Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hounding Report: Rangers Fan Fest and Winter Caravan

I didn't expect a whole lot going into the Rangers Fan Fest. The previous two years I just went for the alumni lines and usually did well-- 252 autographs combined over the previous two is a testament to that. But this year the Rangers put together a list that was, well, lacking.

11a, Group one: Toby Harrah, Kevin Mench, Bobby Jones
12n, Group two: Steve Buechele, Tony Beasley, Jose Guzman, Pete O'Brien
1p, Group three: Mike Adams, Jeff Russell
2p, Group four: Rusty Greer, Tom Grieve, Dean Palmer
3p, Group five: Darren Oliver, John Wetteland, Eric Nadel

O'Brien and Wetteland were surprises: the Rangers tweeted a list without them, a list leaked with both on it, then the final printed program had O'Brien but no Wetteland. It turned out Wetteland was supposedly going to show up for group four, but was replaced by Grieve as it began, then arrived in time for group five.

On the positive side, I had plenty of cards and everyone signed multiples-- Harrah, Mench, Buechele, Guzman, O'Brien, Adams, Russell, Palmer, and Wetteland each signed four, Oliver six, Beasley two, and I got the signed promo photos from Jones, Harrah, Greer, Grieve, and Nadel. I also got two extra on O'Brien and Guzman, helping out a collector from TAC. He got four cards of each, keeping two and giving me two. I'll take that deal any day. Also the late-arriving Chris got a card each on Adams and Beasley.

I still find it disturbing that I somehow ran out of cards of Rusty Greer. I moved here with a good 30 or so of him. Time for a SportLots run before Alumni Weekend.

Sunday morning was a chance to get one of the big ones I need for my 1972-designed sets, as Elvis Andrus was doing an Academy Sports signing in Garland. I arrived two and a half hours beforehand... and still was only 183rd in line. Apparently some people arrived at 3 am.

Get a life, will ya?

Fortunately they handed out tickets and let us leave and grab a bite to eat before reconvening.  The line was pretty slow at first but we got through in about an hour or so. Elvis was one-per, Ryan Rya signed everything (two for me and Matt hooked me up with one more since I figured he might only be one or two per), and I got Gimenez and DeShields on the promo sheet they were handing out. Mike Bacsik Jr. was around as well and signed five cards I still had in my alumni box.

Unfortunately I missed out on the Stars practicing in Euless-- that's what I get for not checking the schedule enough. On the positive side, I was able to help Paul Buxton out with a Rookie Index Card toughie. Apparently he tried Jarod Palmer, Minnesota Wild rookie in 2011-12, twice via mail with no luck, but he coaches the Sugar Land Imperials in the NA3HL who played a three-game set against the Euless Jr. Stars. He signed the RIC for me during the first intermission of their game on Friday.

Overall a pretty successful weekend, if not a bit underwhelming on the alumni. And a tap of the stick to Brian for getting me in the Dean Palmer line after it was cut off three people in front of me.

I also mailed a few out, re-sending to Ryan Braun after a RTS and trying Borje Salming at his home in Sweden with an extensive letter on how his Sami heritage inspired me to look deeper into my own family's background (which includes some Sami). Probably will also try Dennis Martinez this week.

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