Goals- 2014

Happy New Year! This blog made it’s debut on January 4, 2013, and here we are nearly a year later. In case you missed it, here is my 2013 Season Recap. It has been a great year for me. I got my first line-up card, I went to eight ballgames and collected lots of autographs, and my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, won the World Series. Before I list some of my goals for the new year, here are some of my stats from 2013:

– 112 IP Autographs, 22 TTM Autographs (and counting- I consider anything sent in 2013 and received in 2014 to be a 2013 success)

– 14 Baseballs Snagged

– 1 Line-Up Card

Last year, I got most of my IP autographs on Official League balls. After reading Autograph University, and looking at the quality of my autographs, I realized that I needed to start collecting better. I will be printing lots of 8×10 photo’s and asking for players to sign those and baseball cards, since those are much cheaper than getting autographs on a $16 ROMLB (plus, I want to stop getting team balls and start getting them signed on the sweet spot by top prospects and developed veterans).

This year, I don’t know how many games I’ll make it to. I am hoping to get to a couple of Spring Training match-ups at Roger Dean Stadium and the Palm Beach Cardinals home opener to start the season. Some of my goals include:

– 160 Autographs (125 IP, 35 TTM)

– 20 Baseballs (I’m more of a ‘grapher than a ballhawk)

– 2 Line-up Cards

One of my long-term goals is to get a line-up card from each of the following leagues:

National League

American League

Pacific Coast League

International League

Eastern League

Southern League

Texas League

Florida State League (here‘s my not-so-great post on the game in which I got one)

California League

Carolina League

Midwest League

South Atlantic League

New York-Penn League

Northwest League

Grapefruit League

Cactus League

There are some other things I would like to get. Things like souvenir cups, mini-bats, and ticket stubs made the list:

– Collect cups from: Roger Dean Stadium, Tradition Field, Marlins Park, and Regions Field

– Collect 2 Mini-Bats: Palm Beach Cardinals and NYM -or- St. Lucie Mets

– Collect 25 Ticket Stubs

There’s also the stadiums I would like to visit:

– Visit Roger Dean Stadium 4 Times

– Visit Marlins Park once

– Visit Tradition Field once

– Visit Regions Field once

Other than those stadiums, I can’t guarantee that I’ll make it to a stadium out of town (I’m a junior in high school). I don’t want to make a goal that I can’t achieve.

2014 will hopefully be a great year for everyone and for Major League Baseball. Thanks for reading! GO RED SOX!

Upcoming Posts

  • 2013 Souvenirs (I know it’s late, but I want to show it anyway- January 5th or 6th)
  • Mail (if I get any- end of January)
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Mail- December

I actually have received some mail since my last blog post. However, instead of doing a post for every individual item (I got one thing each week), I’ve decided to make a post at the end of the month that shows all of the mail. I have had free time, but I haven’t done anything baseball-related, so there isn’t much to blog about (don’t you just love the offseason?).

The first thing I got was something I sent out in February to Scottsdale, for Rockies 1B/C/3B Jordan Pacheco. I thought it was an autograph from Josh Hamilton, who holds all of his mail until December. Here is the autograph:

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Jordan signed my 2012 Topps very nicely in black sharpie.

Signed 1/1

TTM Autograph #21 in 2013

Sent: February 16, 2013

Received: December 14, 2013- 301 Days *NEW RECORD*- Longest return time (broken about two weeks later…)

The next thing I got was a fan pack. I sent some e-mails out in late November for any remaining 2013 pocket schedules, and the Marlins sent me some. Here is what I got:

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Marlins Licence Plate information

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3 Pocket Schedules

The Marlins are always good about sending me fan packs (unlike my Red Sox- they haven’t sent me anything in about a year), and I appreciate it.

Sent: November 24, 2013

Received: December 16, 2013- 22 Days

As I said, Josh Hamilton signs all of his mail in December, and the record that Jordan Pacheco set was broken by none other than Mr. Hamilton:

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I think this autograph stands out better than the Pacheco signature.

Signed 1/1

TTM Autograph #22 in 2013

Sent: February 11, 2013

Received: December 23, 2013- 315 Days *NEW RECORD*- Longest return time

I’m glad Josh actually signs things for his fans. Most of the stars these days are hard to get autographs from. Thanks to Jordan, Josh, and the Marlins, and thanks for reading!

Upcoming Posts

Goals- 2014 (January 1)

Souvenirs- 2013 (this weekend)

Mail- Week of 11/24-11/30

After over a month of waiting for something in the mail, I got something from the Tri-City Valley Cats on Friday the 29th. The Valley Cats have always sent me some cool stuff- you can read about some previous posts here and here.

