Tuesday, March 31, 2015



First, I have to start by letting you know I could not do this if not for the understand of my wife Hiromi. I asked for and received one month of the year that is solely for spring training and the other 11 months are a set of jobs, ideas, places & trips we plane out over the course of the year. Since I did nothing but attending baseball games all month, this will be my only March post. 

Another year of spring training baseball in Arizona has arrived. March is the time of year I become a kid again and live out my childhood fantasy with the hero's on the diamond. At Goodyear Ball Park, the spring training home field of the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds, for the second season in a row I received free game ticket to each game played. Goodyear Ball Park has a promotion of giving one free ticket to every game for prior and current military personnel. To show my appreciation, I have given back by volunteering seven games as an usher. Along with going to 32 games at Goodyear Ball Park, I also squeezed in 5 minor league games. 

I am and always we be a fan of the greatest game played on dirt, and like any die hard fan just watching the games is just part of the experience. The other half (for me) is attending practices to seeking out players, coaches, front office personnel and broadcasters for autographs and chasing baseballs. This year was no different and I would say I did a pretty good job.

In the 31 days of March I have tried to get autographs only 19 days. Here is the breakdown of my 158 autographs for this spring: 

138 Cards
13 Photos
5 Baseballs
1 Jersey
1 Shikishi

2 Bobbleheads Stadium Give Away

40 Practice/Game used ball (+9 Gave away to kids)

What would this look like if I tried to get autographs all 31 days,
and had baseball cards of all the minor leaguers I had to turn away?

Time to start restocking my inventory and get ready for next spring!

Some of the big name players I got autographs from, not in any special order.
  1.  The 2015 #2 MLB Prospect Cubs 3B Kris Bryant. The auto looks bad from others I got from him last year, but there was a lot more people asking for his autograph this year and he did try and sign for as many fans as he could in the short amount of time he had.
  2. All Star D Backs 1B Paul Goldschmidt. As I was getting other D Back players autographs,  Hiromi helped me get this one at the first day of D Back Spring Training Camp. Big thanks to my wife, I love you.
  3. Hall of Famer Class of 2014 Tony LaRussa. Only wish he would have signed it "HOF 14". I can't complain, added another Hall of Famer to my collection.
4. Legendary Yankee 1B and now Manager of the LA Dodgers Don Mattingly. Down right one of the nicest guy in baseball.While other players and coaches headed into the clubhouse after practice, he stayed and signed for every fan. Only one auto per person, but that's all I needed.

5. Kent State alumni and 2011 First Round Draft Pick for the D Backs LHP Andrew Chafin (My second favorite player). I bought his Reno Aces road game used jersey when I was in Reno, NV and now it's my first game used jersey autographed in my collection. I'll never forget that day.
     6. 2014 AL CY Corey Kluber, enough said! 

I'm thankful to all the players, coaches, front office personnel and broadcasters who took the time to sign for me during spring training. I have broken down the best, hardest and unexpected autographs of the spring.

To start off with the best, the nicest player, there were a few who signed a lot for me, but the best would go to 2013 First Round Draft Pick OF Clint Frazier. He is in Cleveland Indians minor league camp but autograph collectors are around him like he was in the show for years. This kid is the best, one day I was one of 40 plus people asking for his autograph and he stayed and signed everything for everyone. I hope he remains this down to earth when he makes it to the majors. These are all my Clint Frazier from this spring.

I know when seeking autographs its a game of hit and miss, but for some players it seams almost impossible. I don't like talking bad about players ... They might have signed for others this spring, but every time I asked for an autograph they would just pass me and not think twice. The hardest to get an autograph from goes to .... Joey Votto. I thought that Canadians were polite and nice people... maybe everyone else except for him.

The unexpected auto of spring training would go to Sean Casey. A former All Star 1B for the Red in the 90's and currently a broadcaster for MLB Network. After shooting a MLB Network segment I saw him leaving Goodyear Ball Park and I just happened to have one of his baseball card with me. He stopped and signed for me and his auto turned out very readable and sharp. Something of a surprise from most of the other autographs I have gotten this year.

Somethings I have seen at the ball park this spring for the first time are amazing feats on the field and some crazy act in the stands. Sadly, the two feats happened to the Indians and both happened to the same pitcher Trevor Bauer (in different games). One game against the Cubs he gave up back-to-back-to-back home runs, and they were moon shoots. In another game against the Angels he gave up four triples to five straight batters. Being a part time usher, I have seen more people fall out to heat exhaustion than I have fingers to count on. Witnessed two proposals and two ballpark weddings at home plate. Saw some die hard fans came out in full force this spring. A group of Reds fans asking some guy in an Indians shirt to take their picture. After I saw that, I asked the group if they knew who that was? I told them that was Cleveland Indians GM Chris Antonetti.   Lastly, I have ran into Kent State alumni almost everyday and have lost count. We are everywhere!

One of the weddings
 Indians fan
 Giants Fan
White Sox Fan

During spring training games there is a table set up by the main entrance that sales MLBPA autographs on photos, balls, bats and jersey. I think most of the items are over priced, by I still like to look at them. However, the Bo Jackson autographed baseball was ridiculous.

Buy it now $1,000 (WTF)

The only down side to going to a baseball game everyday is eating the stadium food. It taste good, but not very health for you. Of the 15 lbs I lost in the winter, I have gained 12 lbs back from eating hot dogs, nachos, skyline chili spaghetti and $1 soda refile all season long. I'm determined to get this extra weight off this summer. I foresee a lots of hiking and walking in my future.

Skyline Chili Spaghetti
Cincinnati Reds special, have to try everything at least once 

As spring training comes to an end and the start of the regular season is upon us my total games attended has now reached 99. My next game I'll reach the milestone of attending 100 baseball games. Looks like I will hit that mark on 9 Apr in Albuquerque, NM for the Isotopes season home opener and my first ever opening day game.

On 1 April we will start our 2015 road trip and head East. I have learned some valuable lesson from last year on how to try and keep the blog updated with limited internet access. I will post current teasers of our adventures on my Facebook account until I can get a full blog post completed. I will continue making videos of our adventures and load them on my YouTube channel. Feedback and ideas are always welcomed. Let me know what your thinking. 

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