Tuesday, November 19, 2013



For our day trip we found ourselves at OK Corral in Tombstone, AZ. I visited Tombstone back in 1998 when I attended Navy training at Fort Huachuca Army base close by. Even though I have visited once before, the wife wanted to see too.

The drive was longer than we expected. Tombstone is on the other side of Tuscan. Buckeye to Tuscan is two hours. It took almost another two to get there. After we arrived we checked to see when the next show was and then headed to Crystal Palace Saloon for some well needed food. We drove the whole four hours non stop and was starving. I had the traditional hamburger while the wife had a taco salad. The bartender and waitress along with the saloon was stages like the 1880's (but, what do I know, I was not around back then).

We then attended the gunfight show of the OK Corral. The show was pretty much the same as it was in 1998. The wife did not know anything about the OK Corral, Wyatt Earp. One of our movie nights I will have to play Wyatt Earp or Tombstone so she get an idea of the time and place. I did a short video (4 min) of the 30 second gun fight and history of the men of the gunfight.

We hung around town for a while before getting back on the road for the four hour ride home. On our way out we stopped by Boothill Graveyard. The final resting place for Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury of the three men shoot and killed in the streets of Tombstone in 1881.

Trailers note: On the way out of Tombstone and heading back to I-10 there is a US Customs and Immigration checkpoint. It was just before sunset and there was not a long wait only three cars.

Thursday, November 14, 2013



11 Nov
Mesa Solar Sox vs Peoria Javelinas

This game was played at Surprise Stadium. These were the free tickets I got at a Surprise game last week. Big name prospects are Kris Bryant (Cubs) 2013 1st round #2 pick, Addison Russell (A's) 2012 1st round #11 pick, Brian Goodwin (Nationals) 2011 1st round #34 pick and Delino DeShields Jr (Astros) 2010 1st round # 8 pick. Needless to say these are the players I will be seeking to get their autographs.

When the gates open we headed to the runway where the player enter their clubhouse. On the way I found a ball just laying on the ground next to a fence. Must have been from batting practice as the ball is really worn and the stitches are coming out. This ball's has seen it's last action as it is now in my collection and will never be used again. This makes my tenth game used ball and third of the Fall League Season. No luck on any players signing after batting practice. I waited around until they came out for warm ups. Much better luck this time around I got Kris Bryant and Addison Russell to sign on MLB Baseball. Brian Goodwin was not signing for anyone today. After batting practice, before game or after game. I saw that Delino DeShields was not in the starting lineup, so I made my way to the left field bleachers where the Javelinas clubhouse is located. After the National Anthem he signed my 5x7 photo and signed for fans until the players took the field in the top of the first. I was also looking for Indians Jake Lowery. Not sure why he is on the Peoria team when the rest of the Indians players are on the Surprise team. Anyways, Lowery was already in the bullpen, so I took some pictures of him warming up a pitcher so I can get it signed at Spring Training.

Mesa won 4-0 with them scoring all their runs with runner on third and less than two out one on a sac fly and three on ground ball fielder choice. The most exciting part of the game was when Addison Russell launched his bat (swinging strike) into the standing (third base side) hitting the upper deck score board and fall into the lower level seating. I was surprised to see that there was no fans fighting to get the bat. As it landed one person picked it up and that was it. Mesa lead in the East remains at half game with three games  remaining in the season. Also, Travis Shaw and the Surprise Saguaros won clinching the West and punched it's ticket to the Championship game on Saturday 16 November.

This is most likely the last game of the season I will be attending. The Championship game will be streaming live on and I'll watch it online rooting for Surprise to win it all. No more baseball blog .... until Spring Training. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013



5 NOV 13
Desert Dogs vs Saguaros

Today's game was played at Surprise Stadium.. The gates opened and the visiting team was still at batting practice. I stood at the runway behind home plate where the entrance of the visiting team clubhouse is located to try and get Twins number 2 prospect Byron Buxton autograph. As the team left the field to return to the clubhouse every player who was asked for an autograph signed, except for Byron Buxton who once again only signed one for kids (What are kids doing at a 12:35 pm start on a Monday?). Not sure why he is the only player in the league not signing for all fans. I knew it was a dead end to try any longer so I stood in the right field bleachers where the home team enters the field.  I met a guy from San Francisco who takes his own pictures of the player and made posters. He gave them to the player as they enter the field. In return a couple player gave him their bats and signed them for him. Taking the picture ($7 general admission ticket), print poster ($3.99), autograph bat of future MLB player (priceless).

I was seeking only two autographs on 5x7 photos. One of Travis Shaw with me and the other Tyler Naquin who posed for me after the Fall Star Game. I did bring three MLB Baseball (one was for Byron Buxton, but you know how that turned out...). So when I saw Mookie Betts (Red Sox, <A-Ball> .314 BA with 93 R and 38 SB),  Ryan Rua (Rangers <A&AA> 32 HR 91 RBI) and Henry Urrutia ( Orioles <AA&AAA> .347 BA in 314 AB and a September call-up who was in the line for 24 games). All five players signed and I walked away with another good day at the ball park.

