Saturday, December 22, 2012

Spring Training TTM: Josh Hamilton

  • Josh Hamilton 1/1- As Yogi said, "it's deja vu all over again" this week.  I got back the same 09 Topps U&H card signed by Hamilton twice in a three day time span.  I sent this one during Spring Training before the regular season started.  There are still at least two more cards from the 09 Topps set I need signed by Hamilton, so this one's for trade if anyone's interested.  Sent 3/2 (293 days)

Monday, December 17, 2012

TTM Return: Josh Hamilton

  • Josh Hamilton 1/1- What better way to celebrate the 400th post on this blog than a return from this year's biggest free agent signing, Josh Hamilton.  The new Angels outfielder posted this picture on his twitter the other day, saying that "Christmas is coming!".  He signed a card from the 09 Topps U&H set that I sent out right before the playoffs began.  I've never been able to get an auto from Josh in person, but I've had quite a few TTM returns from him over the past few years.  Sent 9/29 (79 days)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holidays at Fenway, 12/1

As I approached Fenway last Friday night, I couldn't help but get into the holiday spirit.  The organist was playing Christmas songs that echoed down Yawkey Way, and I entered through Gate B to find Wally the Green Monster taking pictures next to a huge Christmas tree decked out in Sox gear.  It's a long offseason, so nights like these help ease the throes of winter.

I headed upstairs to the Royal Rooters meeting room, where John Farrell had just sat down to do an interview with Jerry Remy for NESN.  I was waiting in a line, unsure of what I was waiting for, but it was much warmer in there than outside, so I couldn't complain.  On the upstairs level you were able to take pictures with former and current players, and during my time up there I took pictures with Ryan Kalish and Chris Carpenter, as well as Jim Rice.  It was painfully obvious that Jim didn't want to be there, but it was a nice surprise to see a Hall of Famer participating in festivities that are normally relegated to AAA guys that were late-season call-ups.

On the lower level beneath the Royal Rooters Club, tons of fans were digging through a treasure trove of old signage, t-shirts and memorabilia from years past.  The room looked like it's normally used for storage, but on this night, it was a collector's flea market paradise of sorts.  My budget keeps me from buying big-ticket items, but I figured I could find a few neat things to display in my baseball room on the cheap.

In the back of the lower level, players were signing autographs.  It seemed like they were working in 30 minute intervals, rotating between autographs downstairs and photographs upstairs.  I waited a few minutes to get in line until Kalish and Rice were there, as I needed both of them on cards but couldn't get them done upstairs.  I didn't have any cards for Carpenter or Jerry Remy, so I had them each sign a pocket schedule from this past season. 

After I went through the autograph line, I scoured the leftovers of the makeshift flea market and found a few affordable things.  As I was going through a shirt rack, Ryan Lavarnway starting walking down the ramp towards the autograph tables.  I was able to save myself the wait in line again and got him to sign a card right before he got to the tables.  After that, I headed to the cashier to pay for my cheap memorabilia.  Here's what I picked up:

  • Blank Line-up cards- 2 for $1.  One from a game vs. the Orioles at Fenway, another from a game vs. the Rangers in Arlington.  Might be fun to try to get these signed by the starting line-up from each team of that game.
  • Tigers Team Magnet- $10.  I'm not a Tigers fan, but I thought this giant magnet would look cool with a single signature from a guy like Prince Fielder, or maybe as a team piece.  Either way, it takes up a lot of real estate on the side of my refrigerator.
  • Locker Room Nameplates- $1 each.  These are slightly cheaper than the ones you'll find for the big names on the Red Sox.  Sadly, these were the most recognizable names that I could find, but they still look neat above the door frames in my sports room.  All three of them are free agents, so hopefully I can get them signed at some point.  These could also be another nice fridge accessory.
  • 1999 All-Star Game Photographer's Chair- $25.  I know that a pair of authentic seats from Fenway are too big and too expensive for my current living situation, but I couldn't pass up a chance to have some sort of seat from the stadium, especially one for this cheap that can fold up.

I could only stay at the holiday for a few hours, as I had to meet my wife downtown for her company's Christmas party.  Needless to say, she was less than enthused when I showed up in a nice suit with a dusty wooden folding chair and asked the coat check lady at the Langham to check my chair for me.  Even though I had to carry it home on the train, I couldn't resist.  And besides, it really ties the room together, man!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

TTM Return: Tyson Ross

  • Tyson Ross 1/1- I sent this RC to the A's pitcher while he was playing in the Arizona Fall League last year.  I didn't send out anything to the AFL this year, but this brings my success rate up to 50% for last season.  Hopefully there will be a few more surprises in the mail before the holidays.  Sent 10/27/11 (406 days)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nick Kroll, AKA Ruxin from "The League"

I've been on a bit of a hiatus since my wedding and honeymoon, which also happened to coincide with the end of the baseball season.  Fortunately, I was able to get a few autographs in person this week before the brutal cold of New England really digs in its claws.

