The Quest

The Baltimore Orioles have been in town since '54 and have had over 900 men don their uniform. My goal is to obtain a signed card of each player. If you have something I need, or see something you want, don't be shy, we can make a deal.

Collection Statistics

Total Players 877/977 = 89.25%
1991 Orioles Crown Set
Total Players 309/465 = 66.45%
Alive Players 274/369 = 74.25

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11th Game Recap

Let me start by saying this will be a longer post, sans pictures. Scanner still sucks and wifey will have to scan pics for me today at work. Thanks for your patience. Now on with the story.

Yesterday was a great day to be out graphing. I took off work Wednesday-Friday to get some work done around the house, but also to get out to the Yard. So on Wednesday, the first day of my vacation, where was I at 1pm? If you said, "A work meeting". You'd be right. My boss was promoted and their is some changes above me. The powers that be thought a meeting was better than an email. They thought wrong.

I arrived at the stadium around 2:45, a good 3 hours later than originally planned and missed a rack session. Every person on the roster that I needed signed, a mere 30 minutes before I showed. Derrek Lee? Check. JJ Hardy? You betcha. Mark Reynolds? Yep him too. Cesar Izturis? Uh huh. Vlad? He's the one that failed to sign. The only one.

I made small talk with the graphers there and learned a valuable lesson. Active duty military uniforms are the key to having players stop. They all saw a soldier and thanked him for his service to our country by signing for him. It was awesome.

I thought pre-game would be a bust until I was let on to Jack Cust walking toward Home Plate Plaza. I sauntered over and got him on a Topps card just before he disappeared for warm-up (upgrade). Back at the Orioles parking lot Mike Gonzalez hopped from his golf cart to sign. This guy is quickly becoming one of my favorites. He always signs.

That was it for outside. I waited a few hours and entered the stadium right at 5pm, only to learn since I don't have season tickets, all I can do is watch from the flag court until 5:30. Good thing I'm over six feet tall and could see the action.

As 5:30 came I hustled to try and catch the O's signing during batting practice, but they stop BP at 5:30. Funny how that works. I was able to grab a Jeremy Guthrie sig before he took off to the clubhouse.

My park inexperience came out when I incorrectly thought a section was roped off and missed out on Jake Arrieta. Whoops. I saw Rick Dempsey on the field, pulled out my 8x10, then watched him take a phone call and duck into the tunnel, never to be seen again. Doh.

So I convened with the "Military Magnet" (that's what I dubbed him), and a few other graphers. One of which I actually worked with a few years back. It's a small sports world afterall. Everyone wanted Ken Griffey Jr., was hoping for Ichiro and expected nothing. That's how it started. Ichiro ignored us and took off to the air conditioned bowels of the stadium.

Jack Wilson, Brendan Ryan and Justin Smoak on the otherhand took care of us fans. I didn't have anything for Smoak so I got out of the way for those that did. When Ryan had signed for everyone, he looked around and said "Is that it?". He seemed disappointed when we thanked him to hustle him away. Jack Wilson was also extremely nicea dn signed everything we had. No one else came over until BP was over.

A few of us called his name expecting him to disregard us like the million others. But Griffey instead startled us with, "I'm only signing two". Said like a true ass. We all thought he was kidding but Griffey is a man of his word. "Military Magnet" and "Little Kid" were the lucky two. Each got their baseball signed on the sweet spot with every single letter legible. These were better graphs than what is released in packs. Lucky bastards.

The O's came back out late and can't sign after 7pm so I was SOL there as well. At least they took care of business on the field with a 4-2 win. I hung out with Geoff and Brent for most of the game and then decided to try my luck outside the stadium following the win.

No more than 10 minutes outside Jim Palmer was walking to his primo parking spot and actually stopped. He signed for Geoff and saw me pulling out my cards. He mumbled, "Oh no. You're one of those collector guys" and took off. I mustered up the courage to respond with "Yeah. I collect autographs of my favorite team and Hall of Famers". He failed to acknowledge my existence. Kids who were born 20 years after his career ended were clammoring for his signature. Probably to go up on Dads wall. Palmer even chastised a 3 year old for forgetting to say "please". When he was done with all the kids he turned to leave. Too bad for him I wasn't letting that happen. He relented after my pleading and signed. Such a bad signature, but a HOFer nonetheless.

Security is awful out there. I was yelled at for calling to a player to get them to stop and was forced 15 feet from the roadway. That meant that no players stopped, what a waste. I was able to snag Doug Fister of the Mariners as he walked past, thanks to the keen eye of my newest best friend, Geoff.

I packed up my gear to head out and saw Luke Scott and Derrek Lee get into their vehicles. Lee must have been a running back in High School because he used Luke Scott's SUV as a perfect blocker and escaped without so much as a "hey". Luke Scott signed for all of us left. All 4 of us. I had him sign 2 cards for me and gave one to a youngster.

All-in-all I did better with the M's than the O's. I was only able to upgrade one postcard and now have a bunch of cards for trade.

Here is the breakdown:
Jack Cust 1/1
Mike Gonzalez 2/2
Jeremy Guthrie 1/1
Jack Wilson 2/2
Brendan Ryan 2/2
Justin Smoak 0/0
Ken Griffey Jr. 0/1
Jim Palmer 1/1
Luke Scott 2/2

Hopefully pictures will be posted soon.

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