Saturday, March 15, 2014



9 Mar
Game 10
Indians vs Brewers

After a two day break, I was back at the ball park. As I walked to the Indians practice, not one but two balls passed under the fence right in front of me. I saw that as good things to happen the rest of the day. as I got closer to the field I saw Terry Francona signing autographs. He had his own pen (black sharpie) and walking down the fence signing for fans. I jumped in and got him on his 2005 Topps. Lonnie Chisenhall was next to exit the field and he sign his 2012 Topps Heritage. I was able to add two more autographs to my 2013 AL Wild Card photo Mike Aviles and when I walked to the minor league field batting practice I got Carlos Santana. At the game Asdrubal Cabrera was right in front of me, but he signed for the kids around me, better luck next time. Three down two to go to complete the photo, I'll keep working on it and hopeful by the end of spring it will be done. When at the game, I did add two more autographs to today's total, I got Charles Nagy 1993 Topps and after his pre-game broadcast Rich Manning 1987 Topps. After the game I got Carlos Moncrief to sign a 5x7 photo.

Terry Francona
 Mike Aviles
 David Murphy

There was a lot of Indians signing at the game too. I either already got them or did not have anything for them to sign. I'm no where as prepared as I thought I was... I need more than 1 or 2 cards of a player. Since I had nothing, I took pictures of them signing for fans.

Lonnie Chisenhall
 Danny Salazar
 Justin Sellers
(newly acquired from the Dodgers on Mar 2nd)
 Check out Justin's Tattoos

For the game the good guy won 4-2 in front of 5,802 improving to 9-1-1. Josh Tomlin looked great and ready to be in the starting rotation. Tomlin scattered 3 hits over 4 inning sticking out 5. He finished the 4th strong by striking out the side. Asdrubal Cabrera was 2 for 2 with 1 run and Justin Sellers was 2 for 3 with 1 RBI. 
Today's Autographs

10 Mar 
Game 11
Indians vs Angels
 A perfect day for baseball in Arizona

No big name Angels made the trip to Goodyear, so I worked on Indians autographs. I wanted to challenge myself today by getting autographs of Indians who played in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) this past winter that I took picture of during the season. I arrived at Indians practice and there was a lot of people... you can tell spring break has started. After the pitchers workout some of them came to the fence to sign Zach McAllister 2013 Topps, (2) Josh Tomlin 2010 Bowman Draft, and 2010 Topps Udpated and (2) Justin Masterson 2010 Topps and 2011 Topps. I counted and stopped at 70 people (but there was more) and Justin Masterson stayed and sign for everyone and when he was finished he even stayed, talked and took pictures with the fans. When he arrived at the game, he did the same thing. I have to say by far he is the nicest all a round guy I have meet this spring.

Josh Tomlin
Justin Masterson
(at the practice field)
Justin Masterson
( before the game)

At the game, the first person I saw was Katie Witham (STO broadcaster) and she signed a 5x7 photo for me and inscribed it "To: Russ My favorite Tribe fan OXOX". I told her I follower her on twitter and she told me all the trouble she had getting into Arizona yesterday. Her flight delayed, rent-a-car issues and her hotel room was taken. Despite all that she was on the field doing her job the next day.

I got another STO broadcaster Rick Manning 1985 Topps. Mike Hargrove was in uniform and in the dugout, but he did not sign before or after the game. Then, the players came onto the field, this is when I worked on my personal challenge. Tyler Naquin and Joey Wendle came over after dropping their bag off in the dugout and signed their AFL 5x7 photo, after the game Tony Wolters would also come over and sign his AFL 5x7 photo ... Challenge completed! The Tribe's first baseman Nick Swisher stopped by for a few fans before stretching and I was in the right place today, I got him on a 2013 Topps.  A note to all autograph collector looking to get Nick Swisher on a baseball on the Sweetspot or below logos, he don't. One guy asked Nick to sign on the sweetspot and Nick replayed, "I haven't done that for years". One of the few pitchers I have not gotten yet came down the line at the same time Swisher was going up and I thought I might miss him, but Carlos Carrasco walked around Swisher and came back to sign his 2006 Bowman Futures Game card. When Carlos was done signing for everyone, he sat on the fence and was talking to kids. Before going in the dugout he gave all the kids a high-five. Another class act player.

