Thursday, April 24, 2014

There Are Just Somethings You Just Don't Do...

Sometimes I just don't get us as humans. We say stupid things, we don't care about each other as a whole and we act like we are better than everyone else. Why? I understand that if we don't look out for ourselves, who will but there has to come a point when we need to step back and think about what we are doing.

Case in point. During last night Yankees/Red Sox game (and I don't mean the Michael Pineda incident. I have been hearing about it all day), Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox flipped a ball toward a young man in the stands. Check out what happens.

Really? Really? Dude, you couldn't let the kid have the ball? That gesture would have meant the world to the boy and your selfishness ruined the experience for him. Oh, you wanted a baseball that you could have gotten at a sporting goods store for 15.00? Well, why didn't you say so? That makes all the difference then.

And this isn't the first time I have seen such lousy behavior from adults at a baseball game either. Check out the behavior of these fine upstanding citizens:

It's things like this that make me pray that they trip over the steps on the way out of the stadium.

 I don't understand it. You have to know that there is a young kid right next to you that the ball was obviously tossed to. I understand that you might have lost your manners in the thrill of seeing that baseball come toward you, but if you see a sad kid next to you, just be a sport and make the kid happy. There is nothing special about a foul ball or a ball that was tossed in the stands by a coach, bat boy, the 3rd short stop or umpire.

In the video from last night's ball game, you clearly see the guy who stole that baseball look in the kids direction after he caught the ball, so you have to figure he knew what he did. The couple in Texas that claim they knew nothing, I'm not buying it. The kid is crying right next to them. And that dude in Florida ran away as soon as he caught the ball.

I'm not going to sit here and say I never got in a shoving match for a ball. But that's with adults who tried to push me out of the way when a ball came near me. Your competitive juices start to flow and it's on like Donkey Kong and I usually win those shoving matches.

However, I always look around to see if there was a kid in the scrum. I would much rather hand off the ball to a kid that tried to get the ball than keep it myself. I know when I was at a young age, catching a ball meant everything to me. It never happened, but if I could make a child's visit to a baseball park memorable and all it took was to give up the baseball, then I'm all for it. I've done it before and will always do it. It's just the right thing to do. Especially if you caught multiple balls. Keeping one is fine, but do you really need 3 or 4? Make believe you're the Santa Claus of baseball and start handing baseballs off.

But, for every overbearing adult I see that tries to get a ball, I see things like this that make me reaffirm my belief in mankind.

Too bad some adults just don't have the manners that Ian obviously has.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The First Rule Of Fight Club Is You Have To Go To A Car Show To Meet A Knick!

The New York Auto show is in full swing. The event is held at the Jacobs Javitz Convention Center every year and thousands of car enthusiasts visit the show each year to check out the new cars that will be released in the upcoming season and do other car related things. Being that I am not a car guy I have never been to the show. I don't own a car nor have I ever in my life. I have never worked on a car or even cleaned one. I do have a drivers license and can pump my own gas, so I at least have that going for me.

But I did attend the show today. Why, you may ask? None of your business!

OK, I'm just playing with you guys. Walt Frazier of the New York Knicks was appearing at the show today. He of 2 NBA Championship teams. He of the 50 greatest NBA Players of all time. He of awesome fashion and even better grammar was signing autographs from 1-3 at the State Farm booth and I was going to be there. Frazier has been on my want list for a while, so I made sure I was going to be there.

Thanks to New York Transit, I arrived at the convention center a little later than I expected to. For those who do not live in New York City, riding the subways on a weekend is one of the absolute worst things. There is always construction somewhere and it causes delays. So, it took me over an hour to get to my destination today. Thanks MTA.

After having my bag checked at the door and paying my $15.00 ticket for a show I had absolutely no interest in checking out, I made my way to the State Farms booth, which was on the same floor as the entrance, lucky for me. When I got on the line a little after noon, I was pretty close to the front of the line.

The front of the line was just a wrap around the ropes for me. Comfortable with this knowledge, I put my bag down and pulled out a book to read. I am currently re-reading the Last Night Of The Yankees Dynasty. It was a good read the first time I read the book and it is even better the second time around. I highly recommend it if you have not read it yet.