I went to see Nick Kroll perform at the Wilbur Theater on Wednesday, who is probably best known for his role as Ruxin on the FX fantasy football comedy "The League".  He was also promoting a new show that he stars in on Comedy Central called "Kroll Show".

After the show, I waited about 15 minutes around the back of the venue, and Nick graciously came over and signed everything put in front of him.  I had him sign the DVD cover of The League Season 2 (which he signed twice for some reason), a mini foam football, and a promo giveaway from his new show.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

TTM Return: Matt Treanor

  • Matt Treanor 1/1- It took over two and a half years, but Matt signed his 09 Topps card from home.  This is a new personal record for longest return time.  Sent 1/11/10 (998 days)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TTM Return: Jed Lowrie

  • Jed Lowrie 1/1- Despite spending the first four seasons of his career with the Red Sox, I haven't been able to get Lowrie's autograph since I moved to Massachusetts.  I got his 2009 Topps card back from Houston in two weeks.  Sent 8/17 (14 days)

2 TTM Returns: Mike Napoli & Joe Nathan

A pair of Rangers returns came through over the weekend, as the final stretch of the regular season approaches...

  • Mike Napoli 1/1- Mike signed a Gypsy Queen from the 2012 set.  Sent 8/10 (49 days) 
  • Joe Nathan 1/1- The Rangers closer signed a 2012 Allen & Ginter in blue sharpie.  It's nice to see Joe has reclaimed the closer role after spending some time as a middle reliever after getting traded.  Sent 8/20 (39 days)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rays @ Red Sox, 9/25

My last time graphing this season went well.  I went to the game on Tuesday specifically for Evan Longoria, and he didn't disappoint, showing up at his usual spot at the usual time right before the game started.  As an added bonus, it was a reunion night for the 04 World Series team.  I didn't get any of the older guys' autographs, but it was nice to see everybody riding around on the duck boats inside the stadium.  In addition to getting a pair of autographs from Longoria, I was able to get a picture with him before the game.

  • Sean Rodriguez- 11 Topps
  • Alex Cobb- 11 Topps RC
  • Matt Joyce- 09 Topps, 12 Topps Heritage
  • Luke Scott- 09 Topps Heritage
  • Andrew Miller- 09 Topps (for trade)
  • Evan Longoria- 09 Topps (Rookie of the Year), 09 Topps (w/ David Price)

Spring Training TTM: Adam LaRoche

  • Adam LaRoche 1/1- The Nationals first baseman signed his 09 Topps U&H card.  As someone that grew up in Maryland, I'm pretty excited to see both the Nats and O's on their way to a playoff appearance.  Besides, there's not much left to cheer for in Boston this season.  Sent 3/1 (207 days)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Orioles @ Red Sox, 9/22

It's pretty rare that the Red Sox play a day game on a Saturday, but it was nice to get all of my graphing in before lunchtime yesterday.  Unfortunately, it was my last time getting autographs outside the stadium this year.  The weather deteriorated quickly from the previous day, so it was foggy and drizzling for the first hour I was there.  I came back a second day for the Orioles for the chance to get Jim Thome, and fortunately I got there just in time.  Despite a few rain spots, this was a big pickup for my set, and probably my biggest auto of the year behind Chipper Jones.

Jason Hammel- 12 Topps
Scott Podsednik- 09 Topps U&H
Randy Wolf- 11 Topps Heritage, 2000 Skybox Dominion New Era
Joe Saunders- 09 Topps
Will Middlebrooks- 2012 Red Sox Pocket Schedule
Steve Tolleson- 08 Bowman Chrome
Nate McLouth- 08 A&G
Jim Thome- 09 Topps

Orioles @ Red Sox, 9/21

This weekend was my last opportunity to get autographs outside the stadium, and it turned out to be a pretty good one.  The winning ways of the Orioles, combined with their talented young rookies, made for significantly larger crowds than I would have expected for a series against Baltimore.  Here's how I did the first day:

