Monday, September 10, 2018

Aug 31-Sept 3, 2018, Graphing of the Dash at Wood Ducks

The day has come where there are no more Wood Ducks games in 2018.  They ended the season in last place, one year after winning the Carolina League Championship.  Such is life in Minor League baseball.  With the turnover of teams form year to year, it is hard to sustain any kind of dynasty.  I accepted that a long time ago, and have continued to enjoy the games, whether the Wood Ducks are in first place or last.

During the final series against the Winston-Salem Dash, Chris and I hit every game.  We got a ton of cards signed, and almost finished up with everything we had.  I was especially happy to knock out a bunch of Omar Vizquel cards that I have had for as long as I have been collecting.  However, I was most excited about the newest Vizquel in my collection, the above 2018 Bowman Chome National Exclusive.  This will look awesome in my binder, and turned out really well.
A fellow grapher got my 1987 Topps 30th anniversary insert signed, which was nice.  The red paint pen actually does well on the card.
The series before (against the Pelicans), Chris and I met a kid Chris's age names Kolby.  Kolby is a grapher that comes to games, and he and Chris really hit it off.  Kolby is a really nice kid, and offered to help me get stuff signed.  So, he got a few Omars done for me during the series as well.
Chris and Kolby were the ones who called Omar over on Friday, and he signed for them.  On Saturday, they called him over, and he responded with "Whaaaat?  Oh, I signed for you already.  I remember you from yesterday.  It's the glasses..."  Chris now wears Rec Specs for baseball, and Omar recognized him.  Of course, Chris responded with "Oh, no, you've never met me before!"  Omar responded with "Oh, it must have been your evil twin brother."  Well, he signed for Chris on Saturday, anyway.  On Sunday, he recognized Chris again, and Chris told him "Yeah, and I'll be here tomorrow, too!"  So, before the game on Monday, Chris and I decided we would try to throw Omar a changeup.
We went to a local party store and picked up a 'disguise'.  Omar thought it was hilarious, and agreed to pose for this photo with Chris.  He also signed his card, as usual.  Omar will be in the Hall of Fame one day, but Chris will always remember "playing a trick on him."  I'm glad he has a sense of humor.
The Winston-Salem Dash are a stacked team.  The White Sox have a good number of prospects with the team, so that made for graphing them a lot of fun.  Nick Madrigal is a recent call-up to Winston, and I was abe to get everything I had done for him across the four games.
It was even more exciting to get Luis Robert on a few cards.  I got my three cards signed, and one for my good friend, Gerard.  Apparently, Robert is a pretty tough sig, but he signed for us three out of the four days.
I knocked out a bunch of my Blake Rutherford cards over the four days.  He signed 2-per for us, but we were able to get him before and after most of the games.  I hated bothering him so much, but he has a ton of cards, plus he was in the just released Carolina League Top Prospects set.  I got one for me, one for Chris and one for Gerard.
He also signed my 2017 South Atlantic League All Star set card, and some older stuff that I had.
No relation to the Diamondbacks World Series Hero, but Luis Gonzalez is a pretty decent White Sox prospect, nonetheless.  I got everything I had of him completed.  Chris missed his South Atlantic League Top Prospects card, so one must hope Gonzalez starts the season in Winston-Salem next year.
I got two other South Atlantic League All Star cards signed, by Mike Morrison and Kyle Kubat.  Also, Kolby didn't want the coach cards from his Winston-Salem set, so he gave them to me.  I got Charlie Poe and Matt Zaleski to sign these.
I found the top two Guillermo Quiroz cards in a dime box at the National.  The bottom was a leftover that Chris missed back in April, and of course, I got Kolby's team set card signed.
I had a couple Gavin Sheets cards that weren't here during the previous series.  I found the 2017 Bowman refractor at the National, and 2018 Pro Debut came from my box that I ordered.
Lincoln Henzman is another recent callup to the Dash that I had cards for.  This Elite Extra Edition came from the National.  I was happy to get a 2013 Perfect Game card signed, as well, since I still have a ton leftover from the 2017 National.
Alec Hansen was recently demoted to the Dash from AA Birmingham.  He only would sign one-per, but I was still able to get a few nice cards signed.
I got a few Spokane team set cards done as well, from the guys who used to be Wood Ducks.  Ti'Quan Forbes left in the Miguel Gonzalez trade, but he is still popular in Kinston.
Yeyson Yrizzari wasn't a Wood Duck for long, and was on the DL for this series, but he still traveled with the team, and signed my Spokane card.
Each of these Leody Taveras cards came from the National.  I actualy finished every Leody card that I had, which I didn't think would be possible.
The Wood Ducks made one last call-up to the team with Tyler Phillips.  He started the next-to-last game, and was available to sign the last game.  I had two Hickory team set cards, and a Spokane card, so I was able to get those done.
Thanks to a 50/50 from Gerard, I got this Ricky Tyler Thomas card.  I have one of my own, somewhere, but haven't been able to find it since he was called up to the Wood Ducks.  I imagine he will be here next season; plenty of time for me to find where I misplaced the other card.
They did an entire team signing session before the Sunday game.  I was able to knock out a few more Spike Owen cards.  I'm not certain he will be back next season, but if he is, I doubt I will push too hard to get anything of his signed.  We hit him a lot this season.
Finally, continuing with getting my close graphing friends on 1987 Topps checklists, I was able to get my good friend, Jackson, on one.  He has an amazing autograph that he has been practicing for years.  I somewhat helped him get a job with the Wood Ducks this season.  I enjoyed him coming and sitting next to me at the ends of the games once his on-field promotions duties were over.

With that being the last series of the season, I recently counted up how many games I had attended, and how many autographs Chris and I obtained.  By my rough potato math, I counted that I attended 45 baseball games this summer.  That includes 39 MiLB (31 Wood Ducks), 2 MLB, 1 independent, 1 exhibition, 1 All Star and 1 college games.  We amassed 2,055 autographs on cards (plus a couple photos, some balls and a Rafael Palmeiro bat) between the January 9 Hot Stove Event, Orioles Fan Fest and all of the aforementioned games.  This doesn't include the autographs I got at the National.

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