Nick Swisher
 Carlos Carrasco

During the game I saw someone two rows down in front of me and I knew I seen this guy before. As the game went on, I remember I saw him this morning at the Indians minor league practice. He was Alex Lavisky (catcher in the Indians system and an OHIO boy) sitting with friends taking in the Tribe game like the rest of us. I don't like asking for players autographs when they are not "on the job". I waited until after the game when he stood up to leave and I asked him nicely if he could sign a card for me, and he did on a 2011 Topps Pro Debut. I thanked him for his time and one of the friends he was with did not know he had a baseball card. She asked me if she could take a picture of it with her cellphone. I thought it was funny and let her take the picture. Some fans saw me get his autograph and ask who was that, they had no idea who he was.

Alex Lavisky

For the game the Tribe lost 8-3 in front of 4,263 stopping a 9 game winning streak (plus one tie) dropping their spring record to 9-2-1. Danny Salazar must have been on a pitch count as he was taken out after 1.2 inning with the base loaded. It would have been nice to see if he could have worked himself out of trouble, but save the arm for the long season. Trevor Bauer did not look good at all, he went 2 inning with 7 hits, 7 Runs (6 earned) and 1 strikeout while his ERA ballooned to 10.29 for the spring. The good news is the bullpen came in and put up zeros the rest of the game while Jason Kipnis went 3 for 3 with 1 RBI.

Another double digit autograph day 13 total, 9 cards and 4 photos.
Today's Autographs

11 Mar 
Game 12
Reds vs Giants 

Today, I put up a big fat goose egg for autographs. Days like this bring me down and let me know I'm no where near as prepared as I thought I was. It's my first full spring and I will take it as a lesson learned for next year.

For the game the Giants won 8-5 in front of 5,736 fans. Billy Hamilton looks to be a good replacement in center filed for Choo who left via free agent. Hamilton was 1-3 with a walk, double, run, RBI and had a bang-bang play at first on a bent attempt were he was called out. Today's game was also the first time I have seen the pitchers swing the bat. Reds pitchers looked, how can I say... pitchers. They were a combined 0-2. The Giant pitchers looked good, Tim Hudson was 2-2 with 2 run, double and picked up the win. The Giants hero of the game was no other than the 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey. He went 3-3 with run, double, home run, 3 RBI's and threw out a base stealer.

Eric Davis
 Mat Latos
 Brandon Phillips
Aroldis Chapman
Hunter Pence
 Buster Posey
 Couple SF Giants Hats

12 Mar
Game 13
Indians vs Padres

Woke up to read the Indians starting line up and today was the first cuts to shrinking the roster to 52 it was a sad day for a lot of the invitees. Today the Indians sent 12 player to minor league camp. I and maybe even most of the players knew they were not going to make it to the bigs this year. Minor league games start this Friday and I'm sure these players will be needed.

With the zero autograph yesterday, I wanted to redeem myself, so I went to the Indians practice. It was a low day, but better than zero. I got a total of 5 cards and 1 ball. The 5 cards are Rick Manning 1988 Fleer, Lonnie Chisenhall 2013 Topps, Mike Aviles 2008 Topps (RC), Jason Kipnis 2013 Bowman and Nick Swisher 2014 Topps.

The Padres visit Goodyear only once this year and they had no star players making the trip, so I stopped by the minor league practice before heading to the game. As I arrived, a foul ball landed right in front of me. Michael Brantley was there is see his cousin Justin Brantley throw live pitching. As Micheal was walking back to the complex I asked for his autograph, but he said "I have to get to work". He just finished batting practice and I over heard him say he was not playing today and had the rest of the day off. Then, 2 seconds later I saw him signing for other people. I like Micheal as a player and what he dose on the field, but off the field is a different story. I have been asking for his autograph almost everyday for the last 5 weeks and his is the only regular position starter who has not signed for me. The minor league practice was not a total loss, I was able to get Clint Frazier on a ROMLB.

For the game-
Indians catchers duo of Santana and Gomes lead the way with Santana 2 run home run in the first and Gomes bases loaded walk in the 3rd. Santana also had some tough plays at third base look easy. If he keeps that up, he will be the starting third baseman.Corey Kluber came apart in the fourth allowing the Padres to tie the game at 3-3. Nyjer Morgan speed lead to another run in the Indians fourth when he beat out a bunt and the third basemen threw the ball into the stands, moving Morgan to second. The pitcher threw the ball in the dirt and Morgan took off for third when the catcher threw the ball to third in landed in left field allowing Morgan to score. In the outfield, he also ran a down  few balls that was heading to the gap to keep the game close. Keep that up and he will find himself on the roster. The young guys are fun to watch and today they did not disappoint. As a group they lead the comeback by putting up 7 runs in the 8th and closed out the 12-7 win in front of 3,265 fan. The future for the Tribe looks good.

