2014 MLB SPRING TRAINING WEEK 2
Officially, a week from today (19 Feb) will be the first spring training game of the year (26 Feb). I'm looking forward to taking full advantage of Goodyear Ballpark free military tickets to every game this year. My goal is to go to all the Indians games, and I have also set aside a few games for the Reds too.
As the players were walking out to the practice fields, former Indian second baseman Carlos Baerga stopped to sign autographs, I did not think he would be there so my cards of him were in my bag. I was able to pull one out and he signed a 1991 Topps. After practice lot of the invitees signed, but by the time I found out who they were, they left. Only a few autographers was looking for them. Then, came the big names guys, most took a b-line back to the complex. However, first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr signed a 1989 Topps, Yan Gomes signed a ROMLB and Jason Kipnes signed a 2012 Topps. All the players left the field so I took a shoot at the fence by the player's parking lot. There was only four people looking for player autographs as they exited and headed for their cars. Two players came out and no one knew who they were except for me. I called over Tyler Naquin and he signed a 2013 Topps Heritage Minor and Josh Tomlin who signed a total of 6 cards (2) 2010 Bowman Draft Pick, (2) 2010 Topps Update and (2) 2011 Topps. I finished the day with 10 cards and 1 ball. Not bad for my first day back from a long weekend.
"The Fence" small cut out for players to sign in team parking lot
I arrive around 9:45am and the Reds practice looked confusing from the start. All the players and coaches was on the field, but doing nothing but looking at their watches. Finally, around 10:15am fly ball drills started. I started to feel embarrassed to watch when some of the ball coming down and players totaling missing the ball. Sometimes it looked like a little league practice. After fly ball drills, player split into four groups to the four practice fields and some players did not know where to go. How can they compete in the NL Central if they can't even get to the correct fields.
Reds training is the same place as the Indians, but the Reds are more fan friendly. The access to the practice fields are all open compared to the Indians. However, the autograph hunters are the rudest I've seen all spring. One player went to the bathroom and when he came out there was a group of guys waiting in front of the bathroom door asking him to sign as he exited. I like to collect autographs like any baseball fan, but a lot of them have no concept of private space or leaving a player alone while at work. If this kind of things continue to happen, players will stop sign all together. Besides, when players don't sign, I hear autograph hunter talking this was a wast of time. The sooner these kind of stunts stop, and start being polite players will stop and sign for you. When there is a big crowd I try and stay away, unless I really want that players autograph. But, I'm always polite and not pushing or hurting other collectors in the processes. When you try to get a players autograph can you tell the different from the fan/collector to the autograph hunter who will more than likely post the idem on eBay as soon as they get home.
With that being said, I only got one autograph today. After fielding practice and before batting practice Joey Votto stopped by the gate and signed while the coach that was giving batting practice warmed up. As Joey Votto walked down the line, I got him to signed his Aug 30, 2010 Sports Illustrated cover.
More than likely, this will be my last practices until minor leaguers report to camp. Middle of next week spring training games start. The day started slow with no big name stars signing, but ended well with my biggest one day autographs all spring. My only bad news in Francisco Lindor. Every time I try and get him to sign for me, he passes me by. I even stood by two young ladies and one older lady who got their items signed and still he just passed me by. I have to say if you are a guy over 16, good luck in getting his autograph.
For the good news lets start with pictures, total of 2 5x7 one with Jake Lowery and the other of Jesus Aguilar. Next baseballs, total of 3 two nice guys who stardom has keep then down to earth guys Yan Gomes and Tyler Naquin. Every time I ask them to sign, they do. For the other baseball, on his way to his truck, Trevor Bauer stopped and signed for the small group in the parking lot. Lastly baseball cards, in total 11.(4) Tony Walters 2011 Bowman Prospects, (4) Josh Tomlin (2) 2010 Bowman Draft Picks and (2) 2010 Topps Updated, (2) Sandy Alomar Jr (2) 1991 Score and final the Indians new right fielder from the Rangers Dave Murphy 2014 Topps. In total 16 autographs.
While I was waiting in the team parking lot, a group of autographers showed up from the Dodgers practice and told me that Sandy Koufax (who was signing all week) got hit in the head by a line drive at batting practice. By the story I read online he was doing fine.
Now all I have to do is get tickets to all the Indians games and a few selected Reds games. See ya at the ball park.
Week 2 Total
SI Cover 1
SI Cover 1