As it was getting nearer to showtime, I noticed the workers pulling out a couple of boxes of photos for Walt to sign. They were nice, except for the State Farm logo on the bottom of them. I had bought a mini basketball and my New York Knicks 50th Anniversary book that I am getting signatures inside. I was hoping to get "Clyde" to sign either one, but when I saw the pictures my heart sank. On one hand, I was thankful I was finally meeting arguably the 2nd greatest Knick after Ewing, but I really wanted Frazier to sign my items. Thankfully, it was announced that Walt would indeed sign what you had, but it was one per person, which I was fine with.

Around 12:55, I looked behind me and was shocked to see the line behind me.

Quite the turn out. I shouldn't be surprised. The man is a Knicks legend and is still very popular with Knicks fans thanks to his contributions to Knicks broadcasts on MSG as a broadcaster. He even opened a restaurant in New York City called Clyde Frazier's Wine And Dine. I've been there before and it's a very nice spot.

Right at 1 PM on the button, Frazier shows up. Check out his jacket. What did I say about his sense of fashion? Pretty sweet.

I was actully expecting him to be a bit late. As of late, whenever I show up for a signing the athletes are usually late. Although Hideki Matsui was on time, I figured it was a fluke and Walt would be a bit late. Nope. He was right on time and got right to work upon sitting down.

The line moved rather smoothly. Walt was interacting with the fans, smiling, posing for pictures and being the man I had heard he was. A very humble and gracious person. When it came to my turn, I decided I was going to take a picture with Walt, even though I rarely take pictures with the athletes. I was not passing that opportunity up.

Before I got up there, I decided to have the mini basketball I bought signed. While he was signing, I told him what it honor it was to meet him and I loved his restaurant, which he told me he was going to after the signing. I probably should have gone to get him to sign my book. Once I left, I took a look at the ball and wasn't thrilled with it.

The signature is not as bold as I would have liked it to be because he used a blasted Sharpie marker. Not Walt's fault. That's all he had up at the table. The day prior, I was looking for Deco paint pens and most places I tried didn't have them. I went to the one place I didn't go to yesterday after I left the show and found a few. I guess I should have gone to the store yesterday after all. Maybe if I had, I would have had a better signature on my ball. Lesson learned. 

After seeing how this ball turned out, I seriously thought about giving up getting signatures on balls. My other efforts, the Bernard King, Larry Johnson, Charles Oakley, Amar'e Stoudmire all came out disastrous. I'm going to try one more time, this time with a Deco. My Carmelo Anthony ball looks great and that's because he used a Deco. Same as Wayne Chrebet on a football. Those give me some hope.If not, it will be photos from here on.

Despite the signature, the day was a pretty cool day. I got to meet one of my all time favorite Knicks and even if the signature isn't the boldest, it will still look good on display when I get one up. A day like today, I'll take it every time. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Yankee Autograph Goals. Always Changing For Me

I had taken a bit of a hiatus from chasing autographs for my Yankees collection. I was OK with getting the players I need on certified cards, and actually, I still am. But after the thrill of getting Hideki Matsui on Saturday and looking at my Yankees autographed baseball collection, I decided to list a few players I really want on baseballs.

My Yankees autograph collection currently stands at 42. My ultimate goal is to have 100 signed Yankees baseballs by the end of the year. I'm close to 50, so that is my immediate goal. Get to 50. I try not to get just any player on baseballs either. Baseballs are pretty expensive, so I try to get the better players on balls, although I do have a few players that may not qualify as such.

To get to my goals, I've compiled a list of Yankees (both former and current) that I would like to pick up signed baseballs of, either in person, through the mail or even trade or purchase. Some of the players on my list might be close to impossible, but that is not going to stop me from at least trying.

Derek Jeter

Of course, I am going to start the list off with the most difficult and expensive autograph to obtain. Jeter has been very tough for me because I have never, ever seen him sign anywhere. By that, I mean when I'm around. I never seen him sign at Yankee Stadium or any time I've seen the Yankees play in Seattle when I go there to watch the Yankees. I've heard stories about how he has turned people down in public and how he will have people line up when he leaves George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa and sign maybe ten autographs.

Depending on the item, Steiner Sports has Jeter signed baseballs, starting at a ridiculous $645.99. eBay has Jeter signed balls for around the $300.00 and up mark, but you're taking a risk there as you don't know who is selling legitimate autographs.

Getting a Jeter is going to be almost Mission: Impossible. Que the music.

