Results tagged ‘ autograph ’
For those of you that may not know, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is by far my favorite Ranger, and probably my favorite active player period.
When the Rangers traded pitcher Edison Volquez for him in the offseason prior to the 2008 season it is was an almost instant draw. By the time Spring Training was underway the story of his personal life started to spread, locally and nationally. Before long everyone knew of his trials and struggles with his own personal demons. Eventually, an autobiography (which is a great book by the way) even came out of the whole thing.
Josh was an instant fan favorite, getting thunderous applause every time he came to the plate in Arlington. He would do countless speaking engagements to tell his testimony to children, adults, anyone who would listen actually. I remember after one particular Sunday afternoon game in the spring of ’08 he and his wife Katie stayed and talked to a large crowd that filled the right field seats, just to have an opportunity at a question and answer session with him.
Of course we all remember what he did at the 2008 Home Run Derby at the old Yankee Stadium. That alone opened up the nation’s eyes to not only his background, but also to just how good he really is.
Following the All-Star break of ’08 Josh’s numbers dipped slightly. He didn’t finish the season on the same torrid pace that he started. Few do.
2009 by all accounts was a let down for Hamilton. Amid spending numerous weeks on the disabled list for varying injuries, he only amassed 10 home runs in 89 games played. Whereas in 2008 he had 32 homers in 156 games. Add to this a midsummer escapade in an Arizona bar that had the national media as well as the internet buzzing, 2009 was a season to forget for the Great Hambino (as he’s known around here).
As we approach the midway point of the 2010 season, Hamilton looks very much on his way to a 3rd consecutive All-Star game appearance (and hopefully a 2nd Home Run Derby appearance!). In the month of June he has 17 hits in 39 at bats with 4 home runs, 15 RBI, and 10 runs scored with a .436 average in his last 10 games.
Like the title of this entry states, Hamilton is hitting his stride at just the right time.
For the season he has 71 hits in 231 at bats with 13 home runs, 42 RBI, and 39 runs scored with a .307 average. Pretty good numbers considering the season he had last year.
My outlook on Josh Hamilton is pretty simple. For a man that does not run from the chance to profess his love and admiration to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he is humble. Humble and thankful. And with myself striving to be the best christian that I can be, Hamilton with all of his own setbacks aside, gives me something to shoot for.
I purchased a 2008 Home Run Derby ball off of Ebay with the specific intention of getting Josh to autograph it. I carried it in my backpack for a year and a half and the stars finally aligned for me on Saturday May 8, 2010. If you are interested you can read a full description of the event here.
Here is the finished product….
As of today June 11, 2010 this is my most prized possession. It most likely will stay that way, but you never know what the future holds.
Well that’s it for my little Josh Hamilton appreciation entry. Those of us that get to see Josh in Arlington at any given chance need to take advantage of every possible opportunity, because none of us knows when we won’t have that chance anymore.
This game would be my friend Dirk and I’s sixth game of the 2010 season, and the first we would attend of our 16-game mini plan. There have been others prior, but for one reason or another we have not been able to make any before today.
My daughter Sarah would be accompanying us on this fine Saturday, one because I haven’t taken her to a game in a while, and two because today was Michael Young youth jersey night….
Sarah already has Ian Kinsler’s and Elvis Andrus’ from past games and really wanted to add this one to her collection, so we fought the madness which is swarming children and went anyway.
And boy am I glad we did!
First off, let me state that once again I had forgotten my camera. I hate when I do that because I almost don’t want to go when I realize this (which is usually when I’m en route to the ballpark). But I decided that if I wanted to take any photos today, they would have to be taken with my phone, so excuse the awful pictures I took, but it’s the best that I could do.
This game was a 7:05 start and the season ticket gates would open at 4:35, so we got inside as fast as we could, got Sarah’s free jersey and ran (actually walked briskly) over to the left field seats. When we got there, there weren’t many people there yet, so we could roam relatively freely for the first 30 minutes.
