Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Another Day, Another Game

For the second straight day I went to see the Staten Island Yankees play the State College Spikes.

As always let's start with the autographs.

My first autograph of the day was, believe it or not, of Elier Rodriguez who was one of the opposing State College Spikes. Since being drafted by the Cardinals in 2013, Elier has been used in various positions. For the most part he's split time at catcher and at first base. During most of this series he could be found in the bullpen and being a bullpen catcher. Although in this particular game he came into the game as a first baseman later on.

After I got the Elier I met up with some other IP autograph collectors I've known for a couple of years now. After a quick chat I went over the SI Yankees side and got Jhalan Jackson's autograph. Jackson was drafted by the Yankees in the seventh round of this year's draft. He's a pretty raw player but he's also got a ton of power. So much so that he began the season with two home runs in as many games. He got hit by a pitch the other day and he's day-to-day due to a thumb injury, but he said he might be back in the lineup this weekend :).

Next I got Drew Bridges who is very good at this baseballing thing. He had some defensive miscues this game, but in almost every other game I saw him make some really good plays over at the hot corner. And in this game's case, he made up for his blunder by hitting a three run home run. A shot that left the park right in front my very eyes I might add. The ball landed in a tree.

Next I got Ryan Krill. This gave me confidence that I was starting to remember everybody's face because I managed to deduce that the player in front of me in the dugout was Krill despite the fact that he wasn't wearing his jersey number and just a workout jersey. For a split second I was worried that I had mistaken Krill with Derek Callahan because Krill wrote the number 39 like the number 30 (Callahan's number) but I was relieved when I compared the Callahan signature I got the day before and confirmed that they're different. Phew!

Next I got Thairo Estrada on whatever the hell this parallel is called (I thought it was Carbon Fiber but it might not be). As you can see the autograph Gods have damned me as again. I thought a silver sharpie would work pretty well on this. Well once again I was dead wrong.
So to all of you IP autograph collectors out there. Do not bother with any shiny colors like gold, silver or bronze. You'll end up with really horrible signatures.

My last autograph of the day was from reliever Travis Hissong. Hissong was a non-drafted free agent the Yankees signed last year. Unfortunately before I could get his autograph last year he was already transferred to other affiliates. Well I made sure I got his autograph today, and he seemed to really like the extra homemade custom card I gave him :).

Now some of you may be wondering which of these signatures were obtained before the game and after the game. Well this time all of my autographs were obtained before the game because I didn't get a chance to get autographs after the game (I'll explain later).

So anyway the Yankees had a 1-0 lead over the Spikes for most of this game. Then after scoring one more run, Drew Bridges blasted a three run homer for a 5-0 lead. In the 9th inning the Spikes tried to mount a comeback and scored one run but they ultimately fells short as the Yankees won 5-1.

Unfortunately I couldn't stay that long because I had to leave midway through the bottom of the 9th to catch the ferry home. I have summer session classes these next few weeks at 8 in the morning so I had to get home fast.

So basically the Yankees have lost both of the games I stuck around for every inning and won the one where I left early. Maybe I need to leave early more often?

Domingo Acevedo, one of the Yankees' best prospects, started this game but only went 3 innings pitched. He apparently reached 100 mph a few times. He's raw, but full of potential.

This day happened to be Big Money Monday. Basically if you come to the stadium, you can fill out some raffle tickets and throughout the game you'd have a chance to win various prizes. Most of the prizes were things like T-shirts, food coupons, autographed stuff, and occasionally cash. Most of the cash prizes were only obtainable if the team did something that inning. Like hit a grand slam. If the team did that, then the lucky SOB who got picked would automatically win $10,000.
As you can see I didn't fill out any raffle tickets. I'm saving one for myself and plan on sending them out to some of you guys.

I don't know if this has anything to do with the Big Money Monday promotion, but these bingo cards were being distributed too. Every one is different (I checked) but I assume that if you got a bingo row you'd win some sort of prize (maybe?).

And as I left the stadium (early) I got a $10 off coupon for Dick's Sporting Goods (with a purchase of $50 or more). I'm not sure if I have a Dick's near me, but if I do this'll come in handy for some new Under Armour gear I've been wanting.

Once again the cargo ships invaded right field.


And that was my recap of my second game in as many days. Tomorrow I'm going to be busy again and may or may not see another SIY game. You'll all know by Thursday night.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

2015 IP Auto Count: 34

Monday, June 29, 2015

Second Game, First Headache

So yesterday I went to my second Staten Island Yankees game. The weather forecast was kind of iffy (lots of clouds and possibly some thunder) but there wasn't a whole lot of rain. Which is great because my customs aren't waterproof lol. That's where you have to appreciate the chrome surface that proper cards have.

As always, let's dive right in with the autographs.

My first IP autograph was of the gentle giant Domingo Acevedo. He's one of the Yankees' best prospects (top 20-30-ish) but he's still very raw. He's also had some blister issues in recent times but hopefully he isn't bothered too much by it.