Paul O'Neill

I've always been a huge fan of the "Warrior". He's in my top 3 of all time favorite Yankees. I'm considering starting a player collection of him. He's great as a broadcaster for the Yankees on the YES Network. I want to add a signed O'Neill baseball to my collection.

I know O'Neill is a willing signer. Just trying to find him is the hard part. The New Yankee Stadium is difficult to get autographs as the players don't have to leave the Stadium to get to the parking lot and drive away. I'm not sure if it's that way for broadcasters, but with someone with Paul O'Neill's stature, I'm sure he has a spot there.

I've seen through the mail successes for O'Neill, but I struck out when he never returned my baseball. I'll try again, sending a photo and a baseball card instead. I'm hoping he makes a free appearance somewhere.

Mariano Rivera

Another all time great Yankee who I need in my collection. Rivera is a willing signer, just at the right places. If you watched Being Mariano, you will know what I mean.

Rivera is another player who was signing through the mail, yet he never returned not one baseball, but 2 baseballs I've sent in the last 5 years in care of Yankee Stadium. Just because of the type of person he is, I am still kind of holding out hope that I will eventually get them back. Maybe they got mixed up in all the mail he got and is still going through them, sending back the requests, I tell myself. I also tell myself that the Easter Bunny has a gold chocolate bunny for me.

I do think I will eventually get to add Mo to the collection. He has been doing signings recently. He did a free signing during the winter that I didn't go to because I would have had to stand out in 15 degree weather, but I am now regretting I didn't go, even though almost 1,000 people showed up for it. He also did a signing at the last card show I went to. Steiner Sports was sponsoring it, hence the $299.00 price tag for his autograph. He's making appearances. My time will come.

Andy Pettitte

Getting an Andy Pettitte autograph in my Yankees signed ball collection is a must. Pettitte is another who is going to be difficult as he rarely makes appearances and really doesn't sign at the Stadium when he does show up. At least, not that I have seen.

Pettitte is another who was signing off and on through the mail in care of Yankee Stadium and is another Yankee I sent baseballs to at different times and struck out on. I really have to stop sending baseballs to players in care of Yankee Stadium. I almost always lose them.

Pettitte may be one I have to either trade for or purchase as I don't see him making appearances and if he does, he may be pricey. I'm always looking for the best prices on stuff, so I more than likely wouldn't go that route. I do hope I can add Pettitte eventually.

Jorge Posada

May even be more difficult to get to sign than Derek Jeter. I've heard horror stories about asking Posada to sign, even hearing him turning down children. I try not to listen to stories like that. Unless I see it for myself, then you take these stories with a grain of salt.

Posada has been showing up at Yankee Stadium events lately, so I'm holding out hope that he may eventually do a signing somewhere. I'm sure he will also be an expensive autograph, but as the catcher for multiple World Series winning teams and he may even be a borderline Hall Of Fame Candidate, I may actually go against my beliefs and pluck down the cash for him.

Rich Gossage

Goose has always been a friend to the autograph community. I have sent cards and an ice cream mini helmet to him in the past and he always returned the items with his signature on them. For some reason, I have never sent a baseball. I can't explain why I haven't, but I need to rectify that. He is also a great signer in person as I have gotten him on an 8x10 at a free signing and was very friendly.

I had heard a rumor that the through the mail signings were going to come to an end, but the last time I checked, he was still signing as long as you sent a donation to BAT. If Goose signs a ball for me at 20.00, I will gladly send the donation to him. It's a great cause and I will get the autograph that I need for my collection.

Phil Niekro

Although Niekro's time with the Yankees was short, he's a Hall Of Famer who won his 300th game as a Yankee so I want him in the collection.

He is another willing signer through the mail. He charges 20.00 to sign a baseball, so I will be sending one and the donation out to him soon. I want to get him before he stops signing.

Dave Winfield

Winfield was one of my favorite Yankees growing up. The guy was an RBI Machine and one of the very best outfielders I have ever seen play. He could rob home runs from you or throw you out from the warning track at home plate. I have to add Winfield to my Yankees signed baseball collection.

Winfield doesn't do autograph signings, at least none that I have seen here in the NY area. I had seen him sign through the mail in care of the Baseball Hall Of Fame, but I don't think I have seen a success in a while. He was another that required a donation to sign. At a very affordable $10.00, he is certainly worth it. If he is still singing, I will get a ball out to him soon.

