I was really excited since the beginning of this project because I'd be able to cover AAA baseball and get to watch a lot of baseball in the city I'm currently working in.
This was my first weekend of going to games with the objective of getting autographs (I work M-F and get Saturday's & Sunday's off), and what a better team to do it with than with the AAA affiliate of my LA Dodgers: the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Stadium doors open 1 hour before first pitch, so that takes BP out of question and makes autograph opportunities a little bit more limited for fans, but fortunately I'm not in LA where there's hundreds of graphers.
I had a ticket for a general seating area (lawn in center field), so the first thing I did was go to it and put my Brooklyn Dodger fleece blanket to mark my territory. Great view and a great deal for $5!
With 35 minutes left until first pitch I walked over to the first base side, where there was a small crowd of approximately 15 people waiting for autographs (only 5 or 6 with baseball cards or ROMLB baseballs, all the others rookies with tickets, Chihuahuas programs, etc.).
As the players started walking out they were all really cool and walked over to the fans and signed. Clint Robinson was the first to sign for me, I went with 8x10's that day.
Joc Pederson was personalizing most items, I have no issue with that because I don't sell or trade.
I was surprised to see starting pitchers walking out and signing too ..... Zach Lee being one of them, he signed my 8x10 and I was pissed I didn't give him a silver or metallic blue marker.
As I was walking back to the center field general seating area I noticed that Paco Rodriguez was in the bullpen, I had a picture of him so as Stephen Fife finished his warm-up pitches with Fed-Ex I called Paco over and he signed for me, man does this one look amazing with the silver auto!
This was my first time watching a game from center field, it's a great view and it was really cool congratulating Joc Pederson after each of his 2 homeruns and even more awesome him saying "thanks!" afterwards.
Alex Castellanos, former Dodger player & now with the EP Chihuahuas, was cool enough to toss a ball at me before the start of the 8th inning. I was so happy I didn't drop it that I decided to give it away to a kid that was decked out in Dodger blue, hope that it made his night better.
Sunday was a 1:05 pm game, so I got to the stadium around 12:40 pm. I stopped by the press box first to get a lineup card and a roster ..... to my surprise AJ Ellis waas in town with the Topes! I was pretty disappointed because I didn't know about it and he's a pretty hard autograph to get at Dodger Stadium because he's the catcher and they're pretty busy.
If I had known I would've taken a picture I have of him I bought like 3 years ago. For this game I had an assigned seat I bought at the Santa Fe Pavillion for $18.50, so I didn't rush to leave my stuff and took my backpack next to the dugout. Met another grapher' named Robert and started talking to him about the hobby at the stadium and how AJ Ellis was in town, caught him by surprise to and I won't lie ..... as we were talking about AJ, he walks right by us. Wished him luck!
First 2 players to walk out to stretch were Clint Robinson & Joc Pederson, how I had already gotten them to sign 8x10's the previous day, I started a team baseball with them, the other 8 players that ended up signing it too were: Matt Magill, Colt Hines, Zach Lee, Paco Rodriguez, Griff Erickson, Carlos Triunfel, Trayvon Robinson & Mike Baxter.
I went to my seat in the SFP I was talking about earlier, this time neither of the center fielders threw a ball at me. Not even the Dodgers bullpen catcher who I called by name .... sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not. But hey, the view was amazing!
At the start of the 8th inning I left my seat to buy a ROMLB, because I wanted AJ Ellis to sign it instead of my team ball. Team store sells them for $25 plus tax ($27.5, pretty expensive). Lines were moving quickly, so I just missed around half an inning. Went next to the dugout and also took out my Stephen Fife 8x10 that I couldn't get signed Saturday because he was the starting pitcher.
As soon as the game finished me and a group of around 6 people stood next to the dugout and Fife was one of the first players to walk out, asked him for his auto and he was kind enough to sign the 8x10.
AJ was picking up his equipment and he had his hands full, I told other people "I doubt that he's going to sign". Guess what? We asked and he said he was putting his equipment away and he would walk out ..... he did it. Got thim to sign the ball in the SS, pretty rushed but I don't care about it .... I got AJ's autograph once in LA and once in EP!
A huge surprise while Ellis was signing autographs was that Clint Robinson walked out and put his bat up and after nobody said anything he just said: "Does anybody want it?", of course I said: "ME!", but a little kid was a better option .... I guess my day was good enough already with 12 autographs, so I can't complain.
For this being the first time I ask for autographs at Southwest University Park I consider it a great success! Had fun, way easier than the majors, got to see the Dodgers AAA prospects and the starting catcher of our major league club.