Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hounding Report: Rangers July 4, Astros July 6

I almost decided I was done with hounding for the season.  Some post-game successes changed that.

July 4, I made a very short tunnel stop since I had to jet over to Allen for a late lunch/early dinner with my brother in law and his girlfriend before doing to see Despicable Me 2.  I only got Alexi Ogando on one card.  However, the awesome brisket, the movie, and hanging out with them were enough to make up for anyone else who may have stopped.

On to today.  Or, yesterday as the case is now.

I don't understand this.  Why is it that when a team as good as the A's comes to town, almost no one graphs them, but when scrubs like the Astros come through, people go completely apeshit over them?  This isn't the Ryan-Scott-Darwin Astros.  Or the Bagwell-Biggio-Ausmus Astros.  It's not even the Lee-Bourn-Pence Astros.  It's a Houston Astros team led by the likes of a washed-up Carlos Pena, a miniscule Jose Altuve, and... um... whew... I know this one... really... Bud Norris?

As something of a completist and perfectionist by nature, I could give a damn if their top pitcher is Bud Norris or Bud Bundy.  I'm going to try to get my stuff signed.  And I know some of it is because the Astros are an in-state rival-- even though the rivalry resembles Hingis vs. Kournikova more than Ali vs. Frazier.  But still, it seems like casual graphers are all going for the scrub teams.

*No offense to the Astros fans out there.  I'm a fan of one of the biggest scrub organizations of all-time-- so bad we had a movie series made about us. I mean you no harm, and frankly, I'd bet you might even agree with me.

I missed out on the tunnel due to the Season Ticket Holder picnic, which I could not attend due to a snafu I'd rather not get into.  I later learned the line I would have been in featured Elvis Andrus, whom I need QUITE badly to help out a friend.  Goddammit.

To make matters worse, just after I finished my Chipotle lunch, I started packing up to head down, figuring I'd get to the entrance a little early.  Then I looked at my ticket: the game was 6:15, not 7.  Fortunately due to some furious pedaling, I only got inside about 10 minutes after the doors opened.

Inside, I had about as much luck as... well screw it, I'm in no mood to think up a simile.  Point is, the Astros have developed a severe allergy to Sharpies.  J.D. Martinez, Justin Maxwell, and Marc Krauss all signed but I missed out on them.  I managed to get Travis Blackley on the lone card I had of him (AWESOME signature, by the way), Dave Tremblay on two cards, Jose Veras on the lone one I had of him, and Doug Brocail on three.  Tremblay and Brocail had incredible sigs as well.

And that was it.  I almost had my big target, Dennis Martinez.  I was about to toss him my book when an on-field security asshat decided it was time for him to act all belligerent and kick us out of the front-most section, even though a player was signing there for us.  It's never been a problem before, but suddenly this guy felt the need to go swinging his prick around at us and show us all who rules things down there.  What a joke.  By this point, I was about to punch someone and nearly told the guy to stuff it, that as a paying customer I'll go where I damn well please as long as it's not on the field or interfering with the game or others enjoyment of it.

At that point, I nearly decided to shut down the blog and hang up the Sharpie for a few months-- even possibly skip Alumni Weekend.  It wasn't worth it to me if I wasn't having fun and wasn't getting my stuff signed.  The game itself was a slow one, lacking many fun or memorable moments aside from Geo Soto's blast to tie things up, albeit briefly.

I decided to stick it out though. I figured that maybe the coaches would leave together and I could get Martinez at the postgame tunnel.  With the game well out of reach, I headed out in the 8th.  I got to talking with a few other collectors-- one of whom caught Soto's homer and was hoping to get it signed (yeah, lots o' luck there, guy).  No Rangers stopped of course-- no one does postgame anymore-- but several Astros walked out and were willing signers.  Dallas Keuchel signed two, as did Brett Wallace.  Paul Clemens signed but I missed him and didn't want to bug him too much since he was carrying his dinner.  I had nothing on Brett Oberholtzer or Travis Blackley, but they both signed as well.  So that put me up to 11.  I've said before that for me and baseball, 10 or more is a good day, so I at least hit my self-imposed quota.

In chatting with the other collectors and dropping some premium 91 octane knowledge of the subject in their brain tanks, I realized that this is something I do well, something that I know, and something I usually enjoy.  I shouldn't let four shithouse outings in a row ruin it for me.

I'm still debating about what to do the rest of the season.  I plan to go tomorrow in hopes of snagging Martinez, so a bonus entry will be coming.  And I'll go on Alumni Day too.  But I don't really know after that.  Do I need Oakland a third time?  Or Seattle?  Or the Yankees and Angels at all? (SPOILER ALERT: no) Do I want to bother with a probable madhouse for the Pirates and the Brewers?  Or can I start turning my attention toward hockey?

I still plan to post something on 'graphing etiquette this week.  People have just really pissed me off the last few weeks and though I'm sure it won't make a difference, I just want to get it off my chest.  If it changes one person's actions, then it's done more than I expect.

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