Friday, January 31, 2014

Graphing NFL Players During Super Bowl Week Days 2 and 3

Since I had a great time during day one of the Super Bowl festivities, I made sure I went back for day 2. Thankfully, it wasn't as cold as it was on Tuesday. Wednesday's high temperature was 25 as opposed to 17 the day before. I cannot wait until Spring.

Day 2:

My day started later than the previous day. I learned that Brian Cushing and Mo Wilkerson was signing at Body Armour's exhibit in Grand Cenral Station. It was a football lesson for some kids with Play 90. LaVarr Arrington was the "moderator" of the event and was the main instructor. Arrington needs to get a TV job. He has personality and quick wit.

The Trio discussing football

The autograph signing was scheduled for 12 noon, but as the time got closer, the lessons weren't slowing down. Then around 12:20, someone came by and told one of the workers that Cushing had to leave. Once Cushing left, so did Wilkerson. I thought my chance to get Mo to sign my Jets book had come and gone until I saw Cushing standing around and talking to a few gentlemen, so I hung around and waited. Sure enough, Wilkerson came out and I got him to sign my Jets book.

Wish the book had a picture of Wilkerson

While we were waiting, someone told us that Victor Cruz would be signing at Footlocker, so we headed there after lunch. When we got there, the line was pretty long. Having gone to previous signings at Footlocker, I had a feeling that the line would move quickly once Cruz arrived and we would get to meet him.

As you can see, the line was long. I dig that guy's Vintage Jets winter cap

As I suspected, once Cruz arrived, the line moved pretty quick and within 25 minutes we were inside meeting Cruz. Btw, never let a store employee take your picture while your meeting with an athlete. The picture always comes out wrong. For the sake of my very small ego, I will resist showing you the picture that was taken. I will show off the picture I got signed.

Got a nice signature from Cruz also
 After this signing, we went to get in line for Jim Brown at Macy's and the day went downhill from there. Once we got there, we were told that Brown would only sign merchandise that was bought at Macy's and you had to spend $50.00 to get the signature. OK, I wasn't going to argue it. So, I bought an NFL mini helmet for Brown to sign and a Jets mini for later use.

Then we got on the line and waited... and waited.... and waited. Then we were moved to the other side of the store. And waited... and waited some more. We got our tickets for the signing at 5pm for the 6pm signing. Then, we went back to waiting. Lucky, I once again made use of Macy's free wi-fi and surfed the web on my tablet. Finally, at about 6:15pm, Brown arrived and the line started moving.

Jim Brown greets the masses
As I got to the front of the line, I started getting the mini helmet ready to be signed. As I did this, a Macy's rep came up to me and told me that Brown will not be signing anything other than the pictures that were provided up front. This infuriated me. I spent $60.00 on overpriced mini helmets to get this guys autograph because I was told by Macy's that I had to spend over $50.00 to get the signature. What was worse was when I got upfront Brown didn't even look at me. His representative handed me the photo. That made me even more angry. If your going to tic off the fans who waited 3 and a half hours for you, have the courtesy to look up, say hi and shake a hand or two.

Once I left the signing area, I made a beeline for the register to return the helmets. I wasn't the only one as the lines at the registers grew to amazing proportions. Once I got to the register, a rep from the NFL Team Store told me that it wasn't Macy's nor was it Jim Brown that ixnayed the signing of merchandise. It was his representative that me the signed photo with Macy's all over it. She saw how ticked I was. Couldn't have explained why she wouldn't allow Brown to sign merchandise that was bought specifically for this event? I still blame Macy's for allowing that to happen. He was paid to be there. Macy's should have enforced that rule. They just wanted 100 fans to spend $50.00 and more at their store.

What's worse, even after being lied to, a Macy's representative tried to take back the signed photo. I refused to give it back since three people where in front of me and walked off with their photos after returning their merchandise. The rep let me go, but told the guy at the register I was the last one. Morel of this story, Macy's sucks and I won't go back for another signing again.

And here's the photo we got from Macy's
 Because the Brown debacle took forever, we got to Modell's for the Jamal Charles signing too late. The line was too long and we were told by a Modell's employee that the first 100 were guaranteed an autograph. I was willing to stay to attempt to get the taste of that Brown signing out of my mouth, but my friend wanted to go, so we left and the day ended on a sour note.