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1 2013 Pocket Schedule

1 John Joseph Evers Hall of Fame card

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2013 Magnetic Schedule

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Gameday Program- August/September

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2013 NYPL Champions Team Photo

Unfortunately, the team photo was a little beat-up by the time it got into my mailbox:

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I think teams should start writing “handle with care” or “do not bend” on the packages to ensure nothing is damaged.

Sent: October 5, 2013

Received: November 29, 2013- 55 Days

Thanks to the Tri-City Valley Cats for the fan pack! Thanks for reading!

Upcoming Posts

  • 2014 Goals (December 31)
  • Mail/Pack Breaks (If I get any mail/baseball cards)
  • Mini Bat Collection or 2013 Souvenirs Collection

Arizona Diamondbacks Fan Fest 2012

Back in February of 2012, my mother and I went to the Arizona Diamondbacks Fan Fest. Admission was free, and you could pay $5 to get an autograph. I hadn’t been to Chase Field since 2009, when I saw the D-backs play the Braves (Chipper Jones hit a home run off of future Cy Young Award Winner Max Scherzer and I don’t have any pictures). I still wasn’t great at exploring the ballpark and taking as many photos as possible. I will share what I have.

We arrived at Chase Field, from what I remember, between 11:00 and noon. Parking cost somewhere between $5 and $10, about a block away from the park. We walked pass the home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, U.S. Airways Arena Center (I’m not a basketball fan) and arrived at the ballpark:

Bats DBacks FF

Like I said, I wasn’t exploring the ballpark like I should have. This is the only photo I took of the exterior of the ballpark. When we got inside, we were amazed by the crowd:

Crowds 3

Keep in mind, the Diamondbacks won the NL West in 2011, and I think I remember hearing that the 2011 Fan Fest wasn’t even close to this. Want to see the line for autographs?

Crowds DBacks FF

As you might have guessed, I didn’t get any autographs. The wait was really long, and we didn’t even purchase the ticket for autographs yet- think about that line. I did get to walk on the actual playing field:

Chase Field Dugout

As you can see, I was right in front of the dugout. I didn’t go in there either because it was roped off or you had to pay for a clubhouse tour. Here is more proof of me on the playing field:

Chase Field Scoreboard 4

You can’t go directly underneath the scoreboard unless you are on the playing field. While I took that photo, these guys were talking for Fox Sports Arizona:

Grace Sutton Young Upton Kubel Parra

From left to right, you’re looking at Mark Grace, Daron Sutton (I think), Chris Young, Justin Upton, Jason Kubel, and Gerrardo Parra. Unfortunately, three of those players are gone (Young- NYM, Upton- ATL, Kubel- Free Agent). Many of my friends in Arizona were big fans of Justin Upton. Here are some pictures of the enormous scoreboard:

Chase Field Scoreboard 2

Chase Field Scoreboard 5

We went back to the seats of my first game, where I got a photo of the scoreboard:

Chase Field Scoreboard

From there, we could see some players in the visitor’s bullpen:

Ian Kennedy

Ian Kennedy

Willie Bloomquist

Willie Bloomquist

Daniel Hudson David Hernandez

Left- Daniel Hudson, Right- David Hernandez

We did make a stop in the team store, which was packed. The check out line stretched across the store. I got this t-shirt:

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The roster is listed on the back. As we were waiting in line, we saw a basket full of these discount mini-bats- on sale for $1 each. I picked one up, and it started my mini bat collection (I have six of them now):

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This was my first and only fan fest, and it was great. Lots of the things that the D-backs had for fun were not for me or were only accessible with a small fee. There were autographs, photos, and some small games. There was even a silent auction, where we noticed a Billy Buckner (no, not the one who let the ball slip through his legs- this one) autograph going up for over $150.

That is all I have. Thanks for reading!

Upcoming Posts:

  • Mail- Week of 11/24-11/30 (posted by the end of the week)
  • Goals- 2014 (posted at the end of the month)
  • Baseball Card Pack Breaks (whenever I get the cards)
  • City Place Review (Maybe- I’m thinking about it)

2013 Season Recap

2013 has been the best year for me since 2008, when I developed a love for the game. The Red Sox won the World Series and I collected lots of autographs, baseballs, and memorabilia. This post will go over all of the previous posts on the blog.

