Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hounding Report: Rangers Alumni Legacy Weekend, July 20-21

... and I'm spent.

Despite last week's rant about how the Rangers were completely screwing the chicken on this, Alumni Legacy Weekend ended up being alright for the most part.  I don't care much for the three-day format, although with it, I was able to get almost 100 items signed between the tunnel and the Alumni.  I didn't even try the Orioles at all: I had heard enough from other cities about how badly they were signing.

Saturday I walked down and only got two at the tunnel-- Orioles assistant hitting coach and former Indians and Rangers catcher Einar Diaz signed my lone card of him, while Leonys Martin signed one for me, which will be headed to Andrew in New Jersey.  The tunnel was largely a waste of time Saturday, compounded by the fact I had to walk down twice: in switching graphing bags, I left my ticket back in my apartment so I had to ride over with Arron, get my ticket, chug some water, and walk back down a second time.  Oh well.  Exercise: I has it.

As we got ready to head inside, rumors were already swirling.  Kenny Rogers is here.  Rafael Palmeiro is here.  No one's here but a few players at about five tables.  Nolan Ryan isn't signing.  I figured screw it, I'm going to run up the third base side and hope for the best.  I got inside, ran as fast as I can get my fat ass to go (not very), and found myself in Pudge's line, which was quickly filling up.  As the line kept growing, I figured I had two options: get Pudge and no one else, or get everyone but Pudge.

I opted for the latter.  I figured that since he's a team employee, he'll be around a bit, whereas some of these other guys come around only a couple times a year.  I thought about it, and decided to go quantity over quality and headed for Jim Sundberg's line.  Nothing against Sundberg, but let's be honest: he's not Pudge.

Sunny signed four cards for me-- one from each team he played for (Rangers, Brewers, Royals, Cubs).  After mapping everything out via short conversations and texts, I thought about heading back for John Wetteland's line, which I abandoned in favor of Sundberg.  His line was still a bit long, so I figured I'd come back if I had time-- I had gotten him on four cards the previous year, so I was set on him.  I proceeded next over to Rusty Greer's line.  Rusty does tons of events in the area, so I don't have a massive need for him, but hey, why not?  Four cards out of him as well.  I ran into Seth at Rusty's line and we decided we'd head over to the group in center field-- the only line with multiple signers.

Getting there just as the rain was getting ready to start, I had no cards for Ken Pape, so I got him on one of the Alumni Legacy photos.  Keith Creel signed the two cards I had of him, plus a photo.  Reggie Cleveland signed two of my four cards, plus a photo.  Just a heads up on him, he hates his photo on his 1975 Topps and 1974 Topps Traded cards and prefers not to sign them.  Scott Sheldon-- he of all nine positions in six innings-- signed two plus a photo.  Last in the group was Jim Gideon.  He pitched only one MLB game-- a 5.2-inning no-decision in 1975, later being sent to the Twins in the Bert Blyleven trade-- but I had three cards of him from his Senior League days, and he signed them for me, plus a photo.

I got back to Wetteland's table just as they were taking it down.  I heard later that he actually left before his 30 minutes were up and well before the 125 tickets had been distributed.  Oh well.  Like I said, I got him last year on my set card so he wasn't a top priority.

I did get lucky not long after though.  As I was aimlessly wandering, a large group of alumni players walked out from the Community Relations office toward the elevator.  Several had nametags and they stopped and signed.  I got Claude Osteen on one of my four cards, along with Rich Billings on three.  Note that he goes by Rich, though every card of him says Dick.  Frankly, I don't blame him at all.

Mike Bacsik Jr. and Donald Harris also signed, but I missed out on them as the group was rushed off to the elevator.  Not long after, the rain started coming in earnest.  Arron, David, and I waited around a bit by the elevator, and I also chatted with Charles and Nicholas for a bit too while waiting.  Nicholas was one of the lucky ones able to get Manny Machado down by the O's side.

After having a seat, we noticed a few of the Alumni players coming out of the elevator during the delay.  Mike Munoz and Mike Simms were the first two, while Steve Dreyer-- who I didn't know was going to be there-- and a few others walked the concourse.  The Mikes each signed four cards for me.  Another group came after, but no one I recognized aside from Don Stanhouse.  Unfortunately my path to him was blocked by a few people, so I just abandoned ship.  He's another I got a bunch from last year.  Dave Hostetler walked out as well, and he signed four for me too.

We watched the game from a picnic table, not far from Donald Harris.  Unfortunately I missed out on him, and I didn't see him after the fourth inning anyway.

With no Nolan, I figured I might as well go again on Sunday and hope for the best.  Unfortunately, he didn't show Sunday either.  The Rogers/Palmeiro rumors were still floating about, but again, nothing on them.

I hit the tunnel early again on Sunday.  Ron Washington was first in, signing all three cards I had, even after stopping to pick up Yu Darvish's interpreter who parked in the lot nearby.  Most of the time if someone stops to pick someone up, you can assume they'll probably just drive in.  Wash stopped though, so good for him.

Mitch Moreland also signed three for me.  Unfortunately, I didn't prep one of them well enough so the sig is very bubbly.  That's what I get for rubbing my cards down at 1 am.  I might erase it and get it done again.  It's not terrible, but he signs enough.

