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Sights & Stories From Today’s Spring Training Action Between The Marlins & Cardinals – MUST READ!

Sights & Stories From Today’s Spring Training Action Between The Marlins & Cardinals

Today was a fantastic day for baseball.  It was sunny, but not too hot.  And there was just enough of a breeze out to keep it from feeling too humid.

I got to the stadium early this morning – around 9AM.  With only one day to make the trip to Spring Training, I wanted to take advantage of the full day and spend as much time at the ballpark as I could.

Since the game was not scheduled to start until 1:05, I had plenty of time to walk around and check out what was going on at all of the Marlins fields that makes up half of the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

The minor leaguers were out in full force, with at least 80 of them out and about.  And the big leaguers were present as well – on the main practice field.  After going through a few stretching and running drills, the major league squad split up with the offensive players going to the main stadium for practice and BP and the pitchers going to the side bullpen for their pitching session.

At the pitching session, it was a rotation of four guys throwing at the same time – and Jose Fernandez was in the bunch.  He was closest to the fence, and I literally had a front row seat as he threw 60-80 pitches.  The fence at this area of the field is extremely high, and unfortunately my pictures came out awful.

When he was done, the group that assembled (about 10 of us) asked if he would sign but he said he had to go do some running.  He did, however, open up the gate between the players and the fans and shove five balls he used during his session through to us.  I was lucky enough to grab one!!


That is a ball that was used by the reigning NL ROY – Pretty cool!!!

Instead of standing around and wait to see if he was going to return and sign for us, I opted to head towards the main stadium to see if I could get anything going there.  The main stadium is not open to the public for practice or BP, but I have learned where to stand as the players have to walk by where I was to get from the stadium to the clubhouse.

I saw almost everyone – Salty, Lucas, Solano, Redmond, Mathis, Hechavarria, Yelich, Ozuna, and then my main man walked through the outfield wall and headed right towards me!!!

Giancarlo Stanton!!!  He was very nice – I asked if he could sign for me as I was the only one around and he waved me over.  He quickly grabbed my pen and signed my ball.  I thanked him for taking the time to do that for me and I wished him well and good luck during the 2014 baseball season.

Here is the signed ball!!!


I may have missed Fernandez, but I got the guy I was truly seeking – and the auto is crisp and clean!!

After that, it was game time.

Henderson Alvarez was on the hill for the Marlins.


And Adam Wainwright was on the mound for the Cardinals.  My picture of him came out way too blurry so I will skip posting it here.

But, here is a picture of the new 3B coach for the Marlins – Mr. Brett Butler:


I was able to walk around to all areas of the park – so I snapped pics throughout the game.

Here are a few more:


Yadier Molina


My man Stanton at the plate, with Molina catching:


The day was fun, lots of fun.  I only get to do this once a year, and I really enjoyed myself today.

I’m a little sun-burned, and a little tired.  But, it was a great day – I got to see my boy Giancarlo Stanton up close.  I got to watch Jose Fernandez pitch.  And the Marlins beat the Cardinals 7-3.

The only thing that would have made this better would have been if my wife and kids could have joined me but it is not Spring Break yet and I don’t think pulling them out of school for the day to go to Spring Training would go over too well…

Oh, I also saw Andre Dawson, but it was just for a minute.  He was moving from field to field during practice and I waved to him.  He waved back, but I am not certain that he recognized me…  Otherwise, I know he would have come over to say ‘Hello’..  LOL

I am so ready for the season to get underway – today was a great kickstart to the 2014 season for me!!!

Thanks for reading.

Tomorrow, I Go To Jupiter!!!

Tomorrow, I Go To Jupiter!!!

Coincidentally, the anniversary of my employment at my workplace is during Spring Training.  And in my world, if you do not use your vacation time when your anniversary hits, your hours are wiped out and the clock resets itself.

In a nutshell, this means that I have 8 hours of PTO remaining that must be used by the middle of next week.  Normally, I save a day or two just in case one of my kids gets sick and I need to take a day or two off, but it looks like I am clear now as everyone is feeling great.

So, what is a guy to do?

I’ll tell you what this guy is gonna do.  He’s going to Jupiter, Florida to catch himself a full-days worth of Miami Marlins Spring Training action.  The fish play the Cardinals at 1:00 so I will catch a few innings of the game.  But, I will get there much earlier than that.  I love the Jupiter complex and enjoy walking around taking in all of the action.

