Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hounding Report: Tampa Bay Rays

As much as I try to tell myself that there are no failures and that there's something to be gained from every outing, today's one was, for all intents and purposes, a failure.

Don't get me wrong, I love free tickets and I did get a couple autographs.  But for the most part, I think I would rather have picked up the two and a half hours of overtime that I could have had.  Along with Randy's tickets, I also can get in to the Ballpark an extra 30 minutes early.  So I got permission to leave work at 4 (still picking up about 20 minutes of overtime) since I'm working four 7-6 days this week.  I got inside at about 4:35 or so and headed for the Rangers' side.

Most times when I go to the Ballpark, I walk.  Living only a mile from the Home Plate Gate means I can get some exercise in and pound the pavement.  But since I only had about a 15-minute window from the time I would get in until the gates opened, I decided to just go ahead and park.  That set me back $15.  Never again.

Down the line at the outfield end of the dugout.
 So I got inside and went to the Rangers' side.  The collectors (and dealers... I'll get to them in a moment) were in two groups: one near the outfield end of the dugout, one near the home plate end.  I went for the outfield end since I recognized at least one person there.  The Rangers were taking BP, so mostly we were just there shooting the breeze until the players started signing.  First over by the opposite end from where I was at was Lance Berkman signing for a few fans.  I got over there just as he left.  Not long after I got back to my original place, Elvis Andrus came over.

And so did all the dealers.

Elvis stopped right in front of me... as the dealers reached over and he signed all their items and left me in the dust.  Let me just say this, and pardon my French, but I FUCKING HATE DEALERS.  There are a few who aren't bad-- I met a few in Boston who were alright and even really great.  But most of them are a bunch of scum-sucking bottom-feeders who can go fornicate themselves with an iron spike.

Let's see, who else... Beltre signed over at the opposite end, as did Cruz.  I didn't bother going for them, though I probably should have, as Cruz signed for a good while.  Oh well, next time.  And I'm sure there will be a next time.  As much as I say the early entry isn't worth it, it is if you know what you're doing.  This first day I guess can be chalked up as another damn dreaded learning experience.

I guess on the positive side, Nellie did sign, even if I didn't get him.
 Eventually instead of waiting for Darvish or any others, I went over to the Rays' side.  I could have just saved my time and gone to my seat really.  The one positive of the whole experience was Luke Scott.  I didn't expect to see him since he's on the DL, but I packed for him anyway.  I'm glad I did.  Some friends of his were there and he came over and chatted with them and took pictures and signed autographs for a good half hour.  Great to see.

Great to see Luke Scott taking a LOT of time out to hang with the fans.
 Unfortunately, he was one of the few who signed.  I missed a few while I was on the Rangers' side.  Ryan Roberts signed-- all I had was a team card though, but it's better than nothing.  Fernando Rodney signed for a few-- skipping me.  Same with James Loney.

I've gotten stiffed by Loney in two different cities now.  Last year in St. Louis while he was a Dodger, he skipped me a good three times, and then did it again today.

I missed out on Yunel Escobar, but did get rewarded.  As he was throwing with another player, he tried to make a behind the back catch.  He missed, the ball bounced, and nailed me in the arm.  After a couple more tosses, he gave me the ball.  So I did at least get that out of it.

I left after the sixth inning. The game was good and all, but having to be up at 5:30 or 6 every morning kills me if I stay up much after 10.  So glad there's coffee in the break room.

Not too bad a view, especially for free.
 The Rays don't come in again this season, so I may try a few of these guys via mail.  Unfortunately per SCN, Kyle Farnsworth, Sam Fuld, Tom Foley, Jamey Wright, and maybe Jeremy Hellickson are the only ones worth a try by mail.  And I already have a bunch of Wright and Foley from hounding in Cleveland and Boston.

Oh well.  I might end up with tickets for the White Sox at the end of the month.  Maybe I'll do better with them.

TOTALS: 2 autographs, 1 ball

LEARNED: Walk, don't park.  Go to the opposite end of the dugout if I go for the Ramgers.  James Loney hates me.  Dealers suck, which I already knew, but it bears repeating.

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