The game ---> Another Saguaros game off to a slow start that was a pitching match up until the middle innings. With two Desert Dogs infield fly errors resulting in two, four out innings, Saguaros could not take advantage of the extra outs. With the scored tided 2-2 in the 5th Travis Shaw swinging strike three, but the ball got past the catcher and was called safe at first base. Two batter later Shaw scored on a sac fly by Tony Wolters (Indians) to take the lead. In the 7th inning Shaw saw fastball, Shaw hit fastball and 400 plus feet later it landed over the wall in right-center field. Saguaros won 4-2 and once again Shaw (2-3 2R, HR, RBI and BB) lead the comeback for the first place Saguaros who increased their division lead to 5.5 games with only 9 games remaining in the season. It was a good game for any Ohio fan as the Indians and Reds both had 5 of their 6 players see action in today's game.

I took my 35mm camera this time to the game and got pictures of players other than Travis Shaw. Here are just a few.
Byron Buxton (Twins)
 Joe Wendle (Indians) & Travis Shaw (Red Sox)
 Ryan Rua (Rangers)
 Jason Rogers (Brewers)
 Tyler Naquin (Indians)
  Joe Wendle (Indians) 
 Tony Wolters (Indians)
Steve Karsay (Indians) Pitching Coach

Thursday, November 7, 2013



2 Nov 13
East vs West Fall Star Game

If you have read any of my other baseball blogs, you know that I'm a Travis Shaw fan from day one when I attended Kent State and saw him play. I just want to let everyone know he got robbed from the Fall Star Game roster. He is second in the league in HR (4), RBI (15) and SLG (.659) playing in only 11 games behind Kris Bryant (Cubs #2 overall pick in 2013 draft) who is leading the league in almost every category. I like the idea Travis is flying under the radar, it makes it easy for me to get his baseball cards at a cheap price, but give the man his dues when he deserves it.

I did my homework the day before the game and knew what player are on the each roster and now on my list to get autographs. I did not bring many cards of player other than Indians and Reds that I will be getting signed during spring training, but I do have a case of MLB Baseballs and pictures that I take of players. I want two player from each team from the East Kris Bryant (Cubs) and Addison Russell (A's) on the West Byron Buxton (Twins) and Delino DeShields (Jr) (Astros). If a lot of fans show up and I can't get them, there is one game each where Kris Bryant and Bryon Buxton return to Surprise where the crowds are around 300 and easier to get.

We arrived at Surprise Stadium where there was a scout clinic. The clinic lasted one hour and it was a standing room only. I was looking forward to the clinic, but was disappointed as the scouts told stories of player they scouted and no detail on how they scout player. There was a question ask on how this years AFL Fall Star team was selected.  I found out the roster was selected in the first week of the season and the selection was based on first round draft picks and top 5 prospects in a MLB teams system. That is why Travis Shaw did not make the team. Maybe because the program books took three weeks to be printed too.

We then walked through the gates where they handed out clear packs of 2012 Bowman Draft Pick Prsopects baseball cards. Each pack had 5 cards; 2 base, 2 chrome and 1 silver ice. As we entered both teams were already on the field warming up. I was able to get down on the West side of the field and got Delino DeShield (Jr) on  a MLB Baseball. He stood around asking is anyone else wanted to get something signed before he went to the dugout. He was very fan friendly and down to earth for a first round #8 overall draft pick in 2010. He did not sign on the sweet spot, but an autograph is an autograph. Other autograph collector said that Bryon Buxton was only signing for kids, so I made my way to the East side of the field. Because of the game being televised on MLB network the players did not have the extra 30 minutes to sign autographs before first pitch as the staring lineup and roster was introduced. I walked into the gift shop and they had free ticket for the 11 Nov Veterans Day game played at Surprise Stadium with Mesa Solar Sox vs Peoria Javelinas. I will get another chance to get Kris Bryant and Addison Russell who are both on the Mesa Solar Sox.

The Game --> There was a record crowd of 6,529 for an AFL Fall Star Game the witnessed the West wining the game 9-2 and backed by a team 5 HR. MVP went to Brett Nicholas (Rangers) going 3-4 2R 2HR and 2 RBI.

Kris Bryant
 Delino DeShields (Jr)
 Addison Russell 
Tyler Naquin

My only autograph of the night, but one is better than none.
Delino DeShields (Jr) auto ball

Tuesday, November 5, 2013



I will be attending several games and was going to blog in one large post, but after just two game it was a large page so I will post on each game. Each blog will be titled Arizona Fall League Game #.