Hopefully I will be able to see some of the players on the side fields go through their drills before the game starts.  And since not all of the guys will be playing in the game, I am hoping to be able to see some of the ‘main roster’ players during their workouts.

It should be fun.  It should be hot.  And I cannot wait.

And if I am able to snap some good pictures while there, I will surely share them with you when I return.

Happy Friday to me!!

Marlins logo spring training

‘On The Road With psuGator02′ – Cardinals Team Event w/Albert Pujols – February 26, 2011

‘On The Road With psuGator02′ – Cardinals Team Event w/Albert Pujols – February 26, 2011

Cardinals’ season-ticket signing
Roger Dean Stadium
5:55 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday, February 26

Even though I started getting texts from friends at 11 p.m., I told myself that there was no way I was going to wait in line overnight even if that meant only making it through one line. I was halfway through the McGwire line when time lapsed. I wouldn’t do anything differently, though, as the only guy in the third line I needed was Holliday and all I had for him was cards, and I can get those done anytime. If I were anyone else, I’d probably be upset that I wasn’t able to get McGwire but I’ve gotten him a lot this spring and will most likely get him a few more times before ST ends. All my help wanted was for me to buy him breakfast and lunch. Can’t beat that. I do, however, have a problem with the way the event is organized. Those who arrived early added their ‘friends’ to the list. Those ‘friends’ didn’t even show up until very late, yet they were still allowed to cut the line.

One simple solution: pass out wristbands the night before, then line everyone up by number the day of the event. I told a Roger Dean employee that something better needed to be figured out for next year. His response was that fans were responsible for policing themselves.

P.J. Walters: was supposed to be the very first player in the Pujols line but either he wasn’t there or I missed him
Skip Schumaker: 1/1  in blue Sharpie, 1/1 help  in blue Sharpie
Ryan Theriot: 1/1 in blue Sharpie, 1/1 help (card) in blue Sharpie
Ian Snell: 2/2 (’08 Ginter and ’08 Ginter Delaware), 1/1 help (’08 Ginter) in blue Sharpie…….still a great signer
Jason Motte: 1/1 (’09 Ginter) in blue Sharpie, 1/1 help (’09 Ginter) in blue Sharpie…Tried to give him two more. “I think we’re only supposed to do one.”

Albert Pujols: 1/1 (Kings and their Castles poster) in blue Sharpie, 1/1 help (11×14 SI image) in blue Sharpie…..rookie mistake: had ridged cardboard under the poster…..look closely enough and you can see the ridges in Pujols’ graph. Probably would have been better had I put a toploader or something thicker under the poster. Sharpie also skipped a tad though it’s barely noticeable. The photo was thick so the graph came out fine even though the cardboard was under it…. Funny story: my adopted sister’s brother helped me. He knows nothing about baseball or autographs. He wasn’t sure what to do with the photo I had given him so he asked me for help. Albert heard him and got pissed for some odd reason. “This photo is for you (me) and not for him?” I told him that he was my brother, then asked why it mattered. I guess that ticked off Albert and he gave me what looks like his ballpark graph. Guy is a real tool. I had two tickets so why does it matter who keeps the graphs?

Had a late lunch at my favorite Jupiter restaurant. You guessed it. McGwire walked in as we were walking out. We stayed in the car for almost an hour. Seemed like he was taking a long time to eat so my brother went back in to purchase a soda. McGwire was still inside. My friend made eye contact with McGwire’s wife. She must have said something to Mark about my friend recognizing him. Instead of leaving out the front door, McGwire must have left through the kitchen. There’s absolutely no way we could have missed him because our eyes were glued to the door the whole time he was inside. Would have been nice to get two more graphs from him. But I can’t complain because I’ve done pretty well with him the last few weeks.

‘On The Road With psuGator02′ – Cardinals Camp – February 12, 2011

‘On The Road With psuGator02′ – Cardinals Camp – February 12, 2011

8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Roger Dean Stadium
Jupiter, Fla.
Saturday, Feb. 12

It had been so long since I had seen a baseball thrown or batted that I had to arrive early. Just like my buddy had said, none of the players signed going in and, unfortunately, few signed going out. It didn’t help that there must have been 25 graphers there and most appeared to be dealers. A complete waste of time, in my opinion, if you consider the time expended. But one event flamed out while I didn’t get concrete info on another. So I was left to graph the Cardinals. Had Molina not stopped it would’ve been a total failure.

