‘On The Road With psugator02′ – May 17, 2010
Miami Gardens, Fla.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Florida Marlins
I knew it might be difficult to get a graph from Kirk Gibson, who is now the hitting coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks. But I figured that the rain might keep some graphers away, making Gibson more likely to sign if there were only a few people there. If you’ve ever graphed Sunlife Stadium then you know that opposing teams enter the field either through the dugout or through the gate between third base and left field. I guessed on the gate between third base and left field and I was actually right. Gibson finally walked onto the field about 10 minutes prior to the game. I was the only grapher to call out his name as he walked by. He had to have been only 20 or so feet from me, but he wouldn’t acknowledge me and he just kept walking.
Last year in New York City I graphed the D’backs at their hotel. I remember then that Gibson had a policy where he would only sign at the hotel on one day of the road trip. For some reason the day last year that he said he would sign I was busy doing something that actually wasn’t related to baseball (I know that may come as a shock to most of you LOL) and couldn’t make it to the hotel. So I knew that getting Gibson this night might be a bit difficult, especially considering that I was with the girlfriend, who was in no mood to wait an hour for the opposing players to board the bus.
So when the 9th inning came around she and I positioned ourselves to where we thought would be the best location to get a graph from Gibson. But this time instead of leaving through the place he entered, Gibson chose to exit through the dugout.
Not getting Gibson this night, however, wouldn’t prove to be that big of a deal considering the D’backs had one other player I really needed and that was starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez. I had hoped to get him in the Cactus League but found Chase Field in Phoenix difficult to graph. That day I never even saw Lopez. This day, thankfully, turned out differently.
As soon as the D’backs finished their postgame celebrations on the field I tried to get the attention of a few players but to no avail. Then for some strange reason Rodrigo Lopez, the only player I needed on the entire team, started to walk toward me. I hadn’t even been shouting his name. He simply wanted to say hello to a friend. I could’ve attempted to graph the D’backs from a number of different places inside the stadium yet I picked the one place where Lopez’ friend was standing. Weird!
I couldn’t believe my eyes as Lopez walked right toward me. He shook the hand of the guy next to me and promptly did my 2006 Orioles’ team photo. It’s a dual photo with mugshots of 12 different Orioles. I already had 9 graphs done and only needed Lopez, Tejada and Benson. Lopez took the photo, looked at it for a minute and then gave me a very sweet signature. I must have thanked him five times. I get excited when I get Ginters done, but I never get this excited. It’s just neat to see a piece that you’ve worked so hard on come to fruition.
Kirk Gibson: 0/1, 0/1
Rodrigo Lopez: 1/1 (2006 Orioles team photo)