My second autograph of the day was from the Opening Day starter, Derek Callahan. Callahan is an under the radar type guy in the Yankees org. The fact that he's a lefty certainly has him pegged as a guy to watch going forward.

My third autograph was of Jake Hernandez. Hernandez was originally drafted by the Tigers back in 2010 but he decided to go back to college. Afterwards he signed on with the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2014. Scouts say that Hernandez's defense is especially good.

My next autograph was from the manager, Pat Osborn.
The manager and coaches usually come out to the dugout later than others so I never got to get Osborn but I finally got him today. He also had some friends visiting him today too.

After this the space right next to the dugout got a little crowded so I moved on closer to the bullpen. Here I got Kyle Holder three times. As you can see I sold my soul and decided to use Topps' idea of image variations.

Hitting Variation

Fielding Variation

Running Variation

I really like how these turned out. And Holder now officially joins Eric Jagielo and Ty Hensley in the "Yankees first round picks I met in SI list and had them sign a custom card of theirs" list.

My last pre-game autograph was from Brandon Wagner. He was drafted by the Yankees this year in the sixth round, making him the second 2015 MLB Draftee I've gotten an autograph of on one of my customs. His line-drive power and his ability to hit from the left side of the plate makes him a very interesting player to watch going forward.

My first post-game autograph was courtesy of Yoel Espinal, who was the very pitcher who started this game for the SI Yanks. Espinal was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Tigers back in 2011 but his tenure in the Tigers org was short lived. The Yankees later scooped him up and are attempting to see if there's still something left salvaging in the young righty.

Zack Zehner was my second post-game autograph and he's another player who was just drafted at the beginning of the month. Zehner was the Yankees' 18th round pick this year but had been drafted by the Blue Jays in the 7th round back in 2014. Apparently some scouts have started to question Zehner's ability as a prospect, but if Zehner can show off some of that talent that made the Blue Jays FO draft him so highly in the past, the Yankees could have a nice piece in their hands.

My last autograph of the day was from Eric Duncan, the current hitting coach for the SI Yankees. Eric Duncan was the Yankees' first round draft pick back in 2003 and quickly made a name for himself as one of the Yankees' best prospects. Unfortunately, much like many prospects during that dismal time, Duncan didn't not reach the lofty expectations the hype had envisioned for him and he never made it to the big leagues. However he's since returned to the Yankees org as a coach.

As far as the autographs go I think I had a pretty great haul. I mean I got two first rounders and a bunch of other guys I really wanted autographs of. Of course I missed some people, but to them I say, soon...

Alright, now let's got to everything else.


The game was between the Staten Island Yankees and the State College Spikes (the NYPL affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals). The Spikes got a quick 4-0 lead in the fourth and the Yankees could only muster three runs the rest of the game. They did have some big chances during the game, and did have TWO back to back bases loaded walks, but they didn't really capitalize on them and came one run short. As of this post, the SI Yankees have lost every game I've attended this season.

This game marked the first time I ever tried an alcoholic beverage at a baseball game. It was an awful experience that gave me a giant headache (hence the headache in the title). And right now it's midnight (EST) as I type this and am fighting with the headache to bring you this blogpost. If I ever watch baseball games under the influence of something, I'm going to stick with that green stuff.

Because the Hudson River is right next to Richmond County Bank Ballpark you have a pretty good chance of finding a giant cargo ship in right field.

On the first base side you'll find a section of seats that's on a higher elevation that the rest of the seats in the park and it can offer you a ton of great views of the field. But my favorite view from that particular section was one of the ballpark entrances and the Hudson in the same shot.

Of the guys I missed on at this game, one of them was one of the opposing players, Elier Rodriguez. I might have to make getting his autograph the top priority at the next game I go to.

Speaking of which by the time this post goes up I should be in Staten Island again getting autographs ;) and tomorrow's post will most likely be another game recap written at like 1 in the morning.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

2015 IP Auto Count: 28

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Potential French Import...

No, this is not a trade post about what I received from The Card Papoy. Instead, it's a post about a potential PC guy The Card Papoy might have in the future. Okay scratch that, it wouldn't be PC guy, it'd be PC girl.

Enter Melissa Mayeux, a 16 year old shortstop out of France. She's been on the international baseball/softball scene for a while now and has started really attracting attention when she became eligible to be one of the international free agents who can sign with a baseball team this upcoming July. Although it can be suggested that she might not know how the Americans are reacting to a female playing baseball. A French female at that.

She's a shortstop who's gotten some praise from scouts for her defensive prowess and even her hitting abilities. Because she's a shortstop that means baseball analysts and experts see a lot of Cal Ripken Jr. and Derek Jeter in her, probably.

She's pretty much the first female to qualify as an international free agent, and though it'd be really premature to say, there are narratives floating around that she might be the one to break the gender barrier in MLB. But then again, most people don't see a team signing her this July. Maybe two years from now when she's 18? Hey Toronto, want a quick way to appeal to those French speaking folks in Quebec?

