Friday, January 11, 2019

2019 Wood Ducks Hot Stove Event

It still pains me that I missed the first Wood Ducks Hot Stove event back in 2017.  Thankfully, I get notifications from the team on a bunch of different platforms now, I should never miss any Wood Ducks news.

This year, the third annual Wood Ducks Hot Stove event brought current Rangers Willie Calhoun, Jose Trevino and Jeffrey Springs to Kinston (and in Springs's case, back to Kinston).  Again, the event was held at King's BBQ, which is a very great BBQ chain in Kinston.  This was my second time going to the event.  Tickets cost $30/person and came with 2 drink (for adults of course) tickets and dinner.  There was also a social hour where you could mingle among fellow fans, Wood Ducks employees and the Rangers personnel.  I brought my son, Chris and my brother, Andy, along and the two of them has as much fun as I did.  I posed for one photo, with Willie Calhoun, who was super nice.
Willie also posed with Chris and definitely won a new fan once Chris realized that Calhoun grew up a Giants fan.
Jose Trevino was really cool, as well.  We had met him last summer in Frisco.  We spent some time last night talking about football and who we thought would win in the playoffs.  Turns out, Trevino is a huge Cowboys fan.
Jeffrey Springs kinda sorta remembered us from 2017, when he was a Wood Duck, but the 30th round pick has gone on to become the second Wood Duck to reach the majors.  He is also a native North Carolinian, hailing from Belmont.  He and I discussed how disappointed we were in the Panthers' season and more specifically how disappointed we were in Cam.
We were introduced to new Wood Ducks manager, Corey Ragsdale, who seems to be a pretty cool guy.  This season, he will be doubling as Woodies manager and also Rangers Minor League Field Coordinator.
There was a roundtable discussion with the players, and I was able to ask a question of them: Now that they have reached the majors, who have they met that they were like "Oh man, I can't believe I met THAT GUY!"  Springs answer was Cole Hamels; Trevino answered Michael Young and Calhoun answered Barry Bonds.  The Rangers announcer, Matt Hicks, also answered my question by telling a story about how he interviewed the great Hall of Famer, Vin Scully.  The stories that were told definitely were a highlight of the night, and I was glad that my question elicited some of the best stories of the night.
Chris made a new friend in Calhoun.  Here they are after the event talking about the Giants and Barry Bonds.  According to Chris, he also talked to Calhoun about how it was having Tim Lincecum (still Chris's favorite player) as a teammate last Spring Training and how Calhoun collects his own baseball cards.  Apparently, Calhoun tries to get one each of his cards and signs them for himself.  For some reason, that cracked me up.  He seems like a really cool, down-to-earth guy.  I talked with him later about how it was meeting Bonds.  It turns out, Calhoun was introduced to his idol by his mentor, former pitcher, Dave Stewart.  Bonds and Calhoun formed a friendship this offseason and have spent a great deal of time working out together.  I may or may not have dropped a few hints to Calhoun by saying, "Man, I really need to find a way to get Barry to sign his 1987 Topps rookie card for me..."  Calhoun laughed and told me that each day he worked out with Bonds, he was bringing handfuls of stuff to be signed, and Bonds graciously signed everything he brought.
I picked up two nice items during the silent auction (well, one during the silent auction, and one after).  This team signed "Christmas in July" bat hadn't been bid on at the end of the show, so I offered to buy it at the minimum bid, and the folks were happy to take my money.
The bat is amazing.  I mean, it is really awesome!  It looks even better in person and I honestly have no idea where I want to display it, but it looks so cool.
It definitely is a high-end custom bat that they had made especially for the Christmas in July event last season.  So, Chris and I have jerseys for the event, and I have the team signed bat.
Of course, I couldn't do the event without doing some graphing.  I took 50/50s for my friends, Max and Gerard, and between Chris, Andy and I, we got everything signed.  The purple chrome Calhoun was pulled from one of those 2018 Bowman Chrome Mega Boxes from Target and is the special atomic refractor that was in those boxes.
I was out of Trevino cards, so I had to order some.  I liked this Frisco card from 2018, so I got that off of Ebay.
I also picked up a few parallels from 2018 Bowman, and a red Team USA card.  The 2018 Bowman Chrome base was my end of the 50/50 from Gerard.
My favorite Trevino was this gold shimmer parallel out of 2018 Bowman.  It is numbered 20/50 and scanned amazingly.  I had purchased a lot of 10 additional Bowmans, but they didn't arrive in time.  My friend, Max, will get those done for me at Spring Training.
I had never heard of Ragsdale before, but when I was informed that he would be the manager, I searched him real quick on EBay.  I saw that he was in 2006 Bowman, so I searched my Bowman box and found that although I had a ton of 2006 Bowman, I had no Ragsdales.  I bought a good many of them off of Ebay.
It turns out, though, that my LCS has boxes of "rookie cards" dating back to the mid-90s, which essentially means, there are boxes there that I had never gone through in the 10 years (that's right, I have been in the Greenville area now 10 years) that I have been going to the shop.  I picked up a handful of Ragsdale's cards just in case the ones I ordered didn't get here in time.  Luckily, those all came and I got them done already.
Finally, I got Jeffrey Springs on my Spokane and 2017 Woodies team set cards, along with a Roughriders card that I picked up.

I had such an amazing time at the event; I can't wait til the season starts.  I think I got my 2019 graphing season started off with a bang.  Now, onto Orioles Fan Fest!
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