‘On The Road With psugator02′ – Spring Training Road Trip – Day 2
Sunday, March 13
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
A lot in the morning…not much from 11-3 and then a lot in the late afternoon. If you’re looking for current MLB guys then you won’t think I had a lot of success today. But if you like graphing former players then you’d probably have just as much fun as I did. Would’ve done even better if we had gone directly to the Indians’ side after doing Reds’ minors. But we went to the Reds’ side and missed some of the Indians who were getting on the bus for the away game. Still no complaints from me especially considering I didn’t even buy a ticket to the game. By the way, it was Reds vs. Angels and the Angels brought what amounted to a Triple-A team. It sounds like a bad game but supposedly all of the Reds today were required to sign for season-ticket holders. I have no reason to doubt the grapher who told me the story. But the locals I was graphing with didn’t know of the event so how was I to know? LOL
Barry Larkin: 1/1 (8×10), 1/1 (SS of ROMLB with “1995 MVP” inscription) in blue ink pen, 0/1 leaving the lot in his car…couldn’t have been cooler. I would’ve gone for the photo op but I was running around trying to pick off other guys. Asked him for a sleeper hitter/pitcher in the Reds’ system and he wouldn’t budge, insisting that all of the minors were worthy of being on my fantasy team. Sure, Barry
Delino DeShields: 2/2 (DK, ’92 UD All-Star Fanfest set, which I may complete one day) in blue Sharpie. I asked DeShields the same fantasy-baseball question and he started naming every player on the Akron team he will manage in ’11. Guy was VERY difficult in Vero back in the 1990s
Tom Browning: 2/2 (SS of ROMLB, both with “Perfect Game” inscription) in blue ink pen. Guy couldn’t have been cooler
Jorge Orta: 7/7, 1/1 help (cards) in blue Sharpie. Guy is such a good signer that I really wish I had the ’82 World Series image of him being called safe in the ’82 World Series. That play — and botched call — changed the tone of the entire Series
Ken Griffey: 1/1 (Topps card from the 1980s)….Guy is a real trip. Really wish I had videotaped exactly what he said. Something about how he’s now retired and retired players don’t have to sign autographs. Also overheard him tell a story to a coach in the dugout. Couldn’t make out the whole thing, just Griffey defining ‘bidness”
Dontrelle Willis: 1/1 (’08 Ginter), 1/1 (SI for a member), 1/1 (2003 Marlins’ team photo with Sergio Mitre now the only missing graph of the 16 players). The eight graphers there claimed I jumped in front of Willis’ car, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I simply tried to get Willis to stop his car. I kept asking him what he remembered from his days with the Marlins. Oddly enough, he wouldn’t even acknowledge that he ever played for the Marlins. Maybe he’s bitter that they let him go. Real nice dude
Jay Bruce: 0/1 while driving out of the parking lot. I thought he would stop considering I was standing next to a 20-year-old boy in a wheelchair
Aroldis Chapman: 0/1 while driving out of the lot. I usually don’t berate local graphers but four of them followed Chapman to his apartment complex when they realized that he wasn’t going to sign. That is VERY uncool. The one couple who followed him even had an infant with them. I will never know how they, in their Honda Accord, even caught up to Chapman, who looked to be driving a Ferrari.
Jonny Gomes: 1/1 (’06 Ginter) in blue Sharpie. Traded an extra Jeremy Hermida to another grapher for the Gomes Ginter and I’m glad I did or I would’ve had nothing for him. Again, it helped that I was standing next to the boy in the wheelchair.
Eric Davis: 1/1 (baseball book YEAH BABY), 1/1 (Phillies’ regular-season program duel with Kent Tekulve), 1/1 help (Orioles’ spring training magazine from the late 1990s). I tried telling Davis that I was from Fort Lauderdale in the hopes that he would do a second. He replied: “Why does where you are from have anything to do with me signing another item for you? If you want me to sign a second for you, then just ask.” Real cool dude. I asked him what he thought of Florida’s chances in the NCAA Tournament. “They’re going to drown.” His pick to win the whole thing? Duke.
Grady Sizemore: 0/1 … After doing Reds’ minors I walked over to the side where the Reds’ majors practice. For some reason, they never came out. So I walked over to the side where the Indians’ majors practice and just Sizemore.
Chris Perez: didn’t need him. But this dude might be one of the coolest in all of MLB. Said he missed the University of Miami alumni game this year because he was already in Arizona working out
Mike Leake: signed but I didn’t need him
Drew Stubbs: Signed, but I didn’t realize who it was until he was already gone
Asdrubal Cabrera: 0/1…tried him leaving in his car. He had the window down and there were only three graphers there but he wouldn’t do it
Homer Bailey: 0/1 while in his car leaving the parking lot.
Johnny Cueto: 0/1 while leaving in his car
George Foster: 1/1 (SS of ROMLB with “1977 NL MVP” inscription) in blue ink pen. Didn’t want to pay to get into the game so talked an usher into admitting me for a few minutes (I had to give him my ID) so I could get Foster.
And for the story of the day …
Told Dave, the boy in the wheelchair I had been graphing with for a few hours, that I was only going to stay a few more minutes. “I’m leaving whenever you leave” was Dave’s response. “4:15 and I’m done,” I told him. Well a player in a white car, maybe a Mustang, drove past us and waved. We had no idea who it was. I mentioned that it looked an awful lot like Brandon Phillips, but I wasn’t too sure considering the car had Minnesota plates. Dave had been getting minor leaguers on his hat so I encouraged him to get this person on the hat, too. “Couldn’t hurt,” I told him. So he wheeled himself over to the car., which was now parked. Dave came back with a big grin on his face. We both figured out that it was, indeed, Phillips. I walked over to his car very slowly and asked him if he would also mind signing what I had. I think most of you read about my troubles last year with Phillips. This year, however, my experience with him couldn’t have been more different. He thanked me for asking for his autograph, shook my hand, and wished me well. I had such a good experience that I really wanted to document everything with a picture. Phillips didn’t have a problem doing the picwith. Before he got back in his car I even gave him a ball to sign. I had debated whether he was ball-worthy — I only brought 28 balls with me to Arizona — but now it didn’t even matter. The ball would be proof of an amazing experience. I knew he had been in an All-Star game so I asked if he would inscribe that on the ball. Before I left I stopped to talk to one of Phillips’ friends. It happened to be his brother. I made sure his brother knew that I really appreciated what Brandon had done. “Yeah, he (Brandon) is a real cool dude,” his brother told me.
Brandon Phillips: 1/1 (’08 Ginter), 1/1 (SS of ROMLB with “#4” and “ASG” inscription), picwith
Not a bad haul