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:
Pacific Coast League
Florida State League (here‘s my not-so-great post on the game in which I got one)
South Atlantic League
New York-Penn 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!
- 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)
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:
Jordan signed my 2012 Topps very nicely in black sharpie.
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:
Marlins Licence Plate information
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:
I think this autograph stands out better than the Pacheco signature.
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!
Goals- 2014 (January 1)
Souvenirs- 2013 (this weekend)
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.
1 2013 Pocket Schedule
1 John Joseph Evers Hall of Fame card
2013 Magnetic Schedule
Gameday Program- August/September
2013 NYPL Champions Team Photo
Unfortunately, the team photo was a little beat-up by the time it got into my mailbox:
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!
- 2014 Goals (December 31)
- Mail/Pack Breaks (If I get any mail/baseball cards)
- Mini Bat Collection or 2013 Souvenirs Collection
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:
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:
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?
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:
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:
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:
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:
We went back to the seats of my first game, where I got a photo of the scoreboard:
From there, we could see some players in the visitor’s bullpen:
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:
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):
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!
- 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 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.
The scoreboard didn’t work properly and the advertisements were fading.
Bill “Space Man” Lee showed up, but didn’t sign an autograph for me.
Baseballs- This was a charity league ballgame, so I didn’t try to get any.
Jeff Conine signed this ball for me
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 was RIGHT THERE
Our ALCS MVP. I didn’t get his autograph at the game, but he signed a baseball card TTM.
The final score- I got to the ballpark at 11:00 and had been standing until 4:45- I was tired!
Koji Uehara again
I stood on this all game!
Jackie Bradley Jr. and Joel Hanrahan autographs
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.
My first baseball- snagged during BP
The bleachers in Left Field- if you look on the bottom right, those people are standing- it was like that throughout the ballpark
The line 30 MINUTES before the gates opened
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 signing autographs
Miguel Sano signing autographs
Your final score
My blurry shot of Jonathan Rodriguez
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.
My free ticket stub
The final score
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.
The Rotunda is probably the least ugly part of the stadium
I at least got to see our World Series MVP, Big Papi
I got his bobblehead, though- on sale for $15
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.
The exterior of Regions Field
Trayce Thompson signed my 100th autograph of the season
The Gary Ward auto I was talking about
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.
Casey Kotchman came out for game two
Andy Haines, the Hammerheads manager, gave me this:
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:
The seating bowl
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!
- 2014 Goals (December)
- Any mail posts
- Baseball Card pack break (maybe)
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:
(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:
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!
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:
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!
2013 Season Recap- Sometime in October
Mail- if I get any
Busch Gardens- Sometime in October/November
I haven’t had much mail recently, partly because I just finished requesting fan packs from every baseball team. I didn’t want to ask twice in a month and sound too greedy.
The first success came from a Miami Marlins pitcher by the name of Steve Cishek:
This is actually my first success from a Marlin in a year, despite sending several players letters.
Sent: July 30, 2013
Received: September 9, 2013- 41 Days
TTM Autograph #18 this season (I haven’t been busy with TTM)
The next autograph came from someone that has sent me several items- Jed Lowrie:
Sent: September 5, 2013
Received: September 20, 2013- 15 Days
TTM Autograph # 19 this season
That is it for mail. I will start sending out some fan pack requests soon. Thanks for reading!
2013 Season Recap- October
Mail (IF I get any)- Whenever
After a couple of games outside of South Florida, I was excited to go to Roger Dean Stadium again. The Jupiter Hammerheads were hosting the Fort Myers Miracle:
I didn’t actually take that picture. It came off Google Images. I came to this game with my friend, Ben, who you might remember from this post. He plays baseball for my school, but we never actually got a picture for the blog.
On this date, the Hammerheads were playing continuation of a suspended game from June and playing the game scheduled for the night. Free baseball!
Back on 5/19, I won a free ticket to any Florida State League game this year, so I decided to use it on this game. Ben also got a free ticket:
More free baseball!
The night before, Roger Dean Stadium held its “Back to School” night, where kids got free backpacks and free school supplies. I heard from some fans that it was tough to ballhawk and get autographs:
We went into the stadium and found a seat on the Miracle side of the stadium. My goals were to get baseball cards signed by Doug Mientkiewicz, Jim Dwyer, and Casey Kotchman, who was on a rehab assignment with the Hammerheads:
Doug Mientkiewicz came out and signed some cards for me:
If you haven’t noticed, I used to take a ton of pictures, and now, there aren’t many. I have a camera with terrible zoom, and I plan to upgrade to the Nikon D3200 this December. Next year will be better.
Anyways, after Jim Dwyer and Doug Mientkiewicz signed, we went to the Hammerheads side to get some autographs from them and, most importantly, from Casey Kotchman. We saw Hammerheads manager Andy Haines walk out, and he posed for a quick photo:
And signed a couple autographs:
You can’t see it in this picture, but he actually had a stack of line-up cards in his hand. I asked him if he could give me one, and he said after game one. Then I asked him about Casey Kotchman, and he said Casey would be out for Game Two.
We continued getting autographs, and after a while, I decided to take some action shots of Joel Effertz, the game’s starting pitcher:
We went to get food, and the game started. After a couple of innings, I tried for 3rd out balls, but failed. There were lots of kids on the Hammerheads side, and the Miracle didn’t throw much into the crowd. As I said before, I’m not taking a lot of pictures because I’m not satisfied with the result. Here are some more photos:
This was one of the first pitches of the continuation of the game from June.
