07/20/19 – Angels at Mariners

Autos, etc.

D3385957-CC47-4498-8380-02971D411F54Even with the early opening, it was a slow go getting in to the park.  I was running late, there were (overly?) exhaustive security checks, they were giving away Edgar Martinez Funco dolls, the Angels were in town, and it was a Saturday evening.  Anyhow I got in just fine to get a decent place in the Ichiro line.  He signed plenty for the BP guests on the field but did not get the line today.  We’ll see another day.  I was pretty focused on Ichiro and missed some of the other dudes who signed.  It would have been pretty slim pickings even if I was more focused.  At least I did run over when Mitch Haniger made a surprise appearance.  (At least I was surprised because he is still recovering from an awful injury.  He said he is feeling better.)   He signed a card very nicely, as usual.  Thanks Mitch!


AAC088EB-5BA4-4E89-94A6-931AEF5B7DB7There was probably even less signing happening for the people in the stands on the Angels side. Luis Rengifo (#4, the guy who broke up Mike Leake’s perfect game last night) signed at the dugout at the end of BP.  Thanks man!

Mike Trout usually signs right before the game.  Apparently, yesterday he signed way up the 3rd base line, so I waited there today thinking lightning might strike twice.  It didn’t.  He went straight to the corner by the camera well, signed a bunch, and went on his way.  Let’s see what happens tomorrow! You never know. 🙂

The Game


In the bottom of the 2nd, Omar Narvaez hit a foul ball. I was tracking it as it approached us but landed a couple of rows up and about 10–15 seats away.  Then it bounced, right towards me.  So then I pounced, and apparently jumped up to the next row.  I scrambled as the ball bounced and rolled past me.  It went down to the next row.  You know, where I was originally sitting.  I valiantly stretched under a seat but the ball eluded my fingertips… and rolled down to a kid who had been waiting patiently all along.  Is there a moral to this story?  I don’t think so, but at least I provided some extra entertainment for my graphing buddies.  Apparently I was swimming for the ball. :). Narvaez ended up reaching base and later scored to give the M’s a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Narvaez figured in the scoring again, driving in JP Crawford to increase the lead to 2-0.  However, the Angels put up two in the top of the 4th to tie the game.  The score remained tied 2-2.

Uh oh, with two out in the top of the 9th, while I was getting a soda from one of the few vendors still open, the M’s whiffed on an infield pop up that kept the inning alive for the Angels.  Cole Calhoun later scored to make it 3-2. Mike Trout sent a lot of people home with a three run smash to left center, putting the Angels up 6-2.  I heard that was the final score, I couldn’t bear watching the bottom of the 9th in person lol.



A’s at Mariners – 07/06/19

Autos, etc.


Once again, a bunch of other autograph crazies and I lined up for Mr. Ichiro Suzuki, along the stairs by the home plate corner of the M’s dugout.  I believe I was somewhere within the first ten spots in line!  During the first half of M’s BP, I didn’t even see him.  At that point, it felt like a 10% chance of Ichiro appearing and doing his thing.  There weren’t too many current Mariners signing either.  At least Domingo Santana signed by the camera well.  Thank you Domingo!

About midway through BP, I finally spotted Ichiro.  Most of the time he was leaning on the batting cage, watching the players and chatting.  He also threw BP to several of the M’s.  By that point I was feeling much more optimistic, at least a 50% chance or more. 🙂

At the end of BP, he signed for fans on the field as he normally does.  Some of my fellow crazies were getting discouraged, but I was actually getting encouraged because there weren’t that many people and he didn’t sign that much stuff.  When he was done, he approached the dugout and then… he did his little swing move and jumped onto the ledge near the dugout corner.  Someone yelled, “He’s doing it!”  I think a cheer might have gone up.  Certainly, there were a lot of people smiling and scurrying about as they got back in line and made sure their stuff was ready for handoff to and from the ushers.

