Friday, March 16, 2012

Adventures at Spring Training

Well I'm back from balmy Arizona to frigid Alaska.  More snow in the forecast too, joy.  But I come back with a lot of good memories.  First I'll bore you with the run down of my pre-baseball adventures.  The wife and I spent a week up in Sedona in the red rocks.  One of our wedding presents was a time share and we opted for Sedona, on good recommendations and the fact that there was nothing closer to Phoenix.  But Sedona proved to be a great staging area for sightseeing.  We did a few hikes around the area, did a Jeep tour, because I'm a sheep and that's what the sheep do I guess, it was alright, but afterwards I really didn't feel like I got my money's worth, I did however learn about some other great hikes so it wasn't a total loss.  We took a day and went up to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.  I had been there as a kid and it really hadn't changed much. We had planned on going to the Grand Canyon on Wednesday, but a storm moved through and pushed us back to Thursday, but we made the day of it and then on Friday we headed up to Meteor Crater.  All in all we packed quite a bit into that first week.  We headed down to Phoenix on Saturday for the Brewers/Cubs game at Maryvale and boy was it packed!  But a great game, even if we lost.  I was able to grab a few autographs.

Before I left, not knowing exactly what kind of opportunities I would have for signage I made up some autograph index cards, bought 4 MLB official balls, two mini bats and brought a stack of cards.

I was able to get one Cubbies signature on one of my index cards.

That's Steve Clevenger.  A minor league invitee. Although checking his stats looks like he did make two appearances in a Cubs uniform last year and had 4 at bats, one hit that was a double.  I'll take what I can get.  I really like the way the cards turned out.  I made some for the Cubbies, Brewers and Mariners, just in case.  Here's what the Mariners one looks like, since none of the team would sign autographs.

I managed to snagged two Brewers autographs that first game.

That's Logan Schafer. Who's tearing up Spring Training.  He went 3 for 3 in the game, with a single, double, and triple.  We were all hoping he would get another at bat to see if he could get the cycle.
Here's what the back of my cards look like.  I decided that I wanted to make sure I knew what auto was what and I didn't want to deface the front.  If I'd had known how good Logan was going to be this pre-season I probably would have had him sign a ball for me.

The other auto was Zelous Wheeler.
Wheeler got promoted to AAA Nashville last year, but didn't look all that impressive when I saw him.  To be fair he was in the second rotation, coming in around the 5th or 6th  inning.

And I got to meet Adam from Thoughts and Sox at this game for an in-person trade.

After a trip down to Tuscon to visit some friends and to play tourist in Tombstone, we headed back to Phoenix to take in one more game and then fly home.

We ended up catching the Mariners/Brewers game. Like the Cubs game before it was a split squad, but this time Ryan Braun was in the house.  Here's proof.

There was also somebody else there that I really liked.
I don't know if you can tell but that's #19 Robin Yount!!!  Well I just about creamed my jeans when this happened.


I also got quite a few other signatures too once I figured out the best system at Maryvale, which is to catch the players as they are heading back to the clubhouse, or leaving the clubhouse to go home.  In all I ended up getting all my balls signed.  That sounded dirty.

Here's a a close up of my Yount ball all ready for the shelf!!

I also got Scooter Gennett.
Scooters one of those kids I have high hopes for, but he's still down in Single A, but hell making it to Spring Training is a good start.  I got his Bowman auto from last year so this is another nice addition.  He's only 21 so there's still alot of baseball in that guy and he was very nice signing for everybody and on the Sweet Spot!

The wife and I ended up waiting by the back fence as players were heading to the parking lot.  I ended up getting some other great sigs.

Here's catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

I had terrible ball management so by the time I got these last four guys I only had one ball, but they all signed very nicely on the ball.  I wonder if they get a class in autographing?

Here we have Mat Gamel, former Giant Travis Ishikawa, and Zack Braddock.

And on the other side.....
The Axman, John Axford, who looked like he could have been in a western!! I really wish I'd have started a team ball and had a fresh one for Axford, he's one of my favorite relievers right now and looked great the two times I saw him pitch.  Either way some great additions to my meager autographed ball collection.

I guess it only could have been better if I'd had snagged a Braun or Weeks auto too, but I didn't.  Rickie signed for 10 minutes by the bullpen, but there were so many kids around him I never would have gotten in and maybe someday I'll be taking my son or daughter to some games.  I've got some more pictures I'll post from the games later.

CB out

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