This is an edited shot of Hammerheads reliever Greg Nappo.
All of those players are actually on the Hammerheads pitching staff. They were walking to and from the bullpen when I took the pictures, and I spent most of my time on the Hammerheads side.
The first game ended not to long after its start, with a final score of 5-2 Miracle. And Haines came out with the line-up card, and he signed it. Then, I thought: “If all of the players are coming out for a second ballgame, why not get Doug Mientkiewicz to sign the line-up card?” That’s what I did, along with Casey Kotchman and several other Hammerheads.
When Casey Kotchman came up to bat, I decided to photograph the scoreboard. I took about 5 photos, and this was the best one:
During the game, I talked to some fans with bats. They were signed by all kinds of Marlins prospects like Derek Dietrich. One fan, the father, was a Yankee fan, and the other, the son, was a Sox fan. It was great to talk to them.
It was nearing 9:00, and I had been at the ballpark since 4:00. My mom was ready to pick me up, so I left in the 5th inning of Game Two. I’m never excited to leave a baseball game early, but I was satisfied with what I got:
This was the line-up card, which is actually my first ever! If you look on the top left, Andy Haines signed it, and on the top right is Doug Mientkiewicz’s autograph. That wasn’t it:
Mientkiewicz signed three other cards for me
It looks like Casey rushed to sign these cards, because “Kotchman” wasn’t completed.
Jim Dwyer probably raised the value of these cards about a cent- now worth 5 cents. That’s better than most 80’s baseball cards!
Andy Haines (who is now my favorite Hammerhead)
Josh Adams- He struck out in the bottom of the 9th in Game One and flung his bat into the dugout. I was hoping to get it from him, but decided not to, because he would probably throw it at me
I don’t know the autograph on the bottom
The next 3 autographs are from the Miracle
The first two autographs are from this game. The last one is JD Williams.
Other- 1 Line-up Card
Game One: Miracle 5, Hammerheads 2
Game Two: Miracle 3, Hammerheads 1
That is it. In case you’re wondering why this was so short, it’s because I don’t have many photos, and it’s hard to explain without showing a picture. Again, next year will be better. Thanks for reading!
Mail- September 1-21 (Fri-Sat)
2013 Baseball Season Recap (October)
I am WAY behind on the blog, as I am two posts back. Let’s get started.
The Rome Braves sent a fan pack and I got it on July 22nd. However, I can’t find it the pictures, and because I am already far behind, I will list what I got.
- 3 2013 Pocket Schedules
- 2 Mascot Cards
- 1 10th anniversary patch
- 1 2013 magnetic schedule
- 1 Gameday magazine
- 2 Post cards
Two days later, on the 24th, I received a fan pack from the Miami Marlins:
- 1 2013 Magnetic Schedule
- 1 Bumper Sticker
This is a licence plate advertisement. I have some of these from several teams.
- “On Deck- July”- The Marlins game-day magazine
- Justin Ruggiano P.C.
- Marcell Ozuna P.C.- I got his autograph when he was a Hammerhead (which was last year)
- A.J. Ramos P.C.
Little League Magazine (??)- A little weird getting this in a fan pack, but keep in mind, it came from the Marlins. You don’t know what to expect from them. The next fan pack came on August 1st:
The Fort Wayne Tin Caps sent me a couple pocket schedules. The Cedar Rapids Kernels also sent a fan pack, and I got it on August 1st as well:
1 2011 Suite Ticket Stub
Ozzie Lugo Player Card
Here is the note they added:
I wanted to include the address in the picture, just in case anyone wanted it. The next fan pack was actually my first ever from the Northwest League; this one coming from the Everett Aquasox:
The Aquasox sent me these pocket schedules. I was happy to finally get something that league.
Sent: August 2, 2013
Received: August 7, 2013- 5 Days
The Tri-City Valley Cats are great senders, so I was excited to find a fan pack from them in the mail. Here is what they sent:
- Magnetic Schedule
- Gameday Magazine
- HOF card- John Joseph Evers
- 2013 Pocket Schedule
Sent: July 28, 2013
Received: August 9, 2013- 12 Days
If you’ve been reading this blog since it began back in January, you might have noticed a lot of fan packs from the Clearwater Threshers- that’s because they send me their program, “Thresher Times”. I don’t know why, but I want every issue of it. Here is one of the fan packs they sent me:
- 2013 Pocket Schedules, Ticket info
A new issue of Thresher Times!
- Sent: July 28, 2013
- Received: August 12, 2013- 15 Days
The next item wasn’t a fan pack- it was an autograph, coming from Royal Jeremy Guthrie:
I sent this out in APRIL hoping it would be a quick return, and when I found this in the mailbox, I noticed it came from Detroit. Turns out, the Royals were playing in Detroit when I got this:
Sent: April 13, 2013
Received: August 21, 2013- 130 Days (3 days short of setting the record for longest return time)
The final thing in this post came from Roger Dean Stadium- you might remember that name from other posts on this blog. I read online that they were sending mini-pennants and baseball caps, so I told them that I live 30 minutes away and that I go to a bunch of games there. Here is what they sent:
2013 Magnetic Schedule- already had it
4 baseball cards that I didn’t previously own
Gameday Magazine- you will see it in another post. I’m still happy to get this stuff for free, considering the amount of stuff I buy up there.
That is it for this post. I went to a baseball game on the 11th (over a month ago) at Roger Dean Stadium, and I have some mail (not as much as Aug.) in September to recap next week, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading, and thanks to the generous baseball teams for the fan packs!