I was able to meet nearly every player on Pawtucket's team, since it was getaway day, which meant that they would all be getting on a bus.

Also on the team ball with Workman are Drake Britton,Brandon Snyder, Ryan Lavarnway, Rubby De La Rosa,Alex Wilson, and Rich Hill. Hill was on the Red Sox from 2010-2012. The rest were on the team at least in 2013.

Britton and Snyder:

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Workman, Wilson, and Hill:

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De La Rosa:

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I was able to get a game used ball during the game, and I had Red Sox #4 prospect, Garin Cecchini sign it afterwards. He also signed my media guide:

I was also able to add a number of other players to the 2014 media guide.
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Chris Resop:
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Anthony Ranaudo:

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Mike McCoy:

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Jeremy Kehrt:

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Chris Hernandez:

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I tried to meet the always tough, Brian Goodwin afterwards, but he ignored me as I expected. I was the only person who knew who he was.

Total autographs at this game:15
Total autographs for 2014:63

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Boston Vs. Texas 4/8/14

Tuesday night brought many firsts for me. My first time driving into Boston, my first multiple autograph game at Fenway, and my first success there in probably 7 or 8 years(I just haven't been many times, and when I have, I haven't 'graphed).

I brought my sister and her boyfriend for some company, and we got to Fenway probably 10 minutes before the gates opened, and there was already a small crowd at the Lansdowne Street entrance, but nothing too major. When the gates opened, we parted ways and I headed straight for the Texas dugout, since batting practice was getting underway.

There are basically 2 decent spots inside Fenway to get autographs. The first is down the foul lines, and the second is right behind either dugout. I was one of the first fans down to the dugout, so I took the space right over the opening where the players go in and out.

There wasn't much action for me for maybe a half hour. Guys were just ignoring me or saying, "Not right now." But then in the time span of 5-10 minutes my luck greatly shifted.

Ron Washington was walking over, and stopped to sign for the fans with the special on field batting practice passes. Right after them, I called down to him, and he motioned for me to throw him my baseball! I was pretty excited as Mr. Washington is one of the best managers in baseball.

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Shortly after that, Tanner Scheppers stopped to sign for me as well. Normally I wouldn't get someone like him to sign a ball, but it was all I had, and I was happy that he stopped:

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What happened next was one of the best things that has ever happened to me autograph wise. I saw Yu Darvish, the Rangers best pitcher, and one of the most exciting, and best pitchers in baseball for that matter, walking towards the dugout. Literally nobody was calling him over, and when he got close, I called him,and although he is known to be a pretty decent signer, I was still shocked when he held up his hand for me to throw him the ball. I was so pumped that I got him, and in his previous start he had became the fastest pitcher in MLB history to record  500 strikeouts.

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Unsurprisingly, I wasn't able to meet any Red Sox, but I was pretty happy with what I came away with, and I will most likely be going up more in the near future.

As an aside, my ticket was only 7 dollars! The seats were in back of the visiting bullpen. You can't beat a game at Fenway, and meeting an MLB superstar for just $7.

Total Autographs for 2014:48

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pawtucket Vs. Lehigh Valley(Phillies) Opening Night 4/3/14 (Maikel Franco, Steve Horgan)

It's so nice to have baseball back again, and even though I didn't have much time at all for 'graphing at Thursday's game I was able to go to Pawtucket's home opener and get a few items done. On my way to the stadium, I was on Instagram and saw that Red Sox legend, Jason Varitek was on the field during Pawtcket's batting practice. Unfortunately the stadium only opens up 90 minutes before the games, and I knew Pawtucket would probably be off the field by the time I got inside, and I was right.

As always, I was there in time to see the visiting team's batting practice, in this case the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs, who started the season with the Phillies #1 overall prospect, Maikel Franco.

There were maybe 10+ people waiting for Franco to come off of the field after batting practice, and he signed for all of us. I believe I was 3rd to get him.

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I knew I wouldn't be able to stay after the game so he would be the only player I got an autograph from that night, however I came prepared, since Boston Bullpen Cop, Steve Horgan would be in attendance to throw out the first pitch. Most people will remember why he is famous, but for those who don't, here is a reminder:

Steve was really nice, and kind of quiet but signed anything people had, and took photos. I really give him credit because even on his way into the stadium, and just walking around, SO many people stopped him, and he was very nice to all of them. If any Sox fans are interested, I can let a few go:

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As you can see, the photo was a HUGE hit on facebook:

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Total Autographs for 2014:45

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Host of Nick Cannon Presents: Wild 'N Out & America's Got Talent Nick Cannon 3/29/14

Unlike the last few times I have posted in which there were about a month between entries, this one comes just a night after I met former secretary Albright, and I think I'm finally back in the swing of things with both MLB and MiLB starting this week.

Somehow despite taking 18 credits, and in the middle of planning/working on a huge programming/statistics project at school, I was able to make time to head to Mohegan Sun tonight to meet one of my favorite television personalities, Nick Cannon, who would be signing copies of his newly released CD. I have seen every single of episode of Wild 'n Out ever created, and have watched America's Got Talent from time to time, so I was pretty excited for this event. I had gotten my bracelet for the event in the morning, so I knew I would guarantee myself a place in line, so I showed up right as the event was starting. I was probably 25-30 people back, and the line was moving very quickly.

When I got to Nick, he greeted me with a huge handshake, and he was very nice. I told him about how I was a big fan of Wild 'n Out, and he told me about some new episodes that will be aired soon.

As with all of my Mohegan Sun signing posts, I will update this in a few days with my photo with Nick, as soon as it is released.

While I would have liked to get a photo or something else signed also, only the new CD was allowed for guests to get signed.

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As I said, it's good to be back, and I can't wait to get back to the backbone of my site, baseball entries. For my friends in New Britain and Pawtucket who are regualar readers, I will probably be making mostly Pawtucket appearances in April, but very rarely after that, because I will be working in Central Connecticut from May-the end of August. The last 5 years I have spent regularly in Pawtucket have been real, and the 8 total since I've started have been full of memories. I'll miss going there all of the time, but I will probably see a few weekend games here and there. As for New Britain, I'll be making regular stops there, probably starting at the same time Byron Buxton arrives in the area after his injury heals.

Total Autographs for 2014: 37

Friday, March 28, 2014

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright 3/28/14

Well I feel like I've been saying this a lot, but it's been over a month since my last entry, but I'm back with a great success from this afternoon.

My school is actually very good for getting famous lecturers for the Arts and Lecture series, and when this year's lineup was released last fall, it was surprisingly weak compared to last year when we had Dan Rather and Bob Woodward come through. There was one exception to this though, and that was the Secretary of State under the Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright.

I went into the day thinking I would just get her autograph upon arrival at the event(outside), but as I was doing homework for a few hours, I found out that she would also be at a dinner before her lecture. The access is fantastic to where the dinner was going to be, and there was no possible chance of her getting in without walking by where I was doing homework, which was nice.

Before I go on, I should mention that both Dan Rather, and Bob Woodward had book signings after their respective lectures, whereas Dr. Albright would not, so there were no guarantees, as there usually aren't in this hobby.

A little before she was supposed to arrive, it started to rain, so it was good that I was waiting indoors for once, rather than outside.

She walked through the door with an agent and a bodyguard, both of which were friendly. Dr. Albright was extremely nice as well. I thought she might say no because she was running a little late, but she actually talked to me a little bit, probably spending about a minute with me, with her guests waiting inside the dining area.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I can't wait to watch her speak in about an hour.

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Total Autographs For 2014: 37