Ichiro took care of us crazies and must have signed at least a 100 items, if not more.  As usual, when you got up to the front you handed the usher your item and waited to see what it would look like when it came back.  (Rather than switching pens, Ichiro usually starts with a blue or black marker and just keeps going.)  Then if you had something else you’d like him to sign, you could go back to the end of the line and hope he was still there by the time you got up front again.

My first item was “The Gold Glove”!!! I’d been bringing it to the park the past few games and was so excited that it was most likely going to get signed this time — and it did!!! Totally awesome!!!

The second item was this thick logo pin card. In my excitement proceeding down the stairs, I dropped the card and dinged it up a little. I was later able to smooth out some of the edges but one of the corners still looked, well, like the card had been dropped. Anyhow it wasn’t too bad and I offered it up. On the way back to me, the auto got smudged a little but it’s still very very nice. My nephew actually think it looks cooler with the little spikes in the smudged area. I don’t agree but to each his own. 🙂  I may touch it up, digitally edit it and create a new version, or just leave it alone. We’ll see.

The third item was a 2019 Stadium Club 5 x 7 box topper. It just came out within the past two weeks, and I’m glad I quickly picked one up on eBay. Even though it already looked great unsigned, it looks even better with the auto. Awesome!!!  I was one of the last people to get something auto’d before he went in and I feel very fortunate about that.

So a bunch of Mariner fans, including yours truly, would be going home happy. 🙂 So wonderful. Thank you Ichiro!!!!

There weren’t a whole lot of autos being signed during BP on the Oakland side either. At least, Mike Fiers (who threw a no hitter earlier this year) signed afterwards, near the middle of the dugout. Thanks Mike!


The Game

Even if it was a bit overcast and cool, it was another wonderful night for baseball.  The A’s loaded them up in the top of the 1st versus Marco Gonzales, stretching him through 28 pitches, but managed only one run.  In the top of the 3rd, Matt Olson sneaked a solo homer over the centerfield fence to make it 2-0.

However, in the bottom of the 4th, All-Star 🙂 Daniel Vogelbach brought Mariners fans to their feet with a two run blast to right, tying the game.

Two batters later, the fans were on their feet again as Kyle Seager blasted another on to right and put the M’s up 4-2.

In the bottom of the 5th, with the bases loaded and one out, Omar Narvaez walked to drive in J.P. Crawford, and Kyle Seager hit a sac fly to score Domingo Santana, extending the lead to 6-2.  Meanwhile, Marco Gonzales seemed to be more and more locked in the further he went in the game, and deftly took the Mariners through the 8th inning.  After giving up a homer to Ramon Laureano in the top of the 9th, Roenis Elias finished the game for the save.  Mariners won 6-3, WP Marco Gonzales (10-7), LP Chris Bassitt (5-4).

Cardinals at Mariners – 07/02/19

Autos, etc.


As has been the custom lately, the autograph crazies lined up along the stairwell by the home plate corner of the M’s dugout, waiting for Ichiro.  We didn’t see him right away, and he isn’t at every single bp, so we waited expectantly for quite a while.

Since people were saving spots, I (and many others) ran back and forth from the Ichiro line to the camera well corner several times to catch some of the pitchers who were signing.  Thank you Marco Gonzalez, Mike Leake, and Yusei Kikuchi!  Great stuff.


Well, we did spot Ichiro at the batting cage by the middle of BP, so there was certainly hope.  We speculated whether he would sign or not.  I thought he would.  BP ended about 15 minutes late and he did a bunch of autos for fans on the field like he often does.  He did a ton actually.

Then he stayed by the dugout and proceeded to chat, yuck it up, and take photos with these two Japanese ladies for what seemed like a half hour.  The longer the chat went, the natives got more and more restless and our hopes got dimmer and dimmer.  When they were finally done, Ichiro waved as he ran to the dugout.  The line of people, including yours truly, slumped away with their items, just plain disappointed.  Bummer!  Will try again at a future game in Seattle or maybe even in Tacoma.