Game 1: January 26, 2013- Joe DiMaggio Legends Game, Fort Lauderdale Stadium

I hadn’t gone to a game since July of 2012, so I was excited to get back out to a baseball stadium. The money raised at this game would go towards the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and all of the players were retired. Some played in the 50’s, and could barely swing a bat- they actually hit weak grounders. It was fun, and, unfortunately, this was the final Legends game. Ft. Lauderdale Stadium is run down, and hasn’t seen a professional game since 2010, when the Orioles held Spring Training games.

Scoreboard Ft. Lauderdale Stadium

The scoreboard didn’t work properly and the advertisements were fading.

Bill Spaceman Lee

Bill “Space Man” Lee showed up, but didn’t sign an autograph for me.

Autographs- 9

Baseballs- This was a charity league ballgame, so I didn’t try to get any.

Jeff Conine 1

Jeff Conine signed this ball for me

Ticket

My ticket stub.

Game 2: February 24, 2013- Red Sox vs. Cardinals, Roger Dean Stadium

This was my first ever Red Sox game, and it was amazing. The Red Sox won, and I saw Jon Lester up close- kind of weird, I know, but you can’t get that at a Major League Ballpark. I got a free T-shirt and double-digit autographs. Unfortunately, I had to stand for almost 6 hours, but it was worth it.

Jon Lester 3

Jon Lester was RIGHT THERE

Koji Uehara 2

Our ALCS MVP. I didn’t get his autograph at the game, but he signed a baseball card TTM.

Final Score 5-3!

The final score- I got to the ballpark at 11:00 and had been standing until 4:45- I was tired!

Koji Uehara 3

Koji Uehara again

What I leaned on

I stood on this all game!

Autographs: 10

Baseballs: 0

Bradley Hanrahan Autos

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Joel Hanrahan autographs

Ticket Stub

My ticket stub

Game 3: March 16, 2013- Tigers vs. Cardinals, Roger Dean Stadium

This game was fun- I got an autograph from Austin Jackson, and the Tigers ended up with a 3-0 victory. I snagged my first-ever baseball (even though it wasn’t game used) and met some cool people. The drawback to this game, however, was the lack of space to stand. The box offices “oversold” the ballpark to over 7,000 people, which is the stadium’s capacity. There was nowhere to stand, and even in the concourse it was packed.

ball that i snagged

My first baseball- snagged during BP

crowded bleacherss

The bleachers in Left Field- if you look on the bottom right, those people are standing- it was like that throughout the ballpark

crowds at 11

The line 30 MINUTES before the gates opened

final score

The final score

Game 4: April 21, 2013- Miracle vs. Cardinals, Roger Dean Stadium

This would be my first Minor League ballgame since July of 2012, and I was happy to find an empty Roger Dean Stadium. Former Red Sock Doug Mientkiewicz would be managing the Fort Myres Miracle, and top prospects Miguel Sano and Corey Williams would be there as well. The game would be my best ever in terms of total autographs- 26, and I set the record for baseballs snagged in a game- 7. That is still my personal record (I am not a ballhawk, I am a ‘grapher, but I do want to collect some baseballs- who wouldn’t?). Rain delayed the start of the game by over an hour. The final score was 6-5 in favor of the Cardinals, winning on a walk-off shot by Jonathan Rodriguez.

Corey Williams 1

Corey Williams signing autographs

Miguel Sano 2

Miguel Sano signing autographs

Rain coming off roof

Rain

Tarp

The tarp

Final Score

Your final score

Walk off Rodriguez

My blurry shot of Jonathan Rodriguez

Walk off Celebration

Celebrations- #16 is Cardinals top prospect Stephen Piscotty

Game 5: May 5, 2013- Hammerheads vs. Cardinals, Roger Dean Stadium

This was just an average ballgame, despite getting 19 autographs and a free ticket. Not a lot of top-prospects for either team (all of the Hammerheads from last year were in Jacksonville or Miami) or former Major-Leaguers. The Hammerheads won by a score of 1-0, making them 2-0 in games that I’ve seen them in. The Cardinals loss put the whole organization at 1-3.

Free Ticket

My free ticket stub

Final Score

The final score

Austin Barnes and me

Austin Barnes and I (I would also get pictures with Andy Haines, Josh Adams, and Robbie Redbird)

Game 6: June 11, 2013- Red Sox vs. Rays, Tropicana Field

I was excited to get to this ballgame, mostly because it would be a Red Sox game. I was also excited to see a domed stadium for the first time, although I did see The Trop in the air in 2012. While I was waiting for the Red Sox to walk out, 30 minutes before the game started, the stupid Rays security kicked 3/4 of the Red Sox fans out of the area. I was mad and made the mistake of skipping the Rays, thinking that my Red Sox jersey would not earn an autograph. My backpack’s zipper broke (which was later fixed by my grandfather in Birmingham) and the Red Sox lost. To top it all off, I never got a ticket stub- all I got was that crappy print-out.