Day 3

I started Friday at an early hour. I was going for just 2 autographs. Dee Milner was signing at Modell's at 12 noon and I wanted to add the Jets CB to my Jets collection. But the reason I got to Manhattan so early was because I had heard that Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia was going to be appearing on an ESPN show, so I got to Bryant Park around 10am. CC arrived around 10:15am and was walked in by security pretty far away from where the graphers were standing. I waited around and saw Cam Newton being led out the same way CC was led in; far away from us. CC came out around 11am and when I saw he was walking in the same direction I bolted from my area up front. I ran from one corner to another and slowed down to a brisk walk so that I didn't have a cop jump in front of CC thinking I was a wack job, but also because I left my lung on the sidewalk behind me. I'm too old to be running as fast as I did.

Once I got to where CC was, I saw that there was no graphers around. Just CC, a cop, his entourage and little ole me. I politely asked CC if he could sign my ball and he said sure and took my baseball. As he waited for me to give him a pen and I went into my bag to get one, I realized after fumbling around that I forgot my Bick pen at home. I embarrassingly asked one of his people if they had one and thankfully, someone had one. I shook CC's hand and wished him luck this upcoming season. Thanks to my almost killing myself, I was able to walk off with this gem:

After that, I headed over to Modell's, hoping that the line wasn't too long. When I got there, I saw there was no line. "Lucky Me", I thought. I went inside and asked an employee when the line would start and was told that the Milner signing was cancelled. As disappointed as I was, getting CC to sign the baseball for me was enough for me and decided to end the day.

I did walk along Super Bowl Blvd and took some pictures for you guys to check out.

ESPN temporary studio

Rush Zone for the kiddies

Xbox Station where you can play some Madden

Papa Johns for free samples

Come out of the tunnel like a true NFL player

Put your head on the mannequin and take a picture 

Fox's temporary studio

Kick a field goal? Not me.

The Lombardi Trophy and the crazy line to get in

Where First Take was filmed this morning

Well, I had a great time running around getting some autographs for my collection and experiencing all the hoopla surrounding the week leading up to the Super Bowl. I realize that this might have been a once in a lifetime event here in NYC and I made sure I made the most of it. My only complaint was that this should have been held in doors. I don't understand why it wasn't held at the Javitz Convention Center. With the weather as cold as it was, it should have been held indoors. That said, I'm glad I was able to attend this event and I hope that I can do so again one day. If you have the chance to attend when the Super Bowl is in your town, I urge you to go out and attend it. You won't regret it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Graphing NFL Players During Super Bowl Week Day 1

One of my New Years resolutions was to go out and graph more this coming year. The fact that the Super Bowl is here in NYC and there would be a ton of appearances by former and current players was the perfect time for me to go back out and hunt some autographs. I was mainly looking to add autographs to my Jets collection and add some players I might not have otherwise had the chance to get any other time. In my first two days, I had some ups and downs, but so far it has been a good time.

Day 1:

On Wednesday, I arrived at Super Bowl Blvd (which in actuality is Broadway between 34th and 47th streets) at about 10:00 am. I initially was tired when I left my apartment, but the excitement of the day's events woke me up pretty quick. That and the 15 degree temperature that morning did the trick.

I waited for my friend to arrive at 11:00 am and we quickly got in line for the autograph stage. That day's scheduled guests really didn't thrill either one of us, but we wanted to see how the autograph lines worked and what to expect for future appearances that week.

While we waited for the first autograph guest, the Jets Flight Crew came out and did a few dance numbers for the crowd. After, we were told that the first guest would be up shortly and to have our items ready. If you didn't have an item, there were autograph cards that the player would sign. I had bought a huge Sports Illustrated Football book with me for players to sign, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to get a signature in it.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Derrick Brooks was the first player to sign that day and I had my book ready. I flipped through the book quickly and couldn't find a picture Brooks was in so I decided to have him sign the inside cover. The pages are grey with Sports Illustrated printed across it, so when I got up front, I asked the handler to ask Mr. Brooks to sign the page in black.

Instead of the black Sharpie I asked for, he used silver. At first I was a little ticked, but now that I look at it I see it looks fine, so I have no problem with it.

After we left the line, we decided to walk up and down the Blvd and I took a couple of pictures.

Here is the very tall toboggan slide. The one that you couldn't get me to go up if Joe Namath was calling for me to slide down with him.

Temporary home of the NFL Network during the festivities.

That is pretty much all the pictures I took of the Blvd as my hands were numb from just taking those pictures. I will be back tomorrow, so I will get some more pictures of the Blvd and post them then.

While walking back up, we noticed a line outside a Duane Reede and asked what it was for. We were told Justin Tuck was doing a signing inside, so we got on the line. We were pretty far back, but the line was moving pretty quickly. A half an hour later, we were inside.