Joe Torre

Getting the autograph of the manager of the Yankees most recent dynasty is very important to me. Torre might be another difficult signature to get, but he works for MLB and is around a lot, so I feel confident that I can add his autograph at some point.

Torre was signing his mail only once during his time with the Yankees. Unfortunately for me, I missed the window and when I was getting a ball out to him, I found out he wasn't signing so I never got the baseball out to him.

I haven't seen him do any appearances and I don't think he's going to anytime soon. I think my best bet is to get him at Yankee Stadium, only problem is that would have to be a chance meeting as I never know when he is there.

Tino Martinez

My favorite Yankee of all time has eluded me constantly. When he makes appearances, I usually can't go. The one time I had a shot at him was when I was in Los Angeles last season and he was the Marlins hitting coach. I waited outside Dodger Stadium for 45 minutes, but left because I didn't want my girlfriend waiting much longer. She was a great sport about it and I didn't want to press my luck. Turns out I should have waited because she wanted to see me get the autograph and he came out and signed 10 minutes after I left. Grrrr!

I know eventually I will get his autograph on a baseball. He does appearances here and I will be all over the next one. I don't care what I have to do. I will get this monkey off my back and add Tino's autograph to my Yankees collection.

There are other players I'd love to add. Rickey Henderson, Dave Righetti, Robinson Cano are just a few of the players I would love to get signed baseballs of. The players I mentioned above are just the ones I really want. I do know that like many things in life, if you are patient, then it will happen. I have my goal, now it's up to me to successfully complete it.

Go Yankees!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another Former Yankee Is Added To The Sports Room

To be honest, I wasn't planning on writing this blog post tonight. I was going to save it for tomorrow because I am beat. I mean beat like a drum. I am so tired that nothing will wake me up tonight. Why am I so tired you ask? Well, read on and you shall find out.

Today, I attended the Staten Island Yankees ticket sale day. As much as I enjoy going to Staten Island Yankees games, and I try to attend at least 3 games a year, I wasn't planning on picking up tickets the day the tickets went on sale. I used to have a mini plan, then I just decided to g to the games I wanted to attend, which was cheaper in the long run for me. But really, why was I at today's ticket event if I wasn't planning on purchasing tickets until later?

If you said to meet Hideki Matsui, you win a pack of Pocki.

But, admit it, you guessed it when you saw the picture, right?

Yes, When I heard for the price of a 9.00 ticket, I could meet the MVP of the 2009 World Series, I knew I was going to be there. My friend said we had to be there early because it was probably going to be a mad house. It made sense to me. Matsui has not made any apperances to my knowledge and his autograph is one of the harder ones to get, so naturally, I expected a lot of people showing up meet him. So, we agreed to be at Richmond County Ballpark by 7 AM.

Which meant I was getting up at 4:30. And that I did. Ugh.

This is what I saw at 5 AM Saturday morning. At this point, I am thinking that I am out of my mind. I only had 3 and a half hours of sleep the night before. I was without coffee. I was the Walking Dead at this point.

The 4 train was going local and I was afraid I was going to be late because of it, but luckily, I made it to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal with about 15 minutes to spare. I met up with my friend and we boarded the ferry to make the boat ride to Staten Island.

When we got to the Ballpark, there was only about 10 people in line. most were friends of my friend, so for the next couple of hours, I hung out with them and we talked autographing. Which players they scored, who was a jerk about signing, so on and so forth. Little by little, people started showing up, but not the crowd I was expecting.

here's the line at about 8 AM. The line had about 50 people at this point. Final tally, I heard, was 125 people. Not nearly as many as I was led to believe. I probably could have slept an extra hour.

And there's the front of the line. In actuality, I'm fine with getting there uber early. When the ticket windows opened at 9 AM, I got my ticket for June 28th, Yankees vs The Cyclones, and walked into the ballpark and got on the second line that led into the team store where Matsui would be signing.

Once we were inside, we were entertained by the team mascot, Scooter, The Holy Cow who was getting his freak on, delighting the children with his antics, but also scaring the old ladies who came out for the signing.

