I got this back a few weeks ago, but with the lack of autograph activity lately, I didn't get around to posting it until now. I sent this card all the way back in the fall of 2010, when Brandon was playing for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL. This is a new personal best for longest return. Sent 10/7/10 (1,145 days)
After watching the Sox clinch across the street from Fenway on Wednesday night, and wandering the streets of Boston for Halloween last night, I was fortunate enough to have a day off of work to recover today. I didn't get a chance to do any graphing during the playoff run, but I found out earlier today that Shane Victorino would be signing autographs at Macy's in downtown Boston. The first 200 people that made a purchase of $35 or more would be allowed to get one item signed, but it had to be one of the items that you bought at the store. They had nothing but hats and t-shirts, so I bought one of each and figured I'd just get the hat signed. I knew going into it that it would be a longshot to get an outside item done, especially given the extensive list of rules they gave out at the event:
There were several people checking to make sure that the only item you had to get signed was either a hat or t-shirt. I had brought my cards with me just in case. They were taking any bags that you were carrying, so the only thing in your hands when you got to the table was the item you were getting signed. I realized my only chance of getting a card signed was to hide it inside the hat and reveal it when I got up to the table. Even then, I had my doubts that Victorino would do it. I guess the championship has kept him in a pretty good mood, because he discreetly signed my card and gave a smile.
Matt Thornton 3/3- The Red Sox reliever signed cards from the 10 Upper Deck, 11 Topps, and 13 Topps Heritage sets. Sent 7/15 (63 days)
Mark Loretta 2/2- Mark certainly took his time with this return. He signed cards from the 09 Topps and 09 Upper Deck sets that I sent out during last year's spring training when he was with the Padres. Sent 2/24/12 (591 days)
I've been pretty busy over the last month or so, with little luck when it comes to graphing. At the last three games I went to during the regular season, I only got one auto at each game:
Yankees @ Red Sox, 9/15 (Mariano's last game at Fenway)
Hiroki Kuroda- 08 Allen & Ginter RC
Orioles @ Red Sox, 9/17
Jonathan Schoop- 11 Bowman Chrome
Orioles @ Red Sox, 9/18
Larry Lucchino- Red Sox 100th anniversary schedule
I was away last weekend when the Rays were in town. I had tickets for a Game 5, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), that game never happened. I won't be around for any of the ALCS either, so hopefully I'll have a shot at some postseason graphing if the Sox make it all the way to the World Series.
I usually like to compare autograph seeking to fishing; it's a lot of standing around and waiting, sometimes with little or nothing to show for it. And then there are some days, like yesterday, that make it all worthwhile. Yesterday was definitely a season highlight for me, for both autographs and a great game to watch between Scherzer and Lester. There was definitely an element of October in the ballpark last night.
David Mantle 1/1- The "Son of the Mick" signed his dad's card from the 09 Topps set, as well as a few index cards. Even though I'll probably never complete this set, it's nice to get one done that probably wouldn't have been completed any other way. Now I need to find a few Ryan Freel's from this set as well. Sent 5/28 (90 days)
I haven't indulged in pack breaking in a few weeks, but I went to Target today and saw that last year's Bowman Chrome offering was on sale for $12.99. I don't usually buy Bowman Chrome due to it having only 3 cards per pack, but I figured it was a decent enough bargain for 7 packs plus 1 "bonus" pack.
I started out by opening the "bonus" pack, which I assumed would be three refractors of some sort. As expected, I found these:
I broke into the first official pack and found this trio:
Sweet, another cluster of xfractors. Somebody must have messed up and thrown a few extra in a regular pack. Surely there couldn't be more...
But the xfractor train kept rolling along, leaving me with a total of 21 xfractors, including the following additional players: Jason Motte, Matt Dean, Forrest Snow, Colby Rasmus, Tom Milone, Manuel Hernandez, Justin Masterson, Aroldis Chapman, Wilsen Palacios, J.D. Martinez, Donald Lutz, and Shaun Marcum.
There were only three cards in the box that weren't x-fractors; two normal refractors of Ted Lilly and John Hellweg, along with a Futures Game insert of Yordano Ventura. I know that none of these cards are worth much, but for someone that doesn't do much box breaking, it was pretty cool to have almost an entire box of x-fractors.
Not quite as successful as Saturday, but I tried for the Red Sox this time in hopes that Jake Peavy might sign up a storm like he did the previous day. Unfortunately, getaway day always makes things more challenging.
Justin Maxwell 2/2- Even though he was traded at the deadline, Justin must have brought his mail on the road with him while the Royals were visiting the Twins last week. He signed cards from the 13 Topps and 13 Heritage sets, with the envelope postmarked from Minnesota. Sent 7/15 (21 days)
I was lucky enough to get into two exclusive acoustic performances by Frank Turner today. The first was in the morning at the Boston Globe's radio station, and the second was at Newbury Comics near Faneuil Hall. The Newbury performance was followed by an autograph session. Frank signed two album covers for me. If you're interested, the full set from the first gig is up at Boston.com's Live in the Lab
Pat Neshek 3/1- I sent Pat's 13 Heritage card along with a few duplicate signed hockey cards to add to his collection, and he returned the favor by including a few additional signed minor league cards of his own, along with a few unsigned cards of random players. Sent 5/28 (10 days)
Pedro Ciriaco- Red Sox pocket schedule. I was walking down Newbury Street today and saw Pedro paying his parking meter, and the only thing I had on me were a few pocket schedules. He was nice enough to sign one for me with a ballpoint pen. The Sox had an off-day today so I'm surprised I didn't see more players in the area.
I traveled down to Maryland for a family event over the weekend, and I managed to sneak in some graphing on Friday afternoon. I hadn't been to Camden Yards in about 4 years, so it was nice to get a change of scenery for the day. Most of the big names came in town cars so you couldn't really get access to them.
After an unexpectedly cold spring, Mother Nature flipped the switch on Memorial Day and gave us some great weather for graphing. I came into the day with low expectations, but it turned out to be my best day of the year, especially for my set. Papelbon made a nice milestone for the 09 collection, as he is the 100th card I've completed from the Updates & Highlights set.
I sent my very first TTM request during spring training 2009 to Mike Lowell. Since I sent this card out, I've moved from Maryland to Massachussetts, gotten myself a "real" job, visited Ireland and Costa Rica, and gotten married. I've also gotten over one thousand cards signed, including 294 for my 2009 Topps set. How time flies.
I knew when my father-in-law called me to tell me I received an envelope from the Red Sox that it must have been a TTM send-out from at least three years ago.
Unfortunately, the long wait for this return brought a less than exciting result. Mike sent a preprinted form letter apologizing for the delayed response, as well as a pre-printed photo card that simple says "Mike". He returned the card I sent unsigned. It was sent in an envelope from the Red Sox, and I received a similar return from Jonathan Papelbon a few years ago that was sent out around the same time as this one.
I pre-ordered the newest album from UK folk-punk artist Frank Turner, and received a signed booklet from "Tape Deck Heart" as well. I first saw Frank play in a small pub in Ireland a few years ago, and since then he's gone on to play sold out arena shows across England, and even played a pre-show for the Olympics last summer. If you haven't heard of him, check out this video for his new single "Recovery".