30 Oct 13
Rafters vs Saguaros

Surprise Stadium home field of Surprise Saguaros also the home field of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals during spring training. General admission is only $7 for any seat (first come, first serve) and parking is free. You can't beat that price to see the future stars of Major League Baseball. The gift shop was giving out free tickets for the East vs West Fall Star Game that is played on 2 Nov at Surprise Stadium, so I got two tickets for the wife and me. All the players were fan friendly and was willing to sign anything. I always have Travis Shaw cards or pictures, but the Cleveland Indians was on the same team so all my wish was rolled up in one giant gift box. Of course, Travis Shaw was the first person I went to. He was surprised to see me as I told him I'll follow you anywhere throughout you career. I asked him how he felt about his fellow Kent State SS Jimmy Rider being traded (by the Pirates) to the Red Sox, he replied that it was cool that he might have a chance to play with him once again. Next on my list was the Indians. I got Tyler Naquin and Tony Walters. Garin Cecchini (Red Sox) saw me and ask if I was part of Duck Dynasty (just because I have long hair and beard.... do I look like Duck Dynasty?) and then he threw me a ball as he entered the dugout. After the game was over I would get him to sign a picture I took of him at 2013 Spring Training in Fort Myers, FL. During the game a foul ball rolled into the home dugout and one of the players threw me the ball. Two balls in one game, one reads "Practice Ball Minor League" and the other "Official Ball Arizona Fall League".

This Picture will be printed and personally signed like all the rest I have with him in different uniforms

 Now, for the game. The first 5 innings the Rafters were in control, but the next three inning belonged to Saguaros. I would like to think it was Travis Shaw who sparked the comeback. Bottom 6th down by 4 and 2 outs Travis Shaw advanced to second base on a pass ball. Full count the batter swung and missed, but the catcher let the ball get past him as the catcher throw the ball to first where the runner was called safe; Travis Shaw was hustling around third and scored to cut Rafters lead in half. Bottom 7th down 2 bases loaded and 2 outs on a 2-0 count Shaw got a fastball and took it for a ride over the right field fence for a grand slam to take a 8-6 lead (with the attendants of 251 I was the only one cheering as Travis crossed home plate) and secured the comeback as the Saguaros rolled on to a 12 -6 win. Travis Shaw went 3-5 with 2B, HR and 4 RBI.

I had horse blinders on as I only took pictures of Travis Shaw. I will work on getting other player pictures at the next games.
Look at all the goodies I got before, during and after the game.

My Travis Shaw collection stand at 306 and counting.

Monday, November 4, 2013



A day in San Antonio we started the day off early to visit a few places on our list. We went to the downtown area to find a local parking lot. The price was $5 for 3 hours across from the Alamo. Best deal, we did everything under 3 hours.

First on our list was visit The Alamo. Admission free. Since we were there early we got our picture and went inside with very few people. No picture allowed inside The Alamo main exhibits room. The Alamo takes a picture of you as you enter the main exhibit room and are available for sale on site or online. The online are not free like Jack Daniels was.

Second on the list for downtown San Antonio was the river walk boat ride. Again, early and few people so there was no line for tickets or wait for seat on the boat. Admission $8.25, but $6 for military. The boat ride is about 45 minutes. The city of San Antonio was going to drain and fill in the river walk, but for the idea of one person to vote against it to keep the remarkable sight and build the city around the river walk ... best idea ever!

Saint Anthony the given name of San Antonio
Cafe's line the famous river walk
Amphitheater seat on one side of the river with the stage on the other (not pictured)  

We had about one hour left on our parking spot so we walked around did some shopping and ate Haagen Dazs ice cream.

About 20 minutes away we went to a Japanese tea garden that had a remarkable view where we ate our packed lunch and enjoyed the sights. We then took a peaceful walk admiring the park that dates back before WWII. The Japanese family that oversaw the tea garden was rounded up and sent to Japanese prison camps. After the war the family returned and made it what it looks like today.

National Parks are reopened and the last visit of the day was to Missions San Jose National Park. This National Park along with the work of the Missions were questionable in my mind. Native Indians came to these Missions for safety from the stronger aggressive tribes taking what ever they wanted that was in the way. However, these Indians who seeked safety behind the walls had to leave there way of live behind by changing their given names to Spaniards and learning to speak Spanish and learn the ways of the church. They lived in the wall that protected the Mission and had to pay the highest taxes. Those who did not learn all the stages of the church before death was not allowed to be buried inside the Mission. These Natives who were once free and roamed as hunter were caged behind walls and became growers (farmers). Still today the San Jose Mission is an active church that hold services every Sunday in the Spanish language.

 Model of what the Mission grounds would have looked like
Outside door of where the Indians would have live 

 Inside corner wall were soldiers would fight off enimies

A few days before we visit a town or city we don't know, we do our homework to find cheap and safe parking, address and location of sites we want to see by program the navigator to make sure we arrive without getting lost.