My first stop was the Orioles bullpen. Pitching Coach Roger McDowell (from the ’86 Mets, among other teams) was right there in a chair hanging out with some of the other players and coaches, presumably not doing a whole lot. I said something like, “Hey Roger, could you please sign my card?” and he smugly said something like, “No, but thanks for asking.” I was shocked, dude looks so friendly on the card. 🙂 Then a kid next to me (who is one of the regular autograph hounds) said something like, “Mr. McDowell, could you please sign? My dad is from New York.” I said, “Yeah, and I’m from New York too!” (I really am.) He came over and signed for the kid, and then begrudgingly signed my card too. It was just a weird interaction. Anyhow, I saw him walking from the bullpen to the dugout just before the game, and he stopped a couple of times to say some things to kids, toss out a ball or two, that sort of thing, and another regular mentioned that one of the other regulars got like seven items signed. So I don’t quite know what happened with us in the bullpen, I just appreciate that he signed the card, it’s nice and from one of my favorite teams!
Former Mariner Seth Smith stopped by the 3rd base camera well before or during BP. I welcomed him back, and he appeared happy to be back for a few games. He wasn’t easy to find for autos as a Mariner but he made himself available on this visit. Thanks man!
Jonathan Schoop signed over at the home plate corner of the dugout. He seemed very “centered”. Yeah I know there’s a small smudge, which is a risk when tossing a card into the dugout to get signed, but it’s still nice.
Then there was Manny Machado!!! Dude usually signs by the 3rd base camera well after he hits BP and does fielding practice. So there were plenty of people waiting for him and then he came on over and the mob converged. He was very chill and signed a lot. I was psyched that he signed my card! I also thought it was cool that he asked and then used my Sharpie to sign a bunch of other people’s items. The Orioles hat and black shirt probably helped lol. 🙂
The Mark Trumbo Saga Part 1 (or Parts 1-3, depending on how you’re counting)- I remember a beautiful day a couple of years ago when Mark Trumbo, at that time a Mariner, calmly went down the line and signed for everyone. He signed a baseball for me very nicely. I was looking forward to getting his nice signature on a card this time. However, this day was not like that. i was right in front of him but he did not sign my card. At least he did sign for the kids and some other adults. Later during BP, he was talking with some buddies on the steps towards the middle of the dugout. I thought I’d wait till he finished his conversation and then he’d have time to sign and again I was right in front of him. (Well, right behind him and above the dugout if you want to be technical.) It was a long conversation, and I waited and waited … and waited. At some point I caught his attention and he nodded. When he was done with his conversation, he did not stop but instead ran straight into the visitor’s clubhouse. I was especially disappointed because while I was waiting in one spot for this dude, Adam Jones was signing in another corner of the dugout, and even Buck Showalter signed a couple there too! Anyway, I figured I would catch Trumbo right before the game, and again I was right in front of him, and again he did not sign. I was taking it personally and wondering if I was doing something wrong (even though I of course knew that it wasn’t personal and that nothing was wrong). So even though I struck out on this day, I figured I would just try again the next day.
Mariners Season Ticket Holders have access to Early Gate Openings on Tuesdays and Saturdays, which is a great way for fans to see players close-up in a relaxed atmosphere, and is a prime opportunity for autograph seekers. Robby Cano signed near the first base camera well during BP. He doesn’t always sign but he does sign frequently and really is very generous with the signatures. Amazing how many fellow autograph hounds I recognize in the picture to the left. 🙂
I didn’t exactly pick the ideal card, and of course the part he signed is way too dark, but it still is a nice auto card for my PC and I definitely appreciate it. I had a relic card that has a nice red background where the signature should show up really well but I was nervous to take it out because it was crowded and I had to finagle my way in there. Next time I see Robbie signing I’ll try to give him that one, it’ll be great!
Yonder Alonso (bottom signature), one of the newest Mariners, also signed during BP. I didn’t really want his sig on a Padres or A’s card, so I asked him to sign the “team ball” instead. Welcome to the club, man!
Then I went over to the Orioles side where the pitchers were warming up. I had the opportunity to thank Roger McDowell for signing the day before. 🙂 Anyhow, Darren O’Day signed the sweet spot on an “assorted major leaguers” ball — good for him! Craig Gentry also signed it. Zach Britton signed a Stadium Club card, that was pretty cool.
When the teams have famous former players as announcers or executives, I try to keep something around in case they happen to appear. I didn’t have a “clean” baseball, but I had a nice card for Orioles Hall of Famer Jim Palmer! He was a big deal back in the day. I asked him if he owned the Jim Palmer Trucking company. He said no, he wouldn’t be here if he did. Even though I’m sure he was joking, I’m still a little surprised by his response, he’s been announcing for ages. I kept thinking, “Holy Crap, Jim Palmer!” Very cool!
I have to admit that I took it for granted that Machado and Adam Jones would sign again. They’ve signed before every O’s-M’s game I’ve attended — until this day, when they did not. They talked with some of the visitors on the field and by the dugout, but did not sign for the regular fans. I felt fortunate that I already had a ball and card signed by each guy, and was once again reminded to not take days like the prior one for granted (when both of them signed).
The Mark Trumbo Saga Part 2 (or Parts 4-5, depending on how you’re counting) — In a resolution very similar to the ending of the Wilmer Flores Saga just a few weeks ago, Trumbo finally signed it on Tuesday night, near the stretching area, right before the game! Felt like divine intervention and I was stoked. 🙂 It’s neat to have a guy a autograph a card of himself signing autographs. Plus, the blue ink on the sepia image looks sick! “Classy” lol.
So that’s what happened at the stadium. Of course, synchronistically, I had these two Orioles waiting in my mailbox when I came home from the Tuesday night game. 🙂
08/14/17 – Orioles 11, Mariners 3 – Orioles blew out the M’s. Tim Beckham hit the first pitch for a home run. Manny Machado had this amazing grand slam over the left field scoreboard. It was sick! I rarely leave early but this time I was gone by the sixth or seventh inning. Very disheartening, the M’s fifth straight loss (four to the Angels and one to Baltimore, all at home to teams also in the wild card race).
08/15/17 -Mariners 3, Orioles 1 — M’s did what they needed to do. The great Canadian pitcher Matt Albers did a nice job in his Mariners debut. Jarrod Dyson made an amazing throw to get Manny Machado at home. Trey Mancini played like a champ, very impressive. With Aaron Judge slumping and Mancini and Benintendi lighting it up, who’s going to be AL Rookie of the Year? Anyhow, the bullpen (barely) hung on at the end and the M’s won. Felt like a season-saving win. Go Mariners!