The big surprise came next: A.J. Pierzynski stopped and signed for everyone, one-per.  As an Indians fan, I'm sure most of my North Coast brethren would have preferred that I fart in his window instead of getting an autograph, or kneed him in the crotch and said something about avenging Stan Conte, but collecting wins out on this one.  David Murphy was the last tunnel signer, doing his usual one-per.

Once again at the entrance, reports were flying about who was signing where.  And again the reports came down that there was no Nolan, no Palmeiro, and no Rogers.  I figured I could at least jump into several lines, maybe even all of them, so I went for the home plate one first.  Glad I did: Ken Suarez and Claude Osteen were in it, and I wanted to get them both as I had pre-1975 cards on them.  Suarez was an Indians catcher before joining the Rangers, while Osteen was a two-time 20-game winner and three-time All Star.  Suarez signed four cards and a photo, Osteen three and a photo, and Jim Norris a photo.

I figured my best plan of attack would just be to circle the ballpark.  Since I had heard Mench and Munoz were third base side, and since I had gotten Munoz the previous day and had nothing for Mench, first base would be the way to go.  The sign listed Jeff Kunkel, Mike Simms, and Don Stanhouse.  However, the man in the middle definitely was not Simms.  Kunkel signed my four cards and a photo first.  I had no idea who the guy in the middle was, so I said "I think I may have you in here too," and he says "Probably. Ryan, first name Nolan."  I laughed and he said "Chalk."  So Dave Chalk also signed the four I had of him.  After missing Stanhouse the previous night, I was happy to get him on my two cards, and to add a photo as well.

From there, it was off to center field.  Dan Smith signed four cards, Mike Jeffcoat four cards and a photo, and Mike Bacsik Jr. a photo.  I was out of Bacsik cards after getting him the previous month in Frisco at the Dirk Nowitzki game.

After having seen Dreyer the night before, I made sure to pull cards of him before going out on Sunday.  I only had three, but he signed all of them for me at the left field station.  Jose Guzman was originally on the sign for that group but was replaced by Larry Hardy, who signed two cards and a photo.  Gerald Alexander also did four cards and a photo.

I still had plenty of time, so since I restocked on Munoz and could nab a Mench photo, I headed for their line.  DeWayne Vaughn was there with them as well.  Vaughn signed my two cards, even commenting on the awesomeness of the 1984 Tidewater Tides had he had on-- very similar in shape to the 1980's Pirates tin-can hats.  Munoz signed another four cards, and Mench signed a photo.

98 autographs total.  I was two away from breaking the century mark in back-to-back session totals for only the second time in my hounding life (my record: 110 on December 6 and December 8 of 2003 between the Bruins, Flyers, and Senators).  Today's total of 58 is my second-best single day ever (best was 62 at the 2011 Alumni Day).

It's time for some rest now.  I won't go for the Yankees or Angels this month.  I have a ticket for the August 1 makeup game vs. Arizona, but may trade it in for a different game. The next one after would be Milwaukee on either August 13 or 14.  Being a midweek game, it's questionable.  After that, the Mariners come for the third time on a weekend.  So I may be off for a while.  We'll see.  I doubt I'll be able to avoid going to at least one game of the M's series.

I will at least hit up the shop in Plano again next weekend.  Gotta stock up for August and September, maybe begin prepping for the Stars, and also grab a few cards for Arron and his upcoming efforts in Oklahoma City.


  1. This years alumni weekend was a fucking beating... no Nolan, the moron from Rangers who can't count to 125 (likely lied about how many he gave, or hooked his boys up) no big names on Fri/Sun the lack of players stopping at tunnel, when Cory Burns tells you no, it's time to say fuck this team

  2. Preaching to the choir, man. At times I'm thinking my money could be better spent elsewhere next season. Once the team finds itself back in the crapper and they realize they spent the last 2-4 years taking fans for granted, they might start taking things seriously again instead of just seeing the word "paying" in the phrase "paying customers."

    Were you there in an orange shirt? Thought I saw you Saturday, but wasn't totally sure.

  3. Congrats on the alumni success! Your scores were awesome. Glad you were able to get Suarez. He's a very nice man. As for the Yankees, today someone aptly described their auto seeker crowd as a tidal surge. Whenever a player came over to sign at the wall, the crowd -- easily 7-8 people deep from the left field corner to the right side of the dugout -- would literally surge up, over and into the backs of people in front of them like a rising tidal wave. People were crowd surfing on the backs and shoulders of fans standing in front of them. It was suffocating at times for the people crushed in the front row, and it was impossible to move if you were in front. Only a few lucky people got Pettitte, Rivera and Jeter, 3 of the 5 Bombers to sign Monday. However, the former easily signed for half an hour from the tarp to the photo well, bringing back memories of Ripken's farewell tour, while Andy and Derek only signed a few by the photo well. That was pretty much it on Monday, as there was no BP due to the Yankees' late arrival into town from Boston. Today signings were even more scarce. Amazingly, Jeter signed again, which is against his MO, and I was one of the lucky few to get it. The only other signers were Thomas Neal (for two people) and Chris Stewart right before the game. Despite the hassle, Jeter was worth the effort for a ball, but so far it's been very slim pickin's. With the bad-signing Angels coming in next week, it may be a long drought.

  4. It was a somewhat light Rangers shirt, I was the 2nd one to not have a ticket for Pudge to get in line