If she doesn't get signed, she'll be eligible to play college baseball in America and could possibly even be one of the players for Team France in the next WBC tournament. Which is awesome and funny at the same time.

So anyway, I'm sure that most of the focus on the July 2 shortstops will be on guys like Lucius Fox, Wander Javier, Yonathan Perlaza and Gregory Guerrero (amongst others) but Mayeux might be a name worth keeping in mind. Hey, if those cliche sports movies from the 80's and 90's taught us anything, it's that girls can do anything boys can. Or at least I think that's what the obligatory token girl in almost every movie was supposed to represent.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Monday, June 22, 2015

All The Right Friends In All The Right Places

So it's no secret that I'm a Yankees prospects autograph hound. I'm constantly thinking of ways to get autographs from Yankees minor leaguers either in person or through the mail. Especially the ones who never came to Staten Island.

Occasionally though I have help from people with better chances of meeting these players.

Enter Draft2Dynasty, a huge Yankees minor league fan who has forgotten more about the Yankees farm system than I will ever know. They live in Florida and attend quite a lot of Tampa Yankees games. And because being a Tampa Yankee at one point is inevitable for almost everybody in the Yankees org, they get to meet players who just flat out skipped Staten Island.

We've known each other for years, in fact I first got in contact with them when I was still in Japan and on baseball card forums. We both kind of skewed away from the forum scene as time went on but still keep in contact with each other on Twitter where we're constantly big upping Yankees minor leaguers and trolling each other.

We've also had a trade in the works for two years. It originally started when I asked D2D if they could get me a PJ Pilittere autograph (who was one of the Tampa Yankees' coaches at the time) and some Pro Debut autographs for my collection. They weren't able to get me all four players I wanted, but they did get me two key catchers.

Yep, the aforementioned PJ Pilittere, and Gary SLAMCHEZ. Slamchez almost never signs via TTM so getting on via the certified route or IP route is the only option.
BTW, when D2D got this Slamchez autograph for me, they also got a printing plate signed for their collection. Isn't that neat?

After those two I had heard that D2D was going to be seeing the Charleston Riverdogs earlier this year so I asked them if they could get me some autographs I needed on my customs. They were players who skipped Staten Island (grrrr) and had little to no chance of coming back down.

One of them was another catcher, Alvaro Noriega.
The other was top Yankees prospect Jorge Mateo. In my book it's always better to get an IP or TTM autograph than a certified autograph so this one fills the void in my collection very nicely.

I can't really count these as TTMs or IPs, so I guess we'll put them under the very rare 50/50's category.

BTW, 50/50 is when you send at least two copies to another person in hopes of getting an autograph. One card is for you, the other card is for the other person who got the signature.

Anyway, it's probably only a matter of time until D2D and I have another trade in the works that spans across two or three years. Luckily the two of us no longer operate like we did on forums and have more of a casual thing going on like many of us do on this blogosphere.

You can find Draft 2 Dynasty on Twitter and you can also go to their blog under the same name. They do post card related things once in a while but for the most part it's game times, lineups and seeing how Mateo's speed stacks up to Billy Hamilton's speed. Seriously, Mateo is that fast.

Big thanks to D2D for these wonderful autographs.

As always thank you the readers for stopping by. Take care :).

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Y.O.L.O. (Pt. II)

Okay so yesterday was the first day of the 2015 Staten Island Yankees season. Of course I went and it was a pretty good game despite the box score (we'll get to that later).

Unlike last year where I created customs with players in their high school/college uniforms, this year I only made customs for guys I already had pictures of Yankees (or Yankees org) uniforms, which basically limited it to a few GCL stint pics and a Tampa Yankees pic. Plus I figured that I have all summer to get a lot of these guys so I might as well get their autographs later when I can finally use some real pictures of them as SI Yankees.

So let's look at what I did get signed.

Signed On: 6/19/2015

Junior Valera here holds the distinction for being the first player to sign an autograph for me IP this year. He is also the first one I "tried" to speak to in Spanish. All I really said to him was "this card is for you" and handed him an extra custom and he said thanks.

Signed On: 6/19/2015

After Valera I managed to get the Yankees' compensation round pick in this year's draft, Kyle Holder.
I was a bit surprised to see that there were so few people after his autograph. I don't know if that's because there weren't as many autograph hounds as there usually was at SI games (I think there were like seven of them including me). I managed to Holder on that beautiful picture and gave him an extra copy.

Signed On: 6/19/2015

After Holder I got Yankees backstop, Eduardo De Oleo.
De Oleo was originally in Charleston this season and after putting up pretty good numbers at Charleston last year I didn't think he'd be assigned to SI and yet here he is. I actually tried speaking to De Oleo in Spanish but he just responded in English. It was great and awkward at the same time.

Okay, now after De Oleo is when I got the big prize.

Signed On: 6/19/2015

Okay, I know what you're all thinking. Where's the signature?

If you look closely at Mr. