Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hounding Report: A's, June 18

Man, I'm beat.  I have been out hounding six of the last nine days.  Fortunately today was under 90 degrees.  When I bolted out the door at work, I was shocked at how awesome the weather was.  I'll miss it though: summer officially begins Friday.  Goodbye sub-90 days.

It made the ride to the Ballpark easier as well.  Side note, I need to check the brakes on my bike.  I nearly ran into a van while turning onto Baird Farm Road because my brakes weren't slowing me down, much less stopping me.  I also brushed a tree while going downhill on Legends Way because, again, limited braking power.  But I made it alive and in one piece, and in time to get my Rangers pitcher and cup set.  Not sure yet whether to keep it or eBay it for some more guitar money.  I still have a bunch of items I need to put up.

Anyways, the 'graphing.  Another great day inside.  I'm sure the nice weather helped with that as no one wants to be standing around signing in triple-digit heat any more than I want to be standing in it waiting for someone to sign.  The Rangers took a late BP session, and they were still on the field even though I arrived after 5:30.  I decided I'd just go straight for the A's side-- mostly since I didn't pack my Rangers book.  Unfortunately, I missed out on Pat Neshek, so I won't be able to get him for an upcoming Wednesday Friendsday interview, unless I can find a way to contact him via his site.  Maybe via mail.  Maybe Facebook.  We'll see.

I'm starting to think we're seeing the Bartolo Colon Farewell Tour.  After never having seen him pick up a pen before in his career, for the second trip in a row he signed all three cards I had with me.  Something has caused him to soften up (and I mean his attitude, not his waistline); I'm thinking it may be that this is his final season.  He's still one of my favorites after his years in Cleveland; I remember when the Indians traded him, my friends Rich, Ned, Ari, and I went to a ballgame with a sign saying "Shapiro Stinks Without His Colon."  The trade worked out in the long run, but still, at the time who wouldn't be upset by trading the best pitcher in the AL for three magic beans and Lee Stevens?

I only picked up one extra A.J. Griffin card, but I got him to sign it.  A.J. is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet-- seems to really enjoy signing and chatting with fans, and he gives a nearly letter-perfect autograph.  Sometimes I wonder how much Pat Neshek and his being a collector himself rubs off on teammates.  I missed out on Ryan Cook back in May, but he made up for it this time, signing the three cards I had of him.  Dan Straily was right behind, signing three as well.

From there, it was back over to the dugout where things died down for a while.  Having no BP (or possibly BP before the Rangers?) meant no position players were out on the field, just pitchers, catchers, and coaches.  After a while, bench coach and former Minnesota Twin Chip Hale came to the dugout and after calling out to him, he came over and signed for us, doing all three cards I had on me.  He's another one I missed in May while getting Phil Garner, so I was happy to get him this trip.  Speaking of whom, Garner did apparently travel again with the team again, so if you're seeing them soon, bring your Scrap Iron cards.

Big Nate Freiman came over and signed as well.  I only had two cards of the former Blue Devil but he did them both.  After getting out on the field for a stretch, Josh Donaldson signed very quickly while coming back to the dugout.  His sig (for me at least) was nothing but a big J-- kind of similar to Martin Brodeur's sig of "M Br.," if you're lucky.  Is this typical for Donaldson?  I'll post a photo tomorrow.  On the plus side, he did all three I had.

Last one I got was Brandon Moss.  I had my blue Sharpie out, and he signed in black, using the pen the guy next to me had.  Moss even asked "Is this one okay?"  I'm not too picky really, but it's great that he asked.  As long as it's not a ballpoint, I'm cool with it.

The A's, aside from the likes of Coco Crisp, are one of the best signing teams in baseball.  I got 20 today, even though I got there an hour later than I should.  They come in one more time in mid-September, but I'll probably miss it.  It's my wife's birthday weekend, and we're going to go to the Dallas Stars training camp and Weezer concert in Oklahoma that Friday, Dia de Los Toadies Saturday, and then maybe-- MAYBE-- I can hit them up Sunday.  Not likely though.

35 from the A's over two games a month apart. I'll gladly take that.

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