Monday, September 25, 2017

September 2017 Trip to Baltimore

I thought I was done graphing for the year.  I was content to rest on the 964 signed cards that I had gotten and call it a year.  I decided that, for my birthday, I would make the trip to Baltimore for a game or two, and ended up doing a bit more graphing.

I was slammed for work, so I didn't get a lot of time to sort, but luckily, I still had a ton of Orioles cards that I had sat aside for the Norfolk exhibition game in March.  I took those stacks, then supplemented them with a few Orioles alumni that I thought may come.

I also met up with my good friend, Michael, and he showed me the ropes of graphing at Camden Yards.  He helped me outside the stadium, inside at the field, and up in the club level.  One of the biggest autos I was able to get was this Jonathan Schoop.  It turned out really nice, especially since I didn't get a chance to prep the card beforehand.  I was really lucky that the auto suck with this one.  I was able to get him to sign it at his car, along with a ton of other folks.  I appreciate that his wife was so gracious as to let us hand the cards inside the car to him.
Boog Powell was probably the easiest Oriole to approach.  He was at his station at Boog's BBQ chatting and posing for photos.  He signed every card that I had, which was great, because I had brought some nice Topps cards straight from my PC.
I was able to get this 1992 Action Packed card signed, which is the first that I have been able to add to my album.  It turned out nice, and the line through the auto came due to the scan.
I had brought a few Orioles team cards with me, just in case I ran into any players and didn't have their cards on hand.  Such was the case with Austin Hays on Saturday at the field level.  I had him sign the 2016 Heritage team card instead, which turned out really nicely.  The 2017 Topps team card is signed by radio personality, Tom Davis, while the 2016 team card is signed by THE Roch Kubatko!
I was able to talk to Jim Palmer outside of the stadium after the game, Friday night.  He wouldn't sign, though.  He told me he would sign for me Saturday, if I was at the game.  Sure enough, before the game Saturday, he came over in the parking lot and signed a card for me.
I got Palmer to sign this card post game, Saturday.  He is funny with autographers; he said "You're all collectors!", and joked around with all of us.  He took one kid's graphing book and asked everyone to "throw em all up there" so, with the kid holding the book, Palmer signed all of our cards.
I was also able to take a selfie with Palmer, but it turned out pretty blurry.  Still, he was nice about it.
I was able to get Rick Dempsey before Saturday's game in the parking lot.  I had a number of cards with me and handed them over to him.  He signed a few (above) and I thanked him.  He wasn't overly talkative, but we did talk about what he would do in the offseason.  He talked about playing golf.
Because it was the final home series of the season, there were a bunch of Orioles alumni at the stadium and walking around the club level.  I was able to get Chris Hoiles on one.  I missed Joe Orsulak, though.  I saw Ross Grimsley leaving the stadium, and caught Scott McGregor, getting him on a card for myself, and one for Michael.
I was with fellow grapher, Patrick, when Brady Anderson came outside on Saturday night.  Michael had told me that Brady was gone for the weekend, but luckily, I was able to find his cards very quickly in my box.  I took the first two cards that I saw, which landed me this 1991 that Patrick got for me, and the awesome Pacific below that I was able to get done.
Also outside on Saturday night, I was able to use the above 2016 Orioles team card on Jimmy Yacabonis.  He might have made better sense on a 2017 team card, but in my scramble, this one was the first I could get my hands on in a pinch that night.  It'll do.
Buck Showalter was the last to leave the stadium on Friday night, and Michael and I were the last graphers standing.  Buck stopped his car and motioned for us to come over; he chatted with us for a bit, and was more than happy to sign for us.  I noticed, though, that he only signed the Orioles cards that we presented.  I had two other cards (a Yankee card and a Diamondbacks card) and he left them blank.
Jeremy Hellickson was sitting in his car on Saturday night, and told the graphers that he would sign on Sunday.  Apparently, though, he was waiting for someone who was late, so he finally motioned for us to come over, and he signed for a bit until the person he was waiting for finally came and caught a ride with him.  Who was he waiting for?  Alex Cobb!
I actually recognized Dave Johnson while we were in the club level.  He was really nice to Michael and I.  While he was signing for us, we talked about his son, Steve, who had to cancel a vacation to the Caribbean due to the hurricane.
I also got Johnson a second time as he came out of the stadium on Saturday so I could finish off my page of him.  I appreciated him stopping and chatting again.
On this trip, I was surprised at the number of Rays players that I was able to get on cards.  Saturday before the game, we were able to get Rays manager, Kevin Cash, after his finished his afternoon run.
I was able to get Alex Cobb a couple of times.  Jose Sucre is on the Rays team card at top left.
Cobb was really nice; he signed for me several times, and finished up all of the cards I had of him.
A lot of the players were one per, except for Curt Casali, but I had all of the same card of him, 2016 Topps.
I really enjoyed chatting with Tommy Hunter before the Saturday game.  He was open and honest about how he enjoyed his time in Baltimore, and how he didn't want to leave.
Tommy also gave a fellow grapher some crap for calling out for him to come over, then leaving to try to get Evan Longoria instead.  He was really funny and took quite a while to sign for everyone.
I wasn't going to do any graphing on Sunday morning, but I had to meet Michael and hand off some extra cards that I had.  While we were waiting for him, Austin Hays came over and posed for a photo with Chris.
I had one ROMLB with me, just in case.  I decided to use that ball to get an autograph from Orioles radio voice, Joe Angel.  With Michael's idea, I got Angel to inscribe the baseball "Wave it bye bye" and "In the WIN column".
The ball turned out great, except for the little smudge on the side.  I didn't care!
 I believe that Joe Angel will end up in the Hall of Fame as a Ford Frick Award winner, so hopefully this ball will find its way into my HOF collection soon.
Finally, the biggest autograph (in my mind) that I was able to get this weekend was that of Rays pitcher, Chris Archer.  I used my knowledge that he was from NC to my advantage.  He is from Clayton, NC, so I yelled over to him "Hey Chris!  I drove through Clayton on Tuesday on my way to Fuquay [Varina]!"  He smiled and waved, so I asked him if he minded signing a card for me.  He said he would when he was done, and was good on his word.  I had to jump on the dugout to slide the card and pen to him, much to the chagrin of the usher who yelled at me, but I didn't care.  I got the auto!

So, with this trip, I netted 1,016 signed cards on the season.  I think this was an awesome way to close it out and officially retire my graphing book for the winter.  I'll fire it all up again for Fan Fest in January.

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