The Rangers were hitting and Josh Hamilton’s group had just finished when we set our stuff down. I went to the corner of the left field seats and the third baseline foul pole to check some rows on the third base side for easter eggs but found none.
It was at this time that my friend Shawn, who met us at the gate, asked me “if I had that ball?” I said “what ball?”, and began looking around me in case I had missed a ball coming into the stands. When I looked back at Shawn he was pointing towards the field directly in front of him, and when I looked that direction I saw Josh Hamilton, and knew exactly what he was talking about.
A little back story…
About a year and half ago, after the 2008 Home Run Derby, I purchased a HR derby ball off of the internet with the intention of getting it signed by Hamilton. This ball went with me to every game I attended in 2009, which was around 40, and the closest I could come was about one person away during batting practice at Minute Maid Park in Houston. I had missed it by mere seconds. This year, it has stayed in my backpack (in its box of course) for the same purpose. To this point my closest call was at a memorabilia show at the Arlington Convention Center about two weeks ago. I had heard that Josh was going to be there signing, so I went only to find out that they were charging for autographs, $50 for standard items (baseball cards, standard balls, photos, etc.) and $85 for premium items (his autobiography and the 2008 HR Derby baseball). What?! Give me a break. Just for the record, no I did not spend $85 for that autograph, I thought that was a ripoff, but people were paying it. There must have been 30-35 people getting things signed. At one point during the event I found myself standing about 3 feet from Hamilton when he asked me “What’s up?” What could I say but “nothin”. I asked if I could get a picture on my phone which of course he obliged, and that was it. I left.
Fast forward back to today…
When I noticed that it was Josh Hamilton that Shawn was referring to, I went to my backpack and got the ball out along with a pen. Hamilton was playing left field shagging ground fungos as well as fielding the BP balls. When he turned and came my way to retrieve a ball at the base of the wall I held up my ball and asked “Josh, can you sign my ball please?” He had just picked up the ball he was after and fired it back to the bucket, when he said something to the effect of “I’ve gotta work” or “I’m working”. I couldn’t tell exactly what he said, but he was grinning, so I knew he was just giving me a hard time. A second later he held up his glove.
“Oh my God! Is this really going to happen? Am I dreaming?”
That’s a short synopsis of what went through my head in the matter of about two seconds.
Here’s an old photo that I found that describes the scene….
The (1) in the photo shows where Hamilton was, and the (2) shows where I was (pretty much).
When Josh held his glove up I tossed him the ball and then the pen, and he signed it and tossed me the ball first and the pen second. Neither of my friends had cameras, and none of us even thought of using our phones. It all happened so fast that it just seemed surreal, you know? But when it was all over I had this in my hand….
In case you’re wondering, the writing below the signature is a Bible verse, Psalm 62: 5,6,7. When I had secured the ball, I thanked him of course, then proceded to give Dirk and Shawn high fives as well as an overly excited hug to my daughter Sarah.
The realization of the moment was starting to sink in. This was not just a big deal to me, but Sarah was wanting this just as much as I was, and looking back on my previous close calls with Hamilton there was one thing missing, Sarah. The fact that she was with me when I was able to get this ball signed means so much to me that I can hardly put it into words, and even as I type this I’m getting a little misty-eyed. Now I know some of you are probably thinking “Geez, it’s just an autograph”, but to Sarah and I it’s more than that. It’s been a journey, a quest of sorts, and to have my daughter with me when its accomplished, well I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Needless to say I didn’t care what else happened after that, and it’s a good thing since we didn’t get anything. That’s okay though, even a batting practice shutout couldn’t diminish this day!
The game itself was good. It was close all game and the Rangers pulled it out 3-2. Our seats were in the 3rd level on the first base side. Here’s an idea of where they were….
…. in another old photo. The red arrow in the 3rd level is in the first row. They really aren’t bad seats, but from a snagging perspective they aren’t very good. We stayed in those seats until the end of the 2nd inning when we decided to go to the kid’s area in centerfield so Sarah could play around some.
