Monday, December 10, 2018

A slowdown

I haven't mailed as much lately-- just bought a new guitar (Gretsch G5420T, black with gold hardware) and finally got my band's album released. Check it out, please! I'm the drummer on these, but the guitarist now.




Anyways, now that that's out of the way, I did just buy a bunch of stamps and mailed out three this morning. I likely will write more tonight and tomorrow too. I have a lot of baseball, basketball, and racing that I'm planning on trying.

In the meantime with limited mailing comes limited success, but I did get a few back...

NOVEMBER 24
Wayne Cashman, c/o home, 2/2 with $10, 10 weeks
Al Bumbry, c/o home, 5/4, 4 years, added a signed postcard

NOVEMBER 27
Mike Walker, c/o home, 4/4, 9 months
Dave Righetti, c/o SF Giants, 2/2, 3 months

DECEMBER 6
Ron Tingley, c/o home, 4/4, 9 months
Nenad Zigante, c/o home, 4/2, 3 months (signed the front and back of both cards)

I did some IP soccer a few months back as well-- that's available over on the Pacific blog.

So far, I've sent to Jimmy Britton to finish my 1972 Braves Rookies card (last one I need for it; it's been out a month but per SCN he has taken anywhere from a week to 8 months to answer), plus Chris Davis for his 2013 Archives card, and Rene Lachemann and Dick Schofield Sr. just because I had a few cards of them.  I plan on getting requests out to B.J. Surhoff, Al Worthington, and Chuck Seelbach soon as well.  Seelbach was actually a history teacher at my high school, though I never had him for any classes. I have enough stamps right now to send out about 150 requests. So I can get a little crazy here if I want to and finish the year off right. I might even send a few music requests. 

I also just bought a new computer, the band has some shows, and I'm trying to sort all of my purchases of the past few years (and stuff I pulled and never got signed) into everything, so I have a lot on my plate. Positive note, baseball and basketball are all sorted. I just need to do football and hockey, plus a little tweaking to soccer, nascar, and other sports and non-sports.

Even if I use them all, I will have sent fewer this year than either of the last two years (330 in 2016, 357 in 2017; I'm at 175 so far, and could get up to maybe 325). However, releasing an album, buying a guitar, and doing the National trip more than make up for the difference.

Friday, November 2, 2018

End of October update

As expected, I got lazy on any potential IP hockey. Haven't been out since getting Radulov.

TTMs are continuing, though much slower...

OCTOBER 18
Jack Hiatt, c/o home, 3/3, 5 weeks

OCTOBER 23
Don Pavletich, c/o home, 3/3, 6 weeks

The Soccer blog has some posts as well-- check those out if it's your thing. Had a big TTM and some nice IP outings.

It was also announced a few weeks ago that the 2022 National will be in Cleveland again.

I'm here to announce there will be a roadtrip involved again for that show... Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The streak ends... begins... and ends again.

Well, it was good while it lasted.

25 mail delivery days in a row with at least one autograph success-- September 13 through October 12 (30 days total minus four Sundays and Columbus Day).

My follow-up streak ended at one in a row as USPS has nothing on my Informed Delivery today.

September 28
Ray Rippelmeyer, c/o home, 3/2, 1 week, wrote a note back
Lee Thomas, c/o home, 2/2, 1 week

September 29
Jerry McNertney, c/o home, 2/2, 3 weeks

October 1
John Castino, c/o home, 5/5, 3 weeks
Jim Rooker, c/o home, 3/3, 3 weeks
Dave Marshall, c/o home, 3/3, 3 weeks

October 2
Don Sutton, c/o home, 1/1, 1 month, $5

October 3
Lee Richard, c/o home, 3/2, 2 weeks, added signed notecard
Ray Culp, c/o home, 1/1, 1 week

October 4
Tony Oliva, c/o Twins Spring Training, 1/2, 8 months, kept one, but gave good signature
Cookie Rojas, c/o home, 3/4, 3 weeks, sent one back unsigned
Ron Swoboda, c/o home, 2/2, 2 weeks, $5 each
Sparky Lyle, c/o home, 1/1, 2 weeks, $5
Rick Kester, c/o home, 2/1, 1 week, wrote note back

October 4 - Stars Opening Night Green Carpet
Alexander Radulov, 1/1

October 5
Brent Strom, c/o home, 3/3, 2 weeks

October 6
Bobby Floyd, c/o home, 3/3, 2 weeks

October 9
Greg McMichael, c/o home, 4/4, 6 months

October 10
Ron Stone, c/o home, 2/2, 3 weeks
John Odom, c/o home, 2/2, 2 weeks, $5 each

October 11
Ken Tatum, c/o home, 2/2, 1 month

October 12
Darrell Waltrip, c/o home, 3/3, 1 year
Buddy Bradford, c/o home, 1/1, 2 weeks

October 15
Mike Cosgrove, c/o home, 3/3, 1 month
Eddie Fisher, c/o home, 2/2, 1 month

I got Radulov finally, but had to skip my potential outing for the Anahim Ducks this past weekend due to rain. Hoping it all finally lets up by this weekend for the Frisco NASL event.

Friday, September 28, 2018

September recap

Nothing like finishing out the month on a hot streak.  USPS says I have two more coming in today (Lee Thomas and Ray Rippelmeyer, I believe), and the last mail delivery day where I got nothing was September 12.

September 18
Dan McGinn, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week
Frank Reberger, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week
Roger Repoz, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week

September 19
Billy Grabarkewitz, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week

September 20
Beto Dos Santos, c/o home, 5/4, 2 weeks
Bobby Pfeil, c/o home, 2/2, 2 weeks
Dick Woodson, c/o home, 3/3, 2 weeks
Paul Doyle, c/o home, 2/2, 2 weeks
Bill Stoneman, c/o home, 3/3, 2 weeks

September 21
David Wright, c/o Las Vegas 51s, 1/1, 3 weeks
Darcy Fast, c/o home, 1/1, 1 week

September 22
Manny Mota, c/o L.A. Dodgers, 3/3, 2 weeks
John Strohmayer, c/o home, 3/3, 2 weeks
Dick Green, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week
Don Buford, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week

September 24
Jussi Jokinen, c/o home, 1/1, 2 and a half years (11x14 photo)
Brian Lee, c/o home, 1/1, 3 weeks, personalized
JC Martin, c/o home, 3/3, 2 weeks

September 25
Jarrod Parker, c/o home, 1/1, 3 weeks
Bill Voss, c/o home, 2/2, 2 weeks

September 26
Ron Cook, c/o home, 1/1, 1 week

September 27
Gary Nolan, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week
Oscar Brown, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week
RTS: Lee Stange, with note from his wife; I mailed September 19 and he died September 21

After hearing that hockey team hotels are no longer the barren wasteland of impossibility that they once were, I may try a few this season for set needs.  Looking at...

THU. OCTOBER 4: Stars Opening Night Green Carpet (Alexander Radulov)
SAT. OCTOBER 13: Anaheim (Ryan Miller)
TUE. OCTOBER 23: Los Angeles (Dion Phaneuf)
THU. OCTOBER 25: Anaheim (if 10/13 fails)
THU. NOVEMBER 8: San Jose (Doug Wilson)
FRI. DECEMBER 7: San Jose (if 11/8 fails)
FRI. JANUARY 4: Washington (Alexander Ovechk-HAHAHAHA sorry, trying to be serious here)
TUE. JANUARY 15: Tampa Bay (Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan-- finish two sets at once!)
THU. JANUARY 17: Los Angeles (if 10/23 fails)
TUE. MARCH 5: New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist)
FRI. MARCH 15: Vegas (Paul Stastny)
TUE. MARCH 19: Florida (Keith Yandle)
SAT. MARCH 23: Pittsburgh (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin)

We'll see. I haven't done hockey IP on a serious basis since 2005. In the incredibly unlikely event that I can get them all AND my help comes through in Europe and Canada AND I get my TTMs back successfully, I'll have two completed sets (2007-08 and 2008-09 UD Rookie Class), two cards left on the 2005-06 UD Rookie Class set (Pavel Vorobiev and Mike Richards), and three cards left on the 2006-07 UD Rookie Class set (Alexei Kaigorodov, Yan Stastny, and Kelly Guard). Plus 14 left on Archives, 10 left on Topps Total, and 15 left on Fleer Throwbacks. And several of those guys I know I can get for a small fee (Schultz, Esposito, Dionne, and Mahovlich are all about $10 each).

I also have enough stamps to fire off three more requests. Not sure who will get them yet.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Mid-month update

I finally got around to mailing off a bunch in early September once my stamp order came in.  Slowly they're coming back in...

SEPTEMBER 4
Tyler Ervin, c/o Texans, 2/2, 2 years

SEPTEMBER 11
Tom House, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week

SEPTEMBER 13
Jim Gabarra, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week
Cleo James, c/o home, 1/1, 1 week

SEPTEMBER 14
Jim Burt, c/o home, 5/5, 1 week

SEPTEMBER 15
Bill Lee, c/o home, 1/1, 1 week

SEPTEMBER 17
Tim Cullen, c/o home, 3/3, 1 week

USPS say I have another three coming in today. Based on the postmarks and my list of mailings, my guesses are Dan McGinn, Frank Reberger, and Paul Doyle. Let's see how good my guess is...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

End of baseball 'graphing season

Possibly, at least. I have a couple more I might do, but they're unlikely. Palmeiro comes once more, and there's one more Frisco series. If anything, I'm more likely to consider trying an Oklahoma City game or two.

IP August 19 - Lincoln Saltdogs at Texas Airhogs
Dan Johnson - 3/6, 4/6 (7/9 total)

IP August 25 - Midland Rockhounds at Frisco Roughriders
Richie Martin - 1/2, 1/2
Jonah Heim - 4/4
Skye Bolt - 8/8
Tommy Everidge - 6/6
Kyle Finnegan - 1/1
Logan Shore - 2/8
Juremi Profar - 2/2
Josh Morgan - 8/8
Wei-Chieh Huang - 1/1
Taylor Hearn - 1/1

IP August 26 - California vs. Texas States Play
Luis Alicea - 7/7
Andy Stankiewicz - 3/3
Jerry Manuel - 2/2
Darren Oliver - 4/4
Gerald Laird - 4/4
Tom Gordon - 8/8
Homer Bush - 3/3

Friday, August 17, 2018

Quick update before I forget...

I'm actually going to try to stay on top of things. Sort of.

TTM July 31
John Kruk, c/o Phillies, 2/2, 1 year

TTM August 13
Jose Canseco, c/o home, 2/2, 5 months

IP August 15 - Cleburne Railroaders at Texas AirHogs
Rafael Palmeiro, 1/4, 3/3
Angelo Gumbs, 2/2

I have one more Grand Prairie outing and one more Frisco outing all coming up. I just need one autograph in that time to hit 200 for my third straight month, and four more to hit 700 across June-July-August.

We'll be seeing the Lincoln Saltdogs on Sunday in Grand Prairie (Dan Johnson, Shairon Martis, Dan Reichert, Joe Bircher, Curt Smith, and Brandon Jacobs all have cards), and I'll be headed out to Frisco next weekend for the Midland Rockhounds. Both teams' seasons are done on September 3 unless Frisco can overcome a 4.5 game deficit in the final two weeks.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The National: Final

Whew. We had a busy few days after my return (had a good friend stay with us one night, band practice Saturday), I finally had a moment today to photograph almost everything. Not pictured: Set cards, items I got signed for others, and the 100+ hockey sig lot I picked up for Lee Alexander.

FINAL TOTALS

Miles driven: 3,358
States visited: Fourteen
Games attended: Twelve
Autographs obtained, whether in-person, trade, purchased, or pulled from a pack: 574

A gigantic rundown-- and this doesn't include signed photos or the unsigned items I snagged...














Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The National Trip: Days 12 and 13

I'm back in Arlington, having survived the week. Got about half the car unloaded.  I'll probably have a full recap next week.

DAY 12

START TIME: 9:30 am Central
STARTING CITY: Des Moines, IA
STOPPING POINT: Kansas City, MO and Wichita, KS
STATES VISITED: Iowa, Missouri, Kansas
MILES DRIVEN TODAY: 400
MILES DRIVEN TOTAL: 2,932

Fortunately this game was much more calm than the previous. Not much to talk about, so we'll roll through it fast.

Arron and I got in a little before 11 and caught the 51s doing a bullpen session. Ian Krol signed 2/2, PJ Conlon 1/6, and Buddy Baumann 4/4.

At the other side, we got hitting coach Joel Chimelis coming in, signing 2/2, and Peter Alonso who signed the lone card I had left on him.

For Iowa, Chris Valaika signed 3/4, starting pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng signed 1/1, and Trevor Clifton signed 3/3.  I only missed Taylor Davis on the trio of Rookie Stars from the 2018 Topps Heritage set-- I might be able to get him in Iowa at some point. Ironically, I had heard he was the easiest to get of the three!  Also got to meet up with Josh Middleton of some of the Facebook autograph groups.

Food was excellent as well-- we went to Zombie Burger in downtown Des Moines, and hit Gates BBQ in Independence, where I was able to finish off a trade I made with Brian Reser for some soccer and baseball autos, plus some old IHL and CHL media guides.

RUNNING TOTAL: 343 autographs

* * * * * * * * * *

DAY 13

START TIME: 10 am Central
STARTING CITY: Wichita, KS
STOPPING POINT: Wichita Falls and Arlington, TX
STATES VISITED: Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas
MILES DRIVEN TODAY: 426
MILES DRIVEN TOTAL: 3,358

We drove. That's all I got.

I'll have more next week, like I said. Give me a day or five to relax and get everything sorted and organized.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The National Trip: Day 11

DAY 11

START TIME: 10 am Central
STARTING CITY: Cedar Rapids, IA
STOPPING POINT: Des Moines, IA
STATES VISITED: Iowa
MILES DRIVEN TODAY: 128
MILES DRIVEN TOTAL: 2,532

Sometimes I seriously hate people. Especially those with a New York Inferiority Complex™. But we'll get to that in a moment.

The day started out just fine. Or at least comparatively well compared to later. I was hoping to see the first house I ever lived in, but it was about a 30 minute drive to get there, then probably another 20 back to the ballpark, so we skipped that. We got to the stadium in Cedar Rapids, met up with Larry from the Facebook groups... and it starts raining. Just soft enough that it wouldn't cancel the game, just hard enough to make it hell on us graphing. Down next to the Beloit dugout, I was at least able to get Nick Allen and Webster Garrison each on 1/1.  After his pitcher warmed up, Don Schulze came over and signed 8/8.  Up on the concourse, the Kernels had a couple of players signing, so I got Randy Dobnak and Andrew Bechtold each on a card, along with Tyler Watson who was charting.

Funny thing about Watson, we went and asked him to sign just before the national anthem, and he said he'd sign after. I thought he meant after the game, so we sat back down. Turns out he just meant after the anthem, and actually walked over to our section and signed. I've never seen that before.

By the end of the game, the rain had cleared off so we went out to the bus out back and hoped for the best.  The tough part about 'graphing outside is you have no jersey numbers to help you out. So you have to figure out heights, weights, and distinguishing features to have any hope. We did alright though: Cibney Bello, Toby Gardenhire, and Trey Cabbage each signed 1/1 and Bailey Ober 2/2 from Cedar Rapids. For Beloit, Austin Beck signed 1/2, and Lazaro Armenteros signed 3/5.