Red Schoendienst: 0/1 going in, 0/1 going out though he did wave….A D-list HOFer turned me down and turned me down twice. I love it LOL
Colby Rasmus: 0/1..sort of shocked at this one. I’ve never seen him not sign. I should say, though, that every time he’s signed for me he’s ALWAYS been with a HOT woman….No woman today
Kyle Lohse: 0/1 going in, 0/1 going out….Only way I’ll get him is at the team signing. A newbie asked a local if Lohse signed and the local didn’t even comment, just laughed
Chris Carpenter: 0/1 going in, 0/1 going out
Robert Stock: 0/1 going out…probably would’ve stopped but wasn’t recognized until it was too late
Jaime Garcia: 2/2  in blue Sharpie….He was 1-per but I gave him two, and I think that’s the reason he may have smeared the second
Jake Westbrook: 1/1 (minor-league card)….he was personalizing everything that wasn’t a card….I’m sure people out there are going to make a mint off signed photos of this guy that aren’t personalized.
Yadier Molina: 1/1 (’08 Ginter) in blue Sharpie….been the bane of my existence these last few years….Can’t tell you how many times he’s turned me down when my item was in his face. Even when he has signed he’s given total crap. Not sure what was going on today but not only was he way cool but he took his time with the graph and even would have done a second. I got a bit excited when I looked at the finished graph. THANKS YADI
Jason Motte: 0/1 while jogging…..I left at 12:30 p.m. and he was the only Cardinal still inside the clubhouse. I knew he would’ve done everything I had if I had waited but I was cold and hungry so I left….He looks great, having shaved the beard and lost some weight

Not going back until public workouts begin…..

Check Out What I Won…

Hey, I won another contest.  This one was pure luck.  All I had to do was submit my name into the ‘virtual hat’ to get entry.  Usually I don’t fare well in these kinds of contests but that didn’t stop me from entering this one as it was held by Chemgod of Bad Wax, one of my daily stops in the blogosphere.

But this time my name was pulled and I won!!!  Check out the prize: 


As you know, I don’t know much about newer cards and this is no exception.  The card is numbered 10/25 and is of future Marlins slugger Logan Morrison.  At 21 years of age, Morrison already has 4 years of minor league experience under his belt.  He has shown flashes of power with a knack for belting home runs.  In the 2007 and 2008 seasons, he combined to hit 37 dingers.  And his batting skills are getting sharpened while in the minors too – he went from hitting .267 in 2007 to a very surprising .332 in 2008.

Thanks for the great contest Mike!!

My Florida Marlins Spring Training Report – Part #8 – The Recap

All in all, I had a great time at my first Spring Training practice event.  I would have enjoyed the access that many fans had on prior days, but I cannot complain as I know I am taking home a sack full of memories from this day.

When so much of baseball’s talk is focused on the guys that are messing up the game, it is a wonderful feeling to know that there are just as many, if not more, guys out there that are willing to do the little things to bring the fans back to baseball.

If I had to re-live this experience again the only thing I would change would be the day of the week that I attended and next time I would put on a little sunscreen before leaving the house.

Now I am just waiting for one more thing – Please, somebody please yell – “PLAY BALL”


My Florida Marlins Spring Training Report – Part #7 – More Marlins Autographs…

My luck with getting close to the players didn’t exist.  These guys went out of their way to say hello and sign for the few of us that patiently waited.

I missed adding a few of them to my helmet as the fence prohibited me from passing it to them, but I got some great autographed cards for my Marlins collection.

The guys:  Coach Freddie Gonzalez, Burke Badenhop, Alfredo Amezaga, Chris Volstad, Ricky Nolasco(2), and Jorge Cantu.



My Florida Marlins Spring Training Report – Part #6 – Dan Uggla Is The Best!!!

The lone member of the media at practice was the MLB Network.  None of their big-name, on-air talent was there but I did chat it up with a few of their workers.  The lady that appeared to be in charge told me that she was conducting 2 interviews – the first was going to be Dan Uggla.