Today's Autographs

13 Mar
Game 14
Indians vs Royals

I saw that the Royals was starting Norichika Aoki and I wanted his autograph since 2005. When he played for Yakult Swallows in Japan he was a superstar and I could not get anywhere near him without a crowd of fans and security close by. Now that he is in America it is nowhere near as bad and he came over and sign on a Shikishi (rice paper laminated to a hardboard backing). I then made my way to the Indians side of the read to sit down and take in the game. Then, players just started coming to fans. I had to jump out of my seat and open my bag to get my cards and pictures. First was Justin Sellers, he had a black sharpie from the last person he signed and signed my 5x7 photo of him in a Dodgers uniform. It did not turn out that good, so I might reprint it and try again, but it still an autograph. Next was 3 players just walking down signing Mike Hargrove 1985 Topps, Trevor Bauer 2013 Bowman and (2) Josh Tomlin 2010 Bowman Draft and 2010 Topps Updated. Justin Masterson was signing again today, but I have already got everything I have of him signed already this spring. After the game started I saw George Brett in the Royals dugout. I don't know if he signed before the game or not. I thought he gave up his job as the hitting coach. He might have been a guest coach like Mike Hargrove was for the Tribe.

POW-MIA seat at Goodyear Ballpark
Norichika Aoki
 George Brett

For the game-
Again, the young guys lead the comeback the same way they have all spring. In the 7th trailing 5-3 they put up 4 run and in the 8th added 5 more to win the game 12-6 in front of 4,051 and improving the Tribes record to 12-2-1.
Today's Autographs

14 Mar

Today is a day full of minor league baseball. The Indians and Reds minor league teams played each other. The AAA and AA teams played at the Indians complex while the A and low A played at the Reds complex. I started at the Reds and saw 4 inning of the two games where Clint Frazier was 2-2 with a run before I left to go to the Indians complex. I saw the last 4 inning of the AAA and AA games. During the game I got a foul ball "Official Ball Arizona League" with the MiLB logo. After the game I got 4 autographs, one of Anthony Gallas on a custom Kent State alumni 5x7 photo. I told Anthony that I was working on all Kent State player custom alumni photos and he wanted to see them, but I told him I don't carry them with me. He was cool to add his college uniform number vice his current jersey number which was a plus. Next I got (2) Chun-Hsiu Chen 2011 Bowman Prospect. It was the first time he sign in English for me, the other times was Chinese. Lastly, not sure if it was because he was sent to the minors or if it was because only two people asking for his autograph, but Francisco Lindor finally stopped to sign for fans instead of walking past fans. I got him on a  2013 Topps Pro Debut. The only Indian's player that I have asked for an autograph and still have not gotten at least one this spring is no other than Micheal Brantley.

Today's Autographs

Tonight was a Reds night game, but the RV park is having it's last dance of the season with a lot of the people leaving next week. I did not go to the game and instead said our goodbye until the next time we meet.

15 Mar
Game 15
Indians vs D-Backs

With the visiting team the REAL home in Arizona the fans came in bulk with 8,808 fans in totals to see their D-Backs beat my Indians 4-2. I saw Paul Goldschmidt for the first time live and he is a beast. The D-Backs have a solid foundation at first base for years to come. With the crowd so large and kid everywhere I had no chance of getting any of the D-Backs autographs I was looking for. I have decided that today was my last day of full out chasing autographs. There is two weeks left in spring training and I will still go to the games, but no longer chase autographs.

In my first full Spring Training I think I did a good job of 139 total autographs and 12 game/practice baseballs. look below to see the breakdown of all the autographs I got this spring.

Next post ... back to live-in-RV where the road will lead us to new adventures.

Autograph Total

Week 5 Total
Cards          25
Photo            7
Baseball        1
Shikishi         1


Spring Total
Cards        90
Photo        30
Baseball    15
Team logo
index card   2
SI Cover     1
Shikishi       1


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