Once inside, the line moved pretty quick and before you know it, we were meeting Hideki Matsui. He was very kind, but quiet. He really didn't say too much. I do understand that his English isn't great, but he seemed like he understood what we were saying as he would sign inscriptions as instructed and would say thank you at the end of conversation.

I asked him for a 2009 World Series MVP inscription. I made the mistake of holding my pen and he thought I wanted him to sign with that pen and signed my ball in black ink, which I didn't want. But, it was my mistake for not paying attention, so I can live with the black ink autograph. I thanked him and went on my way.

Once we left the team store, My friend and I looked at the line and decided we could actually buy another ticket and go back on line for another autograph before he stopped signing at 12:00. When we got back in line, it was only 10:30 AM.

So, this time, I bought a ticket for August 30th Against the Vermont Lake Monsters, bought a baseball at the team store and got back on line. The line seemed to be moving faster than before and before you could say "It's a Thrilla, By Godzilla", we were back in front of Matsui. This time, I made sure my pen was in my bag and I asked for a Godzilla inscription, which he obliged in blue ink. I shook his hand, thanked him for the years of service to the Yankees and was on my merry way.

So, as I finish this blog, at 12:41 on a Sunday morning, you can now understand why I am seeing vapor trails right about now. But, as tired as I am, I have these that will make me dream easier tonight. Number 42 for the Yankee Signed Baseball PC.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lets Make A Deal, Hockey Edition

With apologies to the great Monty Hall, Let's Make A Deal! I'm not talking about what's behind door number 1, 2, or 3. I'm not talking about trading in what you have already won for what's inside the mystery box either. I'm talking trades!

I haven't made a trade in a while and I am itching to make a few deals. I have to get a package out to Fuji this week and I would like to add a few more packages to mail as well. I am hoping that I can add some new cards to my collections and I hope I have something you want to trade for.

I am going to post pictures of the cards I have to trade. I am looking for Yankees, Jets, Knicks, Islanders, Mark Teixeira, Tino Martinez, Mike Bossy, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Ewing, David Lee and Wayne Chrebet cards. I would also ask that you mail your end first because I have been cheated a couple of times and don't want that to happen again.

Now, the cards I have aren't exactly high end. I would think this would be a trade for team collectors and player collectors. But, I think I have a couple of things that someone might want.

So, without further ado, here are the cards I have to trade, Hockey first:

Roberto Luongo BAP Signature Portraits signed 8x10

2006-07 BAP Alex Tanguay Autograph

2003 Calder Hockey Tomas Vokoun GU Jersey

2006-07 BAP Todd White Autograph

2005-06 BAP David Legwand Autograph

2002 Titanium Erik Cole GU Jersey

2007-08 BAP Tim Taylor Autograph

2002 Titanium JP Dumont GU jersey

2004 Prism Chris Drury GU jersey

2005-06 BAP Daymond Langkow Autograph

2004 Invincible Fred Brathwaite GU jersey

2006-07 BAP Robert Esche Autograph

2006-07 BAP Mike Sillinger/Trent Hunter Dual Autograph

1998-99 BAP Dave Andreychuk Autograph

2007-08 Fleer Hot Prospects Jordan Leopold GU Jersey

2009-10 SPx Erick Karlsson GU Jersey/Autograph- Minor flaw with this one. there is a small ding on the top right corner. It was there when I pulled it out of the box.

2007-08 Upper Deck Ice Peter Forsberg Dual GU Jersey

2006-07 Flair Showcase Zdeno Chara GU Jersey

2010-11 Artifacts Evander Kane Dual GU Jersey

2008-09 BAP Tyler Ennis GU Jersey

2009-10 BAP Jerome Iginla Autograph

2002 Titanium Brett Hull GU Jersey

2010-11 SPx Hendrik Karlsson GU Jersey/Autograph

2007-08 BAP Kris Russell Autograph- I have two of these.

2011-12 Pinnacle Steve Mason City Lights GU Jersey

2008-09 SP Game Used Justin Williams Dual GU Jersey

2008-09 SP Game Used Dion Phaneuf GU Jersey

2006-07 BAP Robert Esche Autograph

I also have a 2003-04 Private Stock Reserve Martin Biron GU Jersey and a 2010-11 Decades 1980's Al MacInnis Autograph that I haven't had a chance to scan as of yet.

If you are interested in any of these cards, please let me know by commenting below with your email address, Google plus account or Facebook and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.