Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Graphing Recap of April 2019 Yankees at Orioles

It all started prior to Fan Fest when Ticketmaster oversold the vouchers for Eddie Murray and Beooks Robinson.  I was able to get Chris and I into the Eddie Session, but my good friend, Gerard, was denied, even though it said he had gotten his vouchers in time.  So, he was given the option to see Eddie either on April 6, or June 15.  Gerard couldn't really go either way, so he left it up to me if I wanted to try to use the session.  I definitely wouldn't be able to go on June 15, so I made some arrangements, and was able to go this past Saturday. 

I was really worried, because I came down with some kind of bug on Tuesday, which put me out of work on Wednesday.  Whatever it was seemed to be on the way out by Wood Ducks Opening Night on Thursday, so I was all set to go on Friday up to Baltimore.  Only thing is, that sick day and the Wood Ducks opener left me with very little time to prep for the trip.

I had already sat aside some Orioles because of Fan Fest, and added more to that pile when Topps and Heritage came out.  Then, I grabbed some Yankees from those boxes, and happened upon a couple on my desk, and tossed them in a box.  All of my card prepping took place in the hotel room late at night Friday and early Saturday morning.

I had decided early on that I wasn't going to get Eddie on a ball, because I didn't want to feel like I had a duplicate or want to sell something.  I originally wanted him on the 1988 Topps Record Breakers card, but at the 11th hour, I remembered that I had the above 2010 Topps Short Print, so I decided that was going to be the one I got signed.

Even though the signature is a little tough to see on the card, I was glad I chose it.  Eddie held the card for a bit and said that he had never seen one like it before.  I told him it was a 2010 Topps SP and he said that he thought by looking at the yellow railings on the card that it was taken in Chicago (at old Comiskey).  He remarked on the road gray jersey, as well.  So, the card definitely got his attention.

The biggest moment of the trip came right after Chris and I finished dinner on Friday night, however.  We had eaten dinner downtown, after walking from our hotel.  I had realized on the ride up that I had forgotten my photo edges for Chris's autograph book (and also my laptop, hence, no blog posts this past weekend).  I texted my friend Michael to see if he had any photo edges.  About 15 minutes later, I got a phone call...

Michael needed to know where I was because he had a graphing tip for me that I couldn't pass up.  He had seen Aaron Judge (and Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Taylor Wade) go into a restaurant not too far from where I was.  I had to go to my hotel, though, and get my cards, and meet Michael where he was.  I also had to pray that the foursome were slow eaters.  I got to the room and grabbed my cards.  I threw some baby powder on the Aaron Judge card that I thought would look best and put the snap case of cards in my shirt pocket (since I had left from work to head north) and made the mile-long trek across the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore to try and see if I could get Aaron Judge.
Chris actually got Judge first.  He is working on the All Star stamped 2018 Topps set, so he presented Judge with all 4 cards that he pulled out of his box and asked him straight up "how many will you sign?"  Judge told him one, so Chris got one of the cards signed.  I had chosen the 1983 Chrome shimmer that I had gotten out of last year's Silver Packs, and I am so glad that I did.  It turned out amazingly.  I also commented on his height, since I am about a foot shorter than he is (he's 6' 7").  He was so nice, and I was so happy to be able to say that I had gotten him.  Huge credit to Michael.
The next day, prior to the Eddie meeting, Chris and I made our way to the player's parking lot/entrance at Camden Yards.  We saw a bunch of players going in, but very few stopped.  I was able to get Tommy Kahnle on the above Yankee team card from 2018 Topps.
I was also able to get Renato Nunez on the above 2013 Pro Debut that I have had in my box forever.  I was glad to get it signed, and he was really cool.
At the very last minute, before Chris and I left the house, I was thrashing through card boxes, trying to find my Brian Roberts PC.  I had seen that he was on commentary for the series, so I figured I should try to get him on a couple cards if I could.

I liked the white bordered 2006 Turkey Red and then realized I had a duplicate of the 2006 Upper Deck Special F/X and had to get that signed.  You see, back in the day, we didn't have Topps Now that would come out and possibly have the game you went to depicted on a card.  You had to be REALLY lucky.  Well, 2006 Upper Deck actually had a card of the game that I had gone to that got me back into card collecting.  I had taken a friend to Baltimore and that day, I had bought Roberts's jersey.  In extras, he came to the plate and I told my friend that Roberts was going to hit a walkoff homer.  He did, and later that night some Yankee fans bought us drinks.  Now I have a signed version of the card and was able to relay that story to Roberts as he was signing.  He was still really cool, as he had been every other time I had met him.

Prior to the start of the game, the Orioles had a Celebration of Life for the late Frank Robinson.  In attendance were his wife and daughter, as well as several of his former teammates, contemporaries and players he had managed.  Speeches were given by Jim Palmer, Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson.  I also saw Cal and Eddie in attendance.

The Orioles lost the game, but it was really close.  Miguel Castro gave up a three-run home run to Clint Frazier that put the Yankees ahead.  I was able to witness Judge hit two home runs in the innings prior.  This season's Orioles aren't expected to do much of anything, but I was pleasantly surprised to see them hang tough against the Evils (and Judge).

After the end of the 8th inning, Chris and I made our way back to the player entrance and got there right as the game was letting out.  I noticed that Frank's wife and daughter were standing outside, so I approached them.  I thanked Mrs. Robinson for being so kind to me at the National back in July.  She seemed to remember me, thanked me and introduced me to her daughter.  I told the both of them that I really respected Frank, and that Chris and I had mourned for their loss.  They teared up, each shook my hand and thanked me, and Mrs. Robinson pulled Chris in for a hug.  I was really glad that I took the time to approach them.  I feel like although I was a bit awkward, they must have appreciated the gesture.
 We got back to graphing, and I was able to get Jim Palmer outside.  I complimented him on his speech about Frank, to which he replied "my wife didn't like it".  He was really nice, and didn't call us collectors this time.  Michael was there and told me that I would be able to get Ken Singleton, as well.  I was upset that I had forgotten to bring his cards, but then remembered that I had brought the entire 1991 Crown Orioles set, since I knew about the Frank memorial ahead of time.  Singleton would be in there, duh.  So, I was able to get that card signed.  Having that set really came in handy.
I am really terrible with player's faces, and usually have to sponge off of other graphers to be able to tell who's who.  Luckily, I recognized Paul Fry, myself, since I had a nice conversation with him at the National.  He signed two of these 2019 Heritage cards for me, and one for Chris.  I think future Fan Fests will help me complete the other guys on the card.
We waited around for quite a while after the game ended and were about to leave when we saw Aroldis Chapman come outside to text his ride.  He barely acknowledged us, but we were able to get his autograph/  I was super happy to be able to say that I got him and Judge in the same trip.  This was really one of my most successful graphing trips to Baltimore that wasn't a paid Fan Fest.

So, thank you, Michael for all of the help with the tips, thank you Gerard for hooking me up with the tickets.  Thank you Ticketmaster for screwing up in the first place, but most of all, thank you, Chris, for coming along and only complaining minimally (and when I couldn't really hear you anyway).  I had a wonderful bonding time with my son, and I know he had a blast as well.  I also think it is safe to say that the both of us are Aaron Judge fans, and that is ok.


Jafronius said...

So awesome you got Judge! Must have been crazy trying to get to him when they were done eating!

Jafronius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Wow, that was amazing! What a great post!