Around 1:00, Uggla made his way out of the clubhouse and headed for the makeshift interview area that they had set up.  But first he made a little detour and signed for about 6 of us that stood waiting for him.

I was the last one to get him, and I put myself into a position to talk to him for a minute.

Our Dialogue:

30-Year Old Cardboard – Hey Dan, on a personal note, I sent you a picture of me and my son that we got taken with you at the FanFest a few weeks ago.  I wanted to let you know that I got the picture last night at home and it looks great.  I cannot ‘Thank You’ enough for doing that for us.  It really means a lot to me, and I appreciate you taking the time to send it back to me so quickly.

Dan Uggla – Oh yeah, I remember that.  I’ m glad it turned out well.

30-YOC – Thanks again Dan.  As a dad I cannot tell you how special that piece is to me.  Best of luck this season!

DU – No problem.  See you at the ballpark. 


Right after signing these 2 beauties for me, he was off to his interview for the MLB network. 


And then he was gone…

My Florida Marlins Spring Training Report – Part #5 – Meeting Andre Dawson Again!!

I got to the field at 7:40 in the morning.  After finding a good parking spot, I headed for the main gate which passes by the main entrance and player parking lot.  There sitting in the first spot was a gorgeous, White Range Rover with incredible rims and chrome accents.  As soon as I saw the license plate, I knew that Andre Dawson was on the premises!!!

I saw Andre go back and forth through the clubhouse doors to the main field a few times.  And when I got into the stadium for those brief minutes, I quickly spotted him standing along the third base line chatting with a few of the guys.

Around 11:00, I was talking to my new buddy on the security staff when Andre and another coach left the field and headed for the clubhouse.  I called out his name and he waved.  I took that as him saying hello to me and was cool with that.  I have to say that it was awesome to see him in a uniform again.  Flashbacks to his days with the Expos and Cubs raced through my head.

As it got closer to Noon, the players all started heading into the clubhouse, probably for lunch.  At this time, almost all of the other fans had bailed on the Marlins and went to try to see Albert Pujols and the Cardinals…

Again, I was chatting with the security guard when out walks Andre Dawson by himself in his street clothes.  I waited for him and then quickly introduced myself to him and asked if he remembered me from the Homestead stop on the Marlins caravan tour from a few weeks ago.  We chatted a bit as he walked to his car and even told the security guard that it was ok that I followed him into the ‘Players Only’ parking lot.

I asked for his autograph, and he signed 2 beautiful cards for me.  I also told him that I mailed a special package to his foundation of the picture of he and I and asked if he would sign it for me.  He stated ‘No Problem’.

And then I hit him with the question – ‘Would he consider doing an interview for my blog?’  We spoke about my blog a few weeks ago when we met for the first time.  And I reminded him of it again.  I told him that in the package I sent was a piece of paper that would introduce him to ’30-Year Old Cardboard’ and that I would love to sit down with him sometime to talk baseball.  He said he would review it and respond back to me.  He’s got my cell phone number and email address so hopefully he reaches out to me.  I have my fingers crossed on this, and the list of great questions I have for Andre are overflowing my brain right now.  I really hope this works out!!! 


My Florida Marlins Spring Training Report – Part #4 – Tony Perez

Of all of the guys I saw come and go throughout the day, there were 2 that I didn’t see at all – Jeff Conine & Tony Perez.  Both of these men work as ‘special assistants’ for the team, but I had heard that they were at camp almost every day.

Finally I saw Tony arrive, but it was well into the afternoon.  He did not park in the player’s lot.  He went straight into the loading area avoiding everyone and everything.  The only other player that I saw park in that area was Hanley Ramirez(the superstar). 

Around 2pm, we could see Hanley in his street clothes talking to a few of the guys as he was preparing to leave.  All of a sudden, the entire group of 15 or so people that were there to meet the players took off for the gate he had to exit from.

Except me.  I stood back and watched knowing that it would be close to impossible to get close to Hanley.  Lucky for me, I turned around at the right moment and acted quickly as this Hall of Famer tried to escape without me noticing.  Lucky for me it was just him and I…  I have heard that he can be kind of rude but he was pretty gracious to me…