Monday, July 14, 2014

My First Trip to AT&T Park!

Hey guys, Drew back here, and I am currently in the heart of San Francisco to bring you some pictures from the Giants-Diamondbacks game I went to Saturday! It was probably the least exciting game of the 3 game set, and the Giants ended up losing 2-0, but it sure was an amazing experience!

We've been in California since Thursday exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco, and prior to the trip we ordered tickets for my family to meet up with some relatives at this Giants game! There are a lot of incredible sights here, but I was most looking forward to seeing AT&T Park for the first time! I always loved the Giants' stadium; I remember watching Barry Bonds blasting home runs into McCovey Cove, and the 2007 Home Run Derby in which Vladimir Guerrero was practically crushing golf balls onto the fairway all night. I've also always had a lot of respect for the Giants organization, and I've rooted for them in their 2 recent World Series wins. So, it was safe to say going to a Giants game was on my baseball bucket list!

We walked around the outside of the stadium for a while, getting to check out all of the amazing statues of former Giants legends! I consider Willie Mays to be the best all around player in baseball history, so seeing his statue in person was especially amazing!

We next walked across McCovey Cove on a bridge to meet Willie McCovey's statue! I didn't realize how far this statue was from the stadium itself, but it was worth the walk without a doubt.

Behind the stadium were some plaques on the ground, including this one dedicating Barry Bonds' record breaking home run. I don't have much respect for Bonds, if any, but he is the home run champ and it is a part of history whether we as fans appreciate it or not.

Brian Wilson, in the meantime, was one of my favorite Giants players growing up! He hasn't done much in LA, but he certainly made his presence felt in San Francisco during his tenure with the team. This plaque dedicated his 48 saves in 2010, which became a Giants franchise record. It doesn't look like Sergio Romo will be matching that this season, but I guess crazier things have happened.

"The Baby Bull" Orlando Cepeda never did a whole lot for me. I've seen him in person a few times over the course of my life, but I've never really wanted to pay to meet him. Regardless, this statue is pretty nice, and it greets fans entering the 2nd Street Gate.

And then, we entered the stadium, and here is exactly what I saw. If that isn't the prettiest thing you've ever seen I don't know what is. This was a view from our seats, which were really, really nice! So nice in fact that I was able to get a few really cool close up pictures!

I may sound like everyone else, but Buster Posey is my favorite Giant. Ever since I got his autograph through the mail the Spring Training prior to his rookie season, I've rooted for him. The best feeling is rooting for someone who signed for you before they make it big, and that's exactly how it worked out with him.

I'm pretty proud of this shot. 

We got into the stadium a little late because we were waiting for the rest of our family to arrive, but we got in to hear some of the ceremony they had honoring former pitcher Dave Dravecky, including Will Clark's quick speech! I'm almost positive the man in the wheelchair is Willie McCovey, but we didn't get to see the introductions and they didn't say anything after we sat down regarding him. I really wish we got in sooner so I could have seen that, but I guess I got to say I saw him in person anyway.

It was hard to focus on Dravecky's speech because the players were warming up literally right in front of us, so I snapped some pictures throughout the ceremony. Michael Morse and Hunter Pence are playing catch in the picture above. I never realized just how tall these two were!

Dravecky's speech was touching to say the least. He suffered from bone cancer which led to his career being cut short far too soon, and eventually his arm deteriorated so much that it had to be amputated. The fans in San Francisco really loved him, judging by the roaring ovation he received after his heartfelt speech. 

He went on to throw out the first pitch, and he pretended to throw the ball with his nonexistent left arm, and then actually threw the ball with his right arm. It was definitely a touching moment, and I think when I get home I'm going to write him a letter.

The Giants simply just know how to do things the right way.

Ryan Vogelsong started the game for the Giants, and faced off against Wade Miley. The matchup wasn't supposed to be very enticing, but it turned out to be a pretty good battle. Ultimately, Miley got the last laugh, pitching 7 scoreless innings. "Vogey", as he's known to many Giants fans, allowed a solo home run off the bat of Aaron Hill, but otherwise pitched well also, especially with the help from some great defensive plays by Pence, Scutaro, and the Panda roaming 3rd base!

The Diamondbacks only major silver lining over the course of this season was provided from the guy in the picture above, Mr. Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy has been phenomenal these past two seasons and has evolved into the best 1st baseman in the National League! He ripped a double in the first inning and flashed his leather later on to put a halt to the biggest Giants rally of the day.

The Giants have been terrible since the beginning of the summer, to put it simply. The look on Buster Posey's face here after striking out says it all. Posey has had a really tough year, and it really showed when not one, not two, not three, but four other catchers had been named to the All Star team before he did. 