Justin was only signing photographs that were provided by the store.

The photo is not bad. Just seems like it's a very good printed picture rather than an 8x10.  But, it's a free autograph, so I'll take it.

After, we went up to Macy's for the main event of the day (at least for me), Wayne Chrebet. He's my all time favorite Jet, so there was no way I was missing out on him. I was originally going to have him sign his page in my Jets book, but opted to stop at Modell's and use my 20.00 credit on a Jets mini helmet. Unfortunately, Jets mini helmets have been hard to find this particular week, so I grabbed a football instead.

We got to Macy's a couple of hours early, but there was a line starting to form already, so we jumped on the back. I had my tablet, so I helped myself to Macy's free wi-fi and killed some time looking at Facebook and other sites while chatting with my friend.

When Chrebet showed up, the woman who introduced him to the crowd accidentally introduced him as a former member of the New York Giants which got a hearty Bronx cheer from most of the crowd until she corrected herself. When Chrebet got up to the table he posed for pictures and then started signing.

When I got to meet Chrebet, I told him how big a fan I was and about my Chrebet card collection. He seemed genuinely happy to hear about it and thanked me for being such a big fan. As he signed my ball he noticed my Yankees sweatshirt and commented that he knew I was a smart guy. He shook my hand and off I went with my new prize.

I really like how nice the ball came out with the silver Deco paint pen he used. I need to get me a few of them in different colors.

Macy's and NFL Auctions were auctioning off this really sweet full sized Jets helmet signed by Marty Lyons, Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko and Abdul Salaam, otherwise known as the New York Sack Exchange. I really wish I could afford to bid on it. Owning a New York Sack Exchange signed item is on my "Must Have" list.

After, we decided to end the day by hitting Modell's for the Maurice Jones-Drew signing. When we got there, there was a line outside and we got to the back of it and waited. The line started to move in no time and we were inside. This time, I decided to take the picture the store provided instead of buying anything. We were allowed to take pictures, but since my battery was running low, I decided not to take any.

When I met Jones-Drew, I told him how I enjoyed watching him play and then told him I hope he signs with the Jets this off season. He appreciated it the remark, signed my photo and off I went.

When the day ended, I was out hunting autographs for a total of 9 hours. I was tired, my feet hurt and I was hungry. But I was thrilled at the autographs I was able to add to my collection. 1 possible Hall Of Fame Player, A former Super Bowl winner, a really good running back and my all time favorite player. Not a bad way to get back into the autograph hunting game.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Joltin Joe Dimaggio

Normally, I don't buy bobbleheads from other teams. Yes, I have been to a few Mets games solely for the purpose of attending their bobblehead giveaways, but for the most part I stick with Yankee bobbleheads. I would like to one day start a bobblehead collection of players who are in the Hall Of Fame, but that's for when I have the room and most importantly, the money.

However, there was one bobblehead that was given out by a team not located in NY (well, they were at one time) that I really wanted and thanks to a fellow member at the, I was able to land this awesome piece.

Back on August 28th, 2010, the San Francisco Giants gave out a Joe Dimaggio boblehead. Now, I know you guys are probably thinking, why would the Giants give out a Joe Dimaggio bobblehead when he never played with the Giants. Well, you are right that he never put on a Giants uniform, New York or San Francisco, but he was a native of San Francisco and the uniform that he is wearing on the bobblehead is that of the San Francisco Seals, a team in the now defunct Pacific Coast League. Dimaggio played with them from 1932 to 1935 until he was acquired by the Yankees for $50,000.00 and 5 players. Dimaggio once hit in 61 consecutive games for the Seals in 1933. It was a great decision by the Giants to give out a Joe Dimaggio/San Francisco Seals bobblehead as it celebrates a San Francisco icon and the city's baseball past.

The front and back of the box looked exactly the same. A picture of the bobblehead with the Giants logo next to it.

Also, both of the side panels had the web address for Joe Dimaggio's official site, the sponsor and the Giants secondary logo.

Out of the box, I can tell you this bobblehead looks brilliant. The bobblehead has him wearing the 1933 Seals home whites with pinstripes. He is captured in his classic follow through as well as his classic over bite.

As you turn the bobblehead so that it's facing forward, you can see that he is smiling as if he knows that no one is going to get the ball he just hit. Also notice that the paint job on the sleeve trim isn't the greatest, but it shouldn't be a deal breaker. The uniform looks exactly how it did from pictures I've seen of it. I always thought there was a logo on the cap, but upon further review I've learned that there wasn't in 1933.