Well I got over to the Cardinals side about midway through their bp.  Most of the guys gave some acknowledgement and then ran straight into the dugout.  So not a lot going on.

I stayed on the visitors side for the pregame segment.  Two of the guys who signed came to the camera well corner.  I weaseled my way in there a couple of times but wasn’t aggressive or even assertive enough (that would have helped in retrospect).   793A8654-5247-4807-BA90-9C1FDF27E534Paul de Jong signed a card for me (thanks man) via autographing regular Will who was in the front (thanks kiddo).  It got a little smudged so I think I’ll do a little photoshop cleanup and reprint it.  I just missed on Paul Goldschmidt (so close yet so far away).  I saw everyone’s new favorite Cardinal Kolten Wong signing and taking selfies a few sections down the line for quite a while, but by the time I got there it was too late.



The Game


It was cool and rainy outside, and cool and hazy under the roof at Safeco… err… at T-Mobile.  The Cards got one in the top of the first on a Jose Martinez homer to left off our opener.  The M’s took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd on a bases loaded walk and then maybe a single, I don’t remember.  M’s headliner Wade LeBlanc and Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty both took their time and it felt like a long-ass game as it got colder and colder.

In the bottom of the 5th, Omar Narvaez snuck a two run homer over the center field fence to increase the M’s lead to 4-1.


In the top of the 6th, while I was going to the bathroom or buying some pizza, Jose Martinez hit another home run to make the score 4-2.  Then in the top of the 7th, Yairo Munoz creamed a two run homer to left to tie it up at 4.  Boo!  But don’t worry, in the bottom of the 8th pinch hitter Tim Beckham launched one to the same zip code to put the M’s back up, and it turned out to be the game winner!  Final score Mariners 5, Cardinals 4.




2019 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Football – “Ok”

55E2E857-63B2-4BFE-805E-213B34D72CF3I was at Target and decided to try a 2019 Contenders Draft Picks blaster.  Hard to resist the two autos lol.  Also I got a blaster a few years ago and really liked the vets and rookies in their college uni, so I thought I would give it another shot.

After seeing the same images over and over in the various football releases, it’s fun to see veterans in their college uniforms.  The base cards have a no frills old school look, nice, clean, and boring all at the same time.  The exception would be the inserts which have some cool designs.

As usual, with so many autos from guys who might not even be drafted, the autos are a crapshoot.  I never heard of Ty Johnson or Marvell Tell III, but both guys were drafted so we’ll see what happens.  At least the base landscape auto cards look nice. 🙂

I got Seahawks star Russell Wilson but didn’t pull any Cal Bears or Washington Huskies.  However, I did pick up a Patrick Laird auto (former Cal RB and undrafted free agent picked up by the Dolphins) for $3.29 including shipping and tax.  Will look for more via trade and on “the open market”.


One of the factors when I rate a release is whether I would buy it again.  In this case, I’d say probably not.  The cards are a little lackluster in my personal opinion, and I think I would (and will) buy singles for players from my teams  (the Seahawks, UW, and Cal) rather than another box.  Overall I’d say this product is “ok” and give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.



Royals at Mariners – 06/17/19

Autos, etc.


No Ichi-luck this time.  Bummer!  Many of us autograph crazies were lined up by the corner of the dugout, but Ichiro and most of the other Mariners were already in the clubhouse by the time the gates opened.


Missed out on Lucas Duda, he signed two and I was the third, bummer.  Also Hamilton, Gordon, Merrifield and most of the other dudes did not sign.  That was the bad news.

The good news is that the fellows who did sign were cool.  Thank you Aldalberto Mondesi during bp, and Chestor Cuthbert and Jorge Soler just before the game!