Despite their huge slide down the standings, they are only a game out of first place in the NL West going into the All Star break! It's going to be another classic race between the Giants and Dodgers this season, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it winds up.

The 7th inning stretch was a lot of fun, as team mascot Lou Seal tossed Cracker Jacks into our section during "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"!

Sergio Romo came in relief later on. He lost his closer's job recently after getting hit around an awful lot. He struck out both batters he faced with men on base and kept the Giants in the game, which could help him win back his job sooner rather than later.

My sister and I walked around the stadium between the 8th and 9th innings, and it further proved that it's the most gorgeous ballpark I've ever been to! 

I never realized there were slides inside the Coke bottle in the left field bleachers! The slides are for children aged 14 and under, otherwise I so would've done it. 

The Giants would go on to drop the game 2-0 as I stated before, but it was a really special experience that I'm extremely fortunate and lucky to say I was able to take part in. If you're a huge baseball fan, which if you're reading this blog I assume you should be; you've gotta check this park out. It does not disappoint.

Okay, off to Alcatraz! See Ya!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mets vs. Braves Recap!

Hey everyone, Drew back here! Last night I decided to join my friend Matt and his family at Citi Field to take on a Mets game! I went to Citi Field for the first time last summer for the Home Run Derby, and I thought the ballpark was gorgeous! Although it wasn't quite Yankee Stadium (maybe biased... definitely biased), it definitely left me impressed. I had to go back to take in an actual game, and we drove this time, which saved us from having to take the subway and train (which didn't go very well last year if you don't recall).

The Mets took on the Braves, and the odds were clearly in the Braves favor although the Mets had won 4 in a row prior to the game. Newly named All Star Julio Teheran started for the Braves, but the Mets got to him early and he didn't end up lasting very long. I like Teheran, but it was nice to see him suffer a little after I made the mistake of trading him away from my fantasy team after not fully buying into his amazing start to the season (I traded Rendon & Teheran for Matt Carpenter and Doug Fister..). 

Curtis Granderson took Teheran deep to lead off the game for the Mets, which was ironic given my hatred for Grandy as a player. I always loved his personality and work ethic when he was with the Yankees, but I couldn't stand the amount of strike outs and low batting average. If you look in the bottom right corner of the picture above you can see me to the left of the kid in the green shirt (my friend Matt)! Granderson towered one into the second deck, and the offense didn't stop from there.

Daniel Murphy, David Wright, and Lucas Duda all stood out the most to me, but each offensive player (not including the pitcher) had at least 1 hit (hitters #1-7 all had 2 or more hits)! On top of that, young stud Jacob deGrom pitched 7 scoreless innings; striking out 11 in a dominant performance. And to top it off, Eric Young Jr, David Wright, and Daniel Murphy all made phenomenal plays i the field! The Mets took a 7-0 lead, but the bullpen made it interesting in the end, and the final wound up being 8-3. The current Braves never really impressed me, but they were especially atrocious yesterday. 

In the 9th inning, it started to heavily rain, and the Braves were starting to put some guys on base. The wind also picked up, which caused garbage to fly all over the field. I get the feeling that people ended up throwing more on the field, because if you can see in the picture above; there was a ton of garbage on the field. Nothing more symbolic for the Mets organization than that!

Jokes aside, I had a great time at Citi Field last night! The game, the food, and the experience as a whole was great, which is all I could ask for in a ballgame. It helped me take my mind off my dreadful Yankees for a night, and while I've never been a big Mets fan, I've always been a big David Wright fan, and his diving stop at 3rd really made my night!

If you live by Citi Field and haven't paid it a visit yet, I suggest you should! I still would take Yankee Stadium any day, but I love a little variety in my life and I really had a good time! I'll be checking out another stadium for the very first time this upcoming weekend, and you better believe I'll have a post up regarding that when its all said and done!

See Ya!

Monday, July 7, 2014

TTM Overhaul Update!

Hey guys, Drew back here. My favorite part of the TTM hobby is that even if you aren't involved in various other forms of collecting, you can still receive nice gifts from time to time. When I get some free time, I try to whip up a few autograph requests, and during my blogging absence I received quite a few substantial successes! Take a look at what I got the pleasure of adding to my collection:

IronE Singleton: 1/1 (145 Days, Received February 8th)
Any Walking Dead fans? I've recently become a bit of a TV fanatic but despite all the shows I've obsessed over, this one still is up there as one of the best. Singleton played T-Dog, who was definitely a likeable character. He inscribed this "To Drew, IronE Singleton, T-Dog, Truth + Love", and it came out beautifully on this 5x7 I printed on Snapfish!

Doug Drabek: 2/2 (167 Days, Received February 14th)
Drabek was just before my time, but had a few very good seasons throughout the 1990's with the Pirates, and began his career with the Yankees! He personalized both cards out to me, which some people hate but I personally love. I wish more players would personalize instead of not signing at all, because I've never had any intentions of selling my TTM successes. 

Bill Campbell: 4/4 (7 Days, Received April 29th)
Two time Rolaids Reliever of the Year Award winner Bill Campbell signed 3 cards and personalized an index card out to me within a week's time! I love knowing when players read my letters, which normally are pretty standard except for when it's someone I really want to add. I mainly sent to Campbell to add his autograph to my Pacific set, which I recently realized was a two year set with the same design for both years. There are over 200 cards between the two years, and I've got about 20 signed thus far!

Gary Peters: 3/3 (7 Days, Received April 29th)
Peters was a 2 time All Star and the 1963 American League Rookie of the Year, so I figured getting his autograph for free was a must. He signed a 1988 Pacific, a 1960 Topps (signed in ballpoint, very difficult to see), and an index card with his Rookie of the Year inscription! On April 29th I received 7 total autographs between Peters and Campbell, so it was a pretty big day for me. 

Bill Virdon: 2/1 (9 Days, Received May 1st)
I already got Virdon a few years back on one of my custom cards and an index card, but I needed to add him to my Pacific project as well. He signed that for me and also threw in an additional signed card, which I assume was supposed to be someone else's. I'll take an extra autograph any day!

Dick Groat: 2/2 (9 Days, Received May 1st)
I've also gotten Groat before, but it didn't seem right to not add him to my set given his great credibility as a TTM signer. Seriously, if any of you haven't gotten Virdon and/or Groat yet, you should definitely get on it. Both were key contributors to that legendary Pirates team that beat the Yankees in 1960, and Virdon was a former Rookie of the Year, while Groat was a former NL MVP! Groat also signed my 1967 Topps, which came out as a carbon copy of the facsimile autograph directly below it!

Alvin Dark: 1/1 (10 Days, Received May 2nd)
Al Dark was a 3 Time All Star and the 1948 Rookie of the Year, and on top of that he managed throughout the 1960's and 1970's after his playing days came to a close. He won a World Series with the Giants as a player in 1954 and with the A's as their manager in 1974! He's now 92 years old, as you can probably tell by the autograph he gave me on my card below. He also included a little prayer pamphlet, which doesn't interest me all that much but is interesting nonetheless. All in all, a very cool success from a man who has accomplished a lot during his time in the game.

Mike McCormick: 0/2 (Failure, 13 Days, Received May 5th)
Former Cy Young Winner Mike McCormick left me a note on my letter that read "Because of E.B.A.Y. I now charge $5 for signed cards, Sorry" and left his address below. Well, he's not getting my $5, so I guess everyone loses in this case.

Rich Reese: 2/2 (15 Days, Received May 7th)
I'm not quite sure why Reese was included in this set, as he was simply a mediocre player for the Twins in the 1960's. However, he's indeed part of it, so I now have his ballpoint pen signature in my set, along with a signed index card!

David Phelps: 1/1 (16 Days, Received May 8th)
I am really growing to like what David Phelps brings to the table. He's been one of the Yankees most consistent pitchers this season, and it's great seeing how much he's grown since he first got called up a few years ago. Of all of the successes I got in this post, this (and maybe the Walking Dead one) was my favorite! He signed a 2014 Topps card for me beautifully with his number inscribed. Safe to say I'm an even bigger fan now!

Eric Young Jr.: 2/2 (17 Days, Received May 9th)
This guy is pure electricity, and I absolutely love that in a ballplayer. He doesn't hit for much average, but he's a sparkplug and this season he's stolen 22 of 25 bases! He signed and personalized both cards for me, the 2014 Topps even included #R2BI, which is apparently something he started that stands for "Refuse to Be Ignored". I love the way the National Chicle card came out, and these are both pretty awesome additions as well.

Ken Holtzman: 1/2 (64 Days, Received June 25th)
Holtzman was my most recent success, and although it didn't come out pretty (probably one of the worst autographs I've ever seen), it was my 20th signed card in my Pacific Legends set! He threw 2 no hitters, made 2 All Star teams, and won 3 World Series', so he had a pretty solid career to say the least!

It sure is nice to be back on here from time to time. I should have more coming in the future, and I'm planning on attending one last card show with my dad before I head off to college next fall! Stay tuned for all of that, but for now, See Ya!