Being that is was youth jersey day you can probably imagine how may kids were out there. But that’s okay, I was out there for Sarah.
We weren’t able to sit in the lower level on the 3rd base side like we normally do, because there were just too many people over there and every usher was checking tickets. So we found a concession stand on the 2nd level that’s enclosed and has televisions, so we got some nachos and relaxed for an inning or so.
By the 8th inning we moved out to the bleachers in left centerfield and stood to the back, one to actually watch the game live, and two because I really wanted to get on tv. I had found a shirt online that I thought for sure would do the trick. Here it is….
I know the picture sucks, but it was from my camera and I was in a tunnel. (Thanks to Alan Schuster and mygameballs.com for coming out with this shirt. Check out what else they have here.
Well, apparently it didn’t work because I had told a couple people prior to the game what I was wearing and they said the cameras never showed me. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep wearing it.
I took a couple photos from out there, but I don’t want to subject you to anymore phone pics.
Well, maybe just one more….
What a way to cap off an already great day!
Time of game: 2hrs. 43mins.
Next Game: Wed. 5/12 against the A’s
UPDATE – Yesterday I took another photo of the ball (with my camera this time) and I wanted to share it, so here you go….
My daughter , Sarah, is a member of the Junior Rangers Club, and with that membership she was given 8 free ticket vouchers for this season. If I want to purchase additional tickets with her voucher, they are $12.50, instead of the normal $25 price. The vouchers are for specific dates, and the next date was this one. Sunday, June 28 against the Padres.
They are section specific also. We can use them for sections 201-210 on the second level, which 201 is the first section in straight away left field, then it goes progressively around toward the LF foul pole & 210 is just inside the foul line. Our seats for this game were in 206 row 1, straight down the 3B line.
It was a 7:05 start, so that means the gates would open at 5:05, which also means that batting practice would be going on right in the heat of the day. Great. I can handle it, but Sarah can’t take it that well, and I was also there with my friend Dirk & his daughter Kaitlyn, who is 7, and she doesn’t need that much heat either.
The weather in Texas has been between 99-101 for the last week or so, & I thought about skipping this game, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to go again (for financial reasons), so we went anyway.
We got inside the stadium and over to the left field seats just minutes after the gates opened, and saw this….
What you can’t tell from this photo, is that no one was hitting. And, these were the only players on the field. I don’t know why, surely it wasn’t too hot for them!
Thankfully, when I got to the LF seats and looked down into the gap, I saw this….
What a beautiful sight!
Now, to be honest, that photo is actually of a ball that Dirk got a little while later, but since I was clueless and didn’t get a pic of mine, I’ll use his instead.
When I looked down, the ball was actually up against the base of a wall, so I had to fling my glove down there to try and knock it out into the open to get a clear shot for the glove trick. (Thanks Zack Hample!)
It took me a few tries (more than a few actually), but I finally got the ball where I needed it. Here’s a photo I took afterwards to show where the ball was….
Remember: You can click the photos in the entries to get a closer look. In case you can’t read the text in the photo, the top one says “where ball was originally” and the bottom one says “where I nudged it to”. The drain actually made a good resting spot for the ball.
This ball took me a lot longer to get than it really should have, mainly because I am a true glove trick rookie. I’ve known about the trick since last summer, but haven’t had a good opportunity to try it until now. Once I had the ball in a good spot, it was just a matter of reeling her in. A couple different times, I had the ball in the glove and was pulling it up, only to have the ball fall out about 2 feet from my hand. After one of those drops, I noticed that something didn’t look right, so I raised the glove up to realize the Sharpie had fallen out. Good thing I had extras with me. Finally, after about 20 minutes or so, I had it. 1st glove trick ball ever!
There really wasn’t that much fanfare, except for all of the elation I felt inside.
After the glove trick conquest, Sarah and I ran over to the visitors’ dugout to get a close up of this….