We didn't see Akil Baddoo, and missed Blayne Enlow, but Larry offered to help us out with Baddoo.

From there, it was a two-hour drive to Des Moines, and we arrived only 15 minutes after gates opened. Las Vegas was finishing up batting practice, but we weren't able to get anyone just yet.  Having zero luck early on the Iowa side, we went over to try the Vegas side and at least got Patrick Kivlehan on 4/4 and Bryce Brentz on 3/3-- putting me past my stated goal of 300 for the trip.

And this is when my trouble began.

Arron and I are down doing our thing, minding our own business, chatting with a couple other 'graphers when over comes this guy in an Iowa Hawkeyes shirt, 51s hat, and beard and glasses that make him look like some hipster candyass.

"SO, WHICH OF YOU ARE VEGAS FANS? METS FANS? THEN YOU NEED TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW."

Clearly I don't take well to that, so I just look and scoff at his arrogant douchebaggery. So he doubles down...

"YOU A METS FAN? I DON'T SEE IT ON YOUR HAT. YOU'RE SOME BANDWAGON CUBS FAN AREN'T YOU?"

Oh. Hell. No. I don't bandwagon anything, much less the Cubs. So I told him to go sit back down. Repeatedly

"SO, WHAT, YOU'RE HERE TO GET THESE AND SELL THEM, AREN'T YOU?"

I told him yeah, exactly, I'm that desperate for a dollar. Sarcasm clearly doesn't go over well with him. Meanwhile Jeremy Accardo came over and signed 2/2, followed by Dominic Smith on 1/2. So Mets Fan Cockwagon goes and sits back down for a bit, telling everyone around that I'm a dealer. On my way back out of the section, I called him out for the fact that it's amazing that this "bandwagon Cubs fan" knew all of his team's players better than he did.

By the way, this dude was getting a computer-printed team logo sheet signed... and didn't even fit it onto a single page.

So he strikes back at me-- of course-- this time loudly dropping F-Bombs that are echoing throughout a couple of sections, with a kid right next to him. When I pointed that out he expressed the fact that he "didn't give a fuck" who was around. Meanwhile one of the other decent 'graphers notified security, who... did absolutely nothing except check his ticket and tell him to tone it back. I was hoping he'd be escorted out and I probably would try to needle him into punching me on the way by.

Even two Mets fans at the top of the section were on my wide in the whole thing seeing it all go down. Most Mets fans I know are decent people. No idea why this guy was looking for a fight or why he went after me for it, but as the former penalty minute leader of a few floorball leagues, I think most people I know are well aware I don't back down from an altercation if I'm in the right. And every witness agreed that I was.

Postgame went better. One of the 'graphers who saw it all go down said "Geez, you're really getting it tonight, aren't you?" He said he had never seen that guy before, so he wasn't remotely representative of the Des Moines 'graphers. Over at the bullpen, I got Casey Coleman on 2/2 and as the teams left the field it was Peter Alonso on 2/3 and Glenn Abbott on 3/3 as he was heading off the field.  Closer to the dugout I added Ryan Court on 1/1.

Outside it was too dark to see at the Vegas doors, so we went for the Cubs side. I got Chesny Young on 1/1, Dillon Maples on 1/2, Cory Mazzoni on 2/2, Kyle Ryan on 2/2, James Norwood on 1/2, and Rob Zastryzny on 1/4. The coaches came out last, as Marty Pevey signed 1/1 and Desi Wilson 3/3.  Or at least we thought they were last:  Stephen Bruno was close behind, signing 2/2.

So, despite the near-throwdown with some total asshat, it was good. Day 12 will consist of hopefully more of the same, but with different names and hopefully no throwing of hands.

RUNNING TOTAL: 326 autographs