Rotunda

The Rotunda is probably the least ugly part of the stadium

Catwalks (2)

The roof

Big Papi

I at least got to see our World Series MVP, Big Papi

Bobblehead

I got his bobblehead, though- on sale for $15

Matt Joyce

Matt Joyce was my last chance for an autograph, but he never signed- my 1st shutout in 10 ballgames

Game 7: July 8, 2013- Braves vs. Barons, Regions Field

This would be my first ballgame in a stadium’s inaugural season since 2009, when I visited Goodyear Ballpark (spring home of the Indians and Reds). The stadium was awesome, but one of the problems was the speaker system- it was LOUD. I got Gary Ward to sign a 1990 Topps baseball card, but missed an opportunity for double-digits by skipping Julio Vinas, the manager, after asking him for the line-up card. The Barons would go on to win the Southern League Title.

Birmingham

The exterior of Regions Field

Trayce Thompson

Trayce Thompson signed my 100th autograph of the season

Gary Ward Autographed 1990 Topps

The Gary Ward auto I was talking about

Scoreboard- Under

Right under the scoreboard

Game 8: August 11, 2013- Miracle vs. Hammerheads, Roger Dean Stadium

I was excited for this ballgame, especially because it would be the last one in 2013. I ordered some Doug Mientkiewicz cards on Amazon to get autographed, and Casey Kotchman would be rehabbing for the Hammerheads. I later learned that there would be two ballgames, and I used my free ticket on this game- TWO ballgames for the price of NONE! My friend Ben attended this game with me, and I taught him how to collect autographs. He told me he would rather be the one giving the autographs. The Hammerheads would lose both games.

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Casey Kotchman came out for game two

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Andy Haines, the Hammerheads manager, gave me this:

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A line-up card, my first ever

Riverwalk Stadium, Montgomery, Alabama

Here are some pictures from my visit to Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Biscuits, on July 9, 2013:

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The ballpark

Scoreboard (3)

The scoreboard

View from 3B line

The seating bowl

Goals

Autographs IP: 112/80- Achieved

Autographs TTM (so far)- 20/20- Achieved

Autographs- Total: 132/100, Achieved

Ballhawking- 14/20, Failed

Hopefully next year will be as much fun as 2013! Thanks for reading!

Upcoming Posts

– 2014 Goals (December)

– Any mail posts

– Baseball Card pack break (maybe)

Mail- October

I apologize for the delay! School work has taken up a lot of my time! Anyways, I have a couple of TTM things to blog about- the first coming from the Delmarva Shorebirds:

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(Sorry about the poor quality)

1 Issue of “Play Ball”- Gameday Magazine

6 Baseball Cards

15 Pocket Schedules- from 2011 to 2013

Sent: July 28, 2013

Received: October 7, 2013- 71 Days

The Shorebirds always send me a lot of pocket schedules- the sent me 21 at one point! Thanks to the Shorebirds!

The next item comes from perhaps the best TTM signer in the game- Pat Neshek:

Neshek 10-18-13

Sent: October 12, 2013

Received: October 18, 2013- 6 Days- TIED his own record for quickest return time- signed in blue on a 2013 Topps Heritage card.

Pat is one of my favorite players, probably because he is so good to his fans. He will take the time to sign 20 cards if you send him that many, and, a couple of times, he actually sent me some baseball cards (7, to be exact)! Thanks to Mr. Neshek!

I will have at least two more posts up in 2013- a season recap (which, I know, I said I would write last month) and some goals for 2014. Other posts could include some baseball card pack breaks and other mail items. Thanks for reading!

Mail- 9/29 to 10/5

I haven’t been getting much mail lately, but I recently sent out some requests for fan packs to some minor league teams. I did, however, send the Colorado Springs SkySox a fan pack request with a SASE instead of an email. On October 5th, I got what I was looking for:

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3 2013 Pocket Schedules

Sox the Fox Baseball Card- Autographed!

Sent: September 28, 2013

Received: October 5, 2013- 7 Days

Most teams will tell you to send a SASE for pocket schedules, and the SkySox are one of those teams. Thanks to the SkySox, and thanks for reading!

Upcoming Posts

2013 Season Recap- Sometime in October

Mail- if I get any

Busch Gardens- Sometime in October/November