The back of the bobblehead shows Joe wore number 10 with the Seals. As we know, Joe wore 9 when he broke in as a Yankee, then switched to his now famous 5 the next season. Knowing he wore another number with the Seals is very interesting to me as I always thought he wore 9 or 5 with them. I also love the baggy bottoms the players wore back in the day.

The base looks likei t's made of wood and has gold lettering on it stating that you indeed have a Joe Dimaggio of the San Francisco Seals bobblehead.

On the top of the base, right by Dimaggio's feet is the Comcast logo. No, the base isn't dusty or anything. It just looks that way.

I think this is a real fun bobblehead to own. It's a different Dimaggio piece to add to the Yankees collection. I don't own the Columbus Clippers Joe Dimaggio bobblehead they gave out several years back, so this is my first Dimaggio bobblehead. I'm tempted to hunt down the variant, which has the Italian flag painted on, which I think was given out during a Giants Italian Heritage Night. I'm just thrilled that I was able to add this one to my bobblehead collection and will have a permanent spot on my Yankees shelf.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Time To Go Old School

As a bobblehead collector, I am always looking for items to add to my collection that will make it stand out. Due to my current financial situation, I cannot get some of the older bobbleheads I'd like to add, but every now and then I came across something that just makes me want to have it.

Not too long ago, I came across a bobblehead on that I had never seen before. Forever came out with bobbleheads of various teams in their classic treads. Now, as a Yankees fan, I know our uniforms have pretty much stayed the same since 1936 when the classic combination of pinstripes and interlocking NY came together for good. So, whatever classic uniform Forever used would have to come before then or not use any at all.

That's why I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only did Forever come out with a Yankees bobblehead in classic duds, but, technically, it isn't a Yankees bobblehead.

Forever released a bobblehead of a generic player in a 1904 New York Highlanders road uniform. To my knowledge, it's the first time a Highlanders bobblehead has been released. As you can see from the our model, Highlanders pitcher Jack Chesboro, the uniform is very different from the ones the Yankees would ultimately wear. There's no road greys, no navy blue lettering or even numbers. Back in 1904, the Highlanders sported a blue collared shirt (yes, I did say collared) with buttons that ran halfway down and the sleeves were half sleeves.

 In 1904, the Highlanders were in their second of existence were managed by Clark Griffith, who would go on to manage, then own the Washington Senators until his death in 1955. That year, the team featured players like Wee Willie Keller, who hit .343, Jack Powell, who went 23-19 with a 2.44 ERA and struck out 22 batters and Jack Chesboro who went an amazing 41-12 with a 1.82 ERA and struck out 239 batters. Chesboro's 41 records is still an American League record for wins in a single season by a starting pitcher. The Highlanders were in the pennant race all season, but lost the race on the final game of the season when Chesboro threw a wild pitch allowing the winning run to score and giving the pennant to the Boston Americans, who would later go on to become the Red Sox. The Highlanders would finish in second with a record of 92-59.

Enough of the history lesson. Let's check out the bobblehead.

When I got the package from, the bobblehead came in a package that had a clear front with Retro Bobble on the front and a baseball and bat in the background.

On either side of the package is a clear window showing the side of the bobblehead.

The back of the package just gave you information on Forever and MLB trademark rights.

Here's the bobblehead out of the package. As you can see, it's in the dark blue Highlander colors. The lettering, belt and socks are not white, but a sepia color to give it an old style look to the bobblehead. The bobblehead is made of a hard plastic that almost has a rubbery feel to it. I bought a Mr. Met bobblehead at Citi Field a couple of seasons ago and that bobblehead felt exactly the same. At the time, I was expecting the bobblehead to be made of plaster but I knew what to expect this time around. I'm still not 100% sure if I like that.

The back of the bobble has no numbers as no team had them back then. The Yankees wouldn't have numbers on the back of their uniforms until 1929 and were the first team in the majors to have them. The paint job on the back here is pretty good, except for the back of the base where it looks it was painted over the base lines. That doesn't matter much to me because I don't display the back, just the front.

Overall, I do really like this bobbehead. The hard plastic is growing on me although I would rather it be made of plaster like most bobbleheads are. Making a Highlander bobblehead is a great idea, one I'm surprised the Yankees haven't done as a SGA yet. I hope to see a bobblehead in a 1927 uniform at some point as well as a 1912 uni. But I am thrilled that I am able to add this bobblehead decked out in the 1904 Highlanders road uniform to my Yankees collection and hope to add more this upcoming season.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Goals For 2014

Yes, I know it's been a while since I've blogged here in. So long that it feels like there's cobwebs in here.