Matt Wieters- 10 Upper Deck
Jason Hammel- 09 Topps U&H
Adam Jones- 12 Topps Golden Moments Redemption
James Loney- 09 Topps
Luis Ayala- 09 Topps
Mark Reynolds- 09 Topps
Pedro Strop- Orioles logo card
J.J. Hardy- 08 A&G, 09 OPeeChee
Troy Patton- 08 Topps

TTM Return: Vance Worley

Vance Worley 1/1- The Phillies pitcher personalized a 2012 Gypsy Queen in black sharpie.  Sent 8/10 (41 days)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

TTM Return: Luke Montz

  • Luke Montz 1/1- This isn't a repost.  I originally sent Luke his 09 Topps card to get signed while he was with the Marlins during Spring Training.  I received the same card signed a few weeks ago that I sent more recently while he was with the New Orleans Zephyrs.  Sent 2/21 (206 days)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Yankees @ Red Sox, 9/11

Just one autograph, but it's another setter:

Chris Dickerson- 09 Topps

Didn't see anyone else sign at all inside the stadium.  However, it was still a great night as Jacoby Ellsbury hit a walkoff single to beat the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th.  I haven't been to too many good games this year, and that one was definitely the best.  It was also the first time I've ever witnessed a walkoff in person, though I'm a little disappointed that Jacoby didn't get a shaving cream pie to the face afterwards.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

TTM Return: Miguel Olivo

  • Miguel Olivo 1/1- After several tries, I finally got Miguel's base card from the 09 Topps set signed.  He also has a card in the Updates & Highlights set, but mine is probably lost out in the abyss of the U.S. Postal service now.  Sent 8/8 (30 days)

TTM Return: Daniel Hudson

  • Daniel Hudson 3/3- The Diamondbacks pitcher personalized three cards for me in blue sharpie.  Moe over at "My 2008 Topps Set Blog" has an extensive collection of Hudson autographs.  Sent 8/10 (22 days)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Royals @ Red Sox, 8/25

Catching up on some blogging with my third post of the day.  I went for the Royals after work on Saturday and had a nice, relaxing day.  They're an easy team to graph because they don't draw out the big crowds, and are usually pretty accommodating when it comes to signing.

  • Alcides Escobar- 11 Topps
  • Tim Collins- 11 Topps RC (For Trade)
  • Louis Coleman- 11 Topps RC X2  (For Trade)
  • Luke Hochevar- 12 Topps
  • Aaron Crow- 12 Topps
  • Jeff Francoeur- 12 Gypsy Queen Glove Stories, 12 Allen & Ginter
  • Greg Holland- 12 Topps Heritage
  • Eric Hosmer- 12 Topps Gold Futures
  • Mike Moustakas- 12 Topps Gold Futures
  • Rex Hudler- Blank card

TTM Return: Ken Macha

  • Ken Macha 2/1- The former Brewers manager signed his 09 Topps card, as well as a protective index card from his home in Pennsylvania.  Sent 8/17 (10 days)

Angels @ Red Sox, 8/23

I thought I might get shut out for only the second time this season, but luckily I was able to get Torii Hunter at the last second before the game started.  I was only able to do pre-game inside the stadium, but Trout only signed 2 or 3 and Pujols only signed for people on the field.  Glad to get another card done for my set though, I still have quite a few I need to get done for the Angels.

On an unfortunate note, this also happened to be the last game in a Red Sox uniform for Adrian Gonzalez.  I also saw Youkilis in his final Red Sox appearance earlier this season.  I can't wait for this baseball season to end and hockey season to begin, it's going to be a rough winter if there's a lockout.

  • Torii Hunter- 09 Topps

Sunday, August 26, 2012

TTM Return: Luke Montz

  • Luke Montz 1/1- Minor league catcher Luke Montz signed his rookie card from the 09 Topps set.  He started out in the Nationals organization, but now plays for the Marlins at the AA level in his home state of Louisiana.  Sent 5/19 (94 days)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Angels @ Red Sox, 8/21

I stayed on the Red Sox side of the stadium today in hopes of getting some former Sox players or Bruins making appearances for the Jimmy Fund telethon.  I was also hoping to get a few Angels in the process, but I'll have another shot at them on Thursday when I go to the game.

  • Vernon Wells- 09 Topps
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 04 Bowman Heritage RC
  • Chris Iannetta- 10 T206
  • Ryan Sweeney- 11 Topps
  • Andrew Miller- 10 Upper Deck, 08 Topps (For Trade)
  • Pedro Ciriaco- 11 Topps RC (For Trade)
  • Bill Lee- Red Sox mini helmet
  • Shawn Thornton- Bruins backpack (forgot my pucks)