I've always heard that Justin Masterson is a great TTM signer, but I didn't have any cards for him until I purchased the 2009 Topps set. He has always been one of the friendliest Red Sox players and I was sad to see him go at the trade deadline. On the day he was traded, I saw him in the dugout saying goodbye to everyone and giving hugs to the coaches. While those kinds of moments aren't usually publicized, it adds a human element to the game that makes it a more overall enjoyable experience. Sent 9/4 (21 days)
This was the final weekend for me to get autographs and it turned out to be a great one. I went for autographs inside and outside the stadium on Friday, outside the stadium Saturday, and inside the stadium Sunday.
Sunday turned out to be an unsuccessful day. I was able to get in at the same time as season ticket holders thanks to a special pass a friend gave me, but I staked out a spot in front of the dugout and batting practice was taken indoors. We were asked to leave the seating area much earlier than usual due to a youth parade they were having. Buchholz signed down the 3rd base line but I chose to stick near the dugout.
Sunday: No Autographs
I got to the stadium around 12 on Saturday, and arrived to a much larger crowd than there was on Friday. However, it still turned out to be a great day as a managed to get the following:
Clay Buchholz (Sweet spot on a baseball)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (09 Topps)
Hideki Okajima (09 Topps)
Michael Bowden (09 Topps- already had one personalized TTM but the sig was fading)
Friday turned out to be the best autographing day I've ever had. I arrived around 10:30 in hopes of getting Terry Francona on his morning walk, but he seemed grumpy and didn't want to sign. After several hours of waiting with no cabs, I was worried the day might turn into a wash. However, it turned very successful in a hurry as Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay showed up and were nice enough to sign for everyone, and the captain Jason Varitek signed my #33 jersey. It was already a great day, then it got even better inside...
Outside the stadium:
Jason Varitek (jersey)
Jason Bay (09 Topps)
Kevin Youkilis (09 Topps)
Inside the stadium:
Victor Martinez (09 Topps)
Jonathan Papelbon (09 Topps- didn't switch to sharpie but a sig's a sig)
DAVID ORTIZ (baseball)
I still can't believe I got Big Papi. I was able to get into the stadium early, only to find that the section near the dugout where I usually stand was roped off. Great, I figured I wouldn't have any luck at all. Then I noticed Papi milling around down where I could normally stand, and then sat on the wall near the netting behind home plate. It was like a tease. In a brief moment of blind courage, I hopped the ropes and went down to Ortiz and asked him politely if he could sign my baseball for me. I handed him the ball and a pen under the netting as the usher yelled at me, but I got Papi's signature to cap off the best day I've had.
I had free tickets to the game, so I decided to go early and get some autographs inside the park. I was going for Rays, but I was also prepared with some O's prospect cards as it was Minor League Appreciation night. I missed Brandon Waring on the last day of the season at Bowie, but I spotted him behind homeplate in a suit as he was supposed to receive an award, so I got him to sign a card for me.
Ben Zobrist (09 Upper Deck- for trade)
Carl Crawford (09 Topps)
Evan Longoria (09 Topps)
I was very exciting to get Longoria as I'm sure he's becoming increasingly more difficult to get as his young career progresses. Overall, a very good night for only doing pre-game inside the park.
Andruw Jones- This is my longest return of the season thus far. At 2 months and 2 days, it eclipses the previous record held by Rangers teammate Elvis Andrus at 2 months and 1 day. The signature smudged a little bit, but still a nice looking Topps Chrome insert. Sent 7/10 (62 days)
This was the best day I've had all season doing major league autographing in person. I arrived at Camden Yards around 12 and there was a steady stream of players all the way up until about 3:00.
Outside the stadium:
Inside the stadium:
The main thing I learned today is that these Topps 2009 cards have nicer signatures when they're unprepped than when they're prepped with erasers. I plan on trying out the baby powder technique if I start to see bubbling, but it looks like the cards give pretty good signatures without any prepping.
I sent out a 2009 Topps card to Pat Neshek today as my 100th TTM autograph request of the season. Pat has an awesome signature and I haven't sent to him before, so I thought he would be a good person to have as the 100th sendout.
I received my complete, factory-sealed set of Topps 2009 Series 1 & 2 today for about 1/2 retail price on ebay. Even though the season's almost over, I can get this set going in full swing as I try to get as many cards as I can signed from the 660 card set. It also came with an extra pack of 5 Red Sox cards since it's a special "Red Sox Edition" of the set. I'm going to Camden Yards tomorrow to try my luck at the Rangers in person, so hopefully I'll have chiseled away a small chunk of the set after tomorrow.