Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ballpark hounding, April 7

The first outing of the season was a success by all measurements of such things.

Really though, I can't think of many ways to have a totally failed outing.  I've had a few that could qualify-- like when I was in Boston, the time I went on a tip all the way to the Hyatt in Cambridge trying to find the New York Islanders, finding they weren't there, witnessing a car accident, arriving in class 15 minutes late, and going home empty handed-- but even that was a learning experience, so you can't totally call it a failure, just a significant inconvenience.  The moral of the story: always follow up on tips before pursuing them.

I timed it out, and it takes almost exactly 30 minutes to walk from my apartment to the Ballpark in Arlington, so I was smart to leave at 11:15.  Arron told me I should try to be in by noon, so that worked well.  There were a few other collectors down there, and I found out I hadn't missed anyone coming in.  Seeing as I don't know many collectors down there, I made sure to chat with a few of them, show that I'm not some rookie at this, try to skim some intel off of them, you know how it goes.  Social engineering.  It's never a bad thing.  I found out through it what hotel the Angels are at, so I know for next time-- and what did we learn from G.I. Joe? Knowing is half the battle.

We got a major surprise as the first signer of the day.  Usually pitching coach Mike Maddux can be a bit moody and only signs if you're really lucky.  Well, this was our lucky day.  As he went out for a run, he said he'd sign when he got back.  Upon his return, he ran past us at first, but it was only to hit his mark, check his time, grab a water, then come back and sign for us.  He's a pretty strict one-per-person signer, but he did it at least.  He probably won't do it the rest of the year, but I'll hold out hope and pack some cards every time I go.

Not long after Maddux signed, bench coach Jackie Moore came by, signing for everyone who needed him.  I got him on two cards.  I have a third one in one of my boxes that I'll take with me for next time.  I might try to pick up a few more as well.  1984 Topps Traded is the only major release of his that I don't have signed yet.  I'll scout around a bit and see what I can find...

Mitch Moreland was the next one in who stopped to sign.  We saw pretty much everyone come through, but not many stop to sign.  No major surprise-- it's always hit or miss with every team, where some guys will do it all the time (Moreland is one), some guys almost never (Tim Wakefield was famous for picking one day a year where he'd sign for everyone, and no others; if you missed it, you're stuck waiting until next year), and some are hit or miss from day to day.  Anyways, Moreland was his usual self, signing for everyone, including two cards for me.

Mitch Moreland is one of the best signers you'll ever find for the Rangers

Michael Kirkman stopped as well, signing the lone card I had for him.  The last one to stop was David Murphy.  Murph is another like Moreland who will almost always sign, and will always do one item per person, so I got him on a 2012 Topps Heritage.  I love the Heritage cards.  I'm a sucker for old designs and the cards require zero prep when getting them signed-- no baby powder, no white eraser, nothing.

I'm going to get a nice midweek hounding opportunity thanks to my friend and fellow collector Randy.  He and his son have season tickets and he said I could have his for Tuesday since they can't make it up, seeing as it's a school night.  The only catch is I have to get the t-shirt they're giving away for his son.  Obviously, this is no problem; I can't pass up free tickets!

Today's haul, seven cards from five players

A little background on Randy, I met him through Arron a couple years back when we were graphing the tunnel before the Rangers Alumni Legacy Game in 2011.  We got to talking and I found out he's actually from the same town as me in Ohio.  How's that for a crazy connection?  So now it's off to prep everything for the Rays and a surprise midweek hounding opportunity.

Lunch first though.  Or dinner, seeing as it's 4:15 already, and my last food was donuts and a coffee at 10 am.  At least I burned that off with the two-mile walk round-trip to the Ballpark and back.  Here's to the next session, coming Tuesday night!

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