Also, a Royal to be identified later signed my random MLBers ball at the end of BP.  It was a white guy with a beard, like that helps lol.  Anyhow after a couple of minutes of Internet research, I believe the player was pitcher Jake Junis.  Thanks bro!



The Game


A beautiful night for baseball, albeit between two last place teams lol.  It was 2-1 Royals in the bottom of the 5th.  I was about to leave when Tom Murphy hit a three run homer to The Pen to put the good guys up 4-2!


However, while I was in the bathroom the Royals scored, and then in the top of the 8th, when I was already out of the park Jorge Soler hit a two run homer to put the Royals ahead for good. Final score Royals 6 – Mariners 3.

Astros at Mariners – 06/03/19

Autos, etc.


I had the pleasure of being on field for Mariners BP through the M’s STH Memories Program.   A couple of the other autograph crazies and I were the first fans out there.  I don’t remember the exact order but it went down something like this:

Ichiro came by and signed my buddy’s jersey and then my jersey, both in silver paint pen and everything!  So awesome!!! I think I literally jumped up and down.  Thank you Ichiro!

We called Edwin Encarnacion over and he was kind enough to oblige us.  I think he liked the digitally enhanced selfie I asked him to sign, complete with parrot.  He also signed a Gypsy Queen Tarot insert for me.  Glad I was able to meet him before the trade deadline lol.  Thank you Edwin!

There was a large group of kids (most from the Same Team but also others with parents) lined up along the rope.  Several players came by, including Tim Beckham, Mallex Smith, Dee Gordon, Mitch Haniger, Kyle Seager, Tom Murphy, and Felix Hernandez.  I think Beckham thought I was trying to cut ahead of the kids and said he didn’t respect that, but I said no kids first, I can respect that, I’ve got daughters of my own they’re just too early to come here, etc.  Just remember to include adults too guys.  🙂  I went to the end of the line of kids and he did continue to sign.  He personalized the items for us adult autograph crazies.  My first personalized card that I can think of!  Very nice and hope we’re cool man.  Thanks Tim, Mallex, Dee, Mitch, Kyle, Tom, and Felix!

Then at the end of M’s BP, Ichiro came by again!  I always heard of people quadruple dipping and all this stuff with him, so I decided to try it tonight.  Holy smokes, he signed a “digitally enhanced” selfie and a jumbo card.  Wow wow wee, so awesome!  Thanks again man.

As we were getting escorted off the field, we saw that Ichiro was again at the corner of the dugout, signing items one by one for folks who lined up along the stairwell.  So of course we skedaddled over there.  I got one more card signed, actually one that I tried for last week.  It’s got a picture of Ichiro cracking up about something.  Very cool and thanks again Ichiro!


Totally amazing!!!!  Thanks guys.


Surprisingly, injured stars Jose Altuve and George Springer were both at the park.  I didn’t see either of them sign.  Carlos Correa was out recovering for a cracked rib suffered during a “in home massage” session.  I’m gonna leave that one alone, bro. 🙂  Alex Bergman signed for a few folks on the field.  Jake Marisnick signed a few at the camera well corner right before the game.  Houston, we have a problem lol.  The ‘Stros have gone from one of the most fan friendly teams and generous signers to almost the opposite.  I still like them though.  The Mariners, Mets, and Astros are my favorite teams.   Anyway Mariners BP tonight was one of the best ever in terms of graphing, so i’m cool!

The Game

Well the ‘Stros jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st against Mariners “opener” Cody Gearrin.  However, “headliner” Wade LeBlanc settles things down and the M’s came back with two runs in the 3rd.  The Astros scored again in the 6th to make it 4-2.  I don’t think there were more than 10,000 fans at the start of the game, so plenty of legroom.  There were also enough seagulls circling around that I headed for cover. 🙂  It got cold but it wasn’t out of control.  With the M’s threatening in the bottom of the 8th, Jake Marisnick made a very nice game saving catch in center.  The Astros beat the M’s 4-2.