Over the next couple of weeks each of the writers at 9 Inning Know it All are going to take a post or two to talk about what got us started in autographing as well as a few other topics about baseball. Up first is Kelly and the reasoning behind his autographing.
A little back story about me is that I grew up near Los Angeles, about 25 minutes from Dodger Stadium. I went to at least 10 games a year growing up but never got any autographs. I never tried so that’s my fault. The only autographs I got is when my dad and I would go to card shows and they had people come in and sign but of course there was a fee.
Let’s flash forward to May 15, 2005 which happens to be my birthday. My wife and I with my daughter, who was only 7 months old, went to Seattle to watch the Mariners play the Red Sox. You got to remember this was 2005, the year after the Red Sox won the World Series and broke their 86 year old curse. So Safeco Field, home of the Mariners, easily had more Red Sox fans than Mariners fans.
As usual we got to the game 2 hours early so we could get in as soon as the gates opened but this time instead of just walking around the stadium we decided to go down to the field to see if we could get close to the players. We sat and watched the players do batting practice, warm up and it was all really cool.
I noticed that one of the Red Sox walked over to the stands and was signing autographs for the fans. I didn’t think anything of it because we were probably 100 feet away and I didn’t think he would sign long enough to make it all the way to us. After a while I realized it was Bronson Arroyo, and he was getting closer and closer. I didn’t have anything for him to sign and he was only a few people away.
My daughter was wearing a Mariners jersey and I didn’t think he would sign that, so when he got to us I just asked if he would take a picture with my daughter and to my surprise he asked if he could hold her for the picture. Of course I said yes and we got a great picture and an even better story. After that he said he would sign her jersey. Before that the only autographs I had gotten in Seattle were at a couple of Fan Fest’s that we had gone to. So thanks to Bronson Arroyo that’s where my family became graphers.
Our autographing has evolved quite a bit since then. Now when we go to games I have a pocket full of 3 or 4 different colored sharpies and I usually have at least one card of each player from each team. If I don’t have a card of a player I have blank autograph cards that the players can sign. Also I always have an authentic baseball from batting practice on me somewhere that my girls got from ballhawking.