OK, now that we got that bad joke out of the way, we can move on.

Just because I have not posted a blog here in the Sports Room in a few months, doesn't mean I haven't been picking up new additions. I just haven't shown them off. But I promise that I will.

I spent a lot of time working on the sister blog, The Sexy Geek's House Of Swag that the Sports Room got a little neglected. And if truth be told, I kind of lost interest in sports collecting for a bit. But I got bitten once again by that bug (probably when I was cleaning up the cobwebs here) and the passion is brewing once again. I don't think I fully lost it. I just think I concentrated on one aspect of my collection and put another away for a bit.

Since we are in mid January, I thought I would share my collecting goals for the new year. Things I want to add to my collection, stuff I'd like to pursue and what I would like to concentrate on in 2014.

1-Re-start sending TTM requests

Much like the collecting, I had put aside sending out requests for autographs through the mail. To be honest, I actually got tired of writing letters and looking for something to send out. Then I started watching successes on YouTube and I joined a few autograph forums on Facebook and all that lit the fire in me to try and add more autographs of former and current players. I do have a few ideas on how to make things easier on me when sending out requests, but I am always open to suggestions.

2-Add Some Yankees Vintage Cards

It's not to say I don't have a few cards from the 50's and 60's, but that's the problem. I only have a few. I would absolutely love to have complete Yankees team sets from those decades, but as you all know, that could get very expensive. When those teams had players like Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Roger Maris, Phil Rizzuto, Elston Howard and Billy Martin, your talking cards that can cost a pretty penny. But, where there's a will, there's a way. If I look hard enough, I'm sure I can find some vintage at some decent prices.

3-Pick Up Some Vintage Yankees Pieces

By this I don't mean just cards. I also collect anything that is Yankees related so there are some pieces that I would love to add to my collection.

This is a game that was put out for the 1964 and 1965 seasons by Hasbro. It came with a game board, score board, strategy and results card and 50 picture playing cards (25 Yankees and 25 All Stars) as well as a pair of dice. Die rolls indexed on each batter card determines the result of the "pitch". Seems kind of like Stat-O-Matic. According to, the game can go for anywhere from $350.00- $1,200.00 for the '64 version to $450-$1,500.00 which means I won't be adding this game to my collection anytime soon.

Here's a Yankee Stadium model kit from the 1960's. I have never seen this before, which probably means it's uber expensive as well.

I can go on and on about vintage Yankees memorabilia I would love to add, but I will save that for another blog post.

4-More Jets

Although the focus of my collection is the Yankees, I do have a collection for my other favorite teams. The New York Jets are my 2nd favorite team and to be honest, they're almost my 1-A team. I also have a pretty decent sized Jets card collection, although nowhere near the amount of Yankees I own. I also have bobbleheads, autographs, figures and other trinkets that I cherish. For my Jets collection, I would like to:
                              A-Work on my team sets. I have some complete sets, but nowhere near what I'd like to                                    have.
                              B-Pick up some McFarlane's I'm missing like Thomas Jones, Curtis Martin, Kevin                                           Mawae, Shonne Greene and yes, even Tim Tebow. (shudders). Plus I need to re-buy                                   the Wayne Chrebet figure.
                              C-Add some cool vintage pieces. The Joe Namath Mego figure is a holy grail of mine.


Last, but definitely not least, is to organize my collection. I have my cards in boxes when they should be in either binders or organized in long boxes. I have so many shoe boxes that you would think I lived in Payless. But there's not a shoe to be found, but cards and lots of them. It's high time I get off my booty and get my collection organized so I can catalog it and put it up on shelves. I would also love to either have shelves built or get myself some curio cabinets for my bobbleheads, figures, autographed baseballs, mini helmets, basketballs and hockey pucks. I have all these in Rubbermaid boxes or cardboard boxes and it's time they see the light of day. I will probably wait on the displays until I make my big move, but the cards should be organized and cataloged. I'm tired of going to card shows and re-buying what I already have.

Obviously, there are other things I will do this year, like add to my bobblehead, Wayne Chrebet, Patrick Ewing, Mike Bossy, Mark Teixeira and Tino Martinez collections. I would also like to blog more often, like in at least a couple times a week.

If I can accomplish all this in the span of one year, then I would probably feel like I can conquer the world. Or at the very least the block that I live on. I used to be very goal oriented but somewhere along the way I got sidetracked and all I now have a ton of things I need to handle. So, it's time to roll up my sleeves and get my helmet on. 2014 will be the year that I handle my goals so that way I can come up with new goals for 2015.