That’s Padres closer Heath Bell, and if you look just in front of his left foot, you’ll see his glove that he stood up on the tips and is getting ready to kick it like a football through the uprights. Cool! He did that a few times. The first was toward a security guard in front of the dugout. The guard held his arms straight up, and Heath kicked it through. The 2nd (pictured above), is toward a fan about four rows behind the dugout. Heath would kick it, and the fan would throw it back. Great stuff!
We weren’t able to get his autograph, which is what I really wanted, so after I took this photo of Sarah….
…. we started to make our way back around to Dirk in LF.
Along the way, Sarah did get an autograph….
Padres pitcher Luis Pedromo.
I had never heard of him before this, but others were gathered around getting his autograph, so naturally Sarah wanted one too.
Here’s the only shot I was able to get of Sarah getting the autograph….
You can just see Pedromo’s head above the kid in the gray shirt’s right shoulder, and Sarah is in the center in the red shirt. He’s actually looking down to sign Sarah’s ticket when I snapped this photo.
While we were getting this autograph, Dirk called me & asked where I put my Sharpie & rubber band for the glove trick, because apparrently a Padres pitcher (I believe it was Cla Meredith, and yes that’s how he spells his name) had thrown a ball to a guy in LF and he dropped it in the gap. Now, my backpack is not real practical. Yes, it holds my glove and other things I may need during a game, but it also has about 12 zippers, which makes it real difficult to explain to someone over the phone where something is.
I got over to him as quickly as I could, and set up the glove for him. He said he wanted to give it a shot, so I let him. While he was going for the ball, I was trying to get Sarah cooled off. Her face was as red as her shirt, and she was looking drained, so I basically forced her to drink a bottle of water and got her out of the sun. We walked up the stairs and went into a tunnel behind us, where I had her sit so I could go back & get my stuff.
As I was going back down to get everything together, I saw Kaitlyn walking back over with a ball in her hand. It had only been about 2-3 minutes, so I was really surprised when Dirk told me that was the ball from the gap. Apparently, he was able to get his on the first try. One drop of the glove, boom, he had it. It was his first glove trick attempt, let alone ball. I was happy for both of us at that point.
We got everything packed back into our bags, and went up to where Sarah was sitting. By this time, she was in the shade for only about 2 minutes or so, and she already looked better. So, we wanted to make sure that whatever we did next was in the shade!
Sundays at the Ballpark in Arlington are $1 ice cream days, so we all got $1 drumsticks and popsicles to cool us off, and man did they hit the spot!
By this time, it’s only around 5:45 or so, and the reason there was no BP for the Padres was that today was dog day at the ballpark. So they had to clear the field for the pre-game dog parade around the warning track. Yippee. Oh well, what can you do?
After the ice cream break, we (slowly) made our way to the second level where our seats were, but before that we got some food and drinks. Cheese fries & Dr. Pepper, I’m not sure that there’s a ballpark combo I like more. Here’s a couple photos from our break time….
That sun was a lot more brutal than it looks in this photo.
And this was the view to my left….
That’s the centerfield sports park off in the distance, and I walked over to the last section and got a photo of that too….
All kinds of stuff for the kids to do there. Like hit a wiffle ball off of a tee….
Or use a giant sling-shot….
There’s other games too, but those are the only ones the girls wanted to do. We found some much needed refuge under some misting fans while we were out there as well.
As for the game itself, we didn’t really miss much. The Rangers were held to just one hit for the first time in the history of the ballpark. Since 1994, they have had at least 2 hits in every home game, until tonight. I like being there for history, just not that kind of history.
We decided to leave at around the bottom of the 7th, since everyone was pretty much drained.
Padres 2, Dirk/Kaitlyn 1 & Brian/Sarah 1, Rangers 0.
Here’s some other photos from during the game and while we were leaving….
Here’s a photo of the ball we got with the glove trick….
And here’s Sarah’s autograph….
Time of game: 2 hrs. 26 mins.
Attendance: 27,000 humans (I’ve never seen an even number like that), & 300 dogs
Next game: Fri. 7/17 vs. the Twins
PLUS — Here’s a photo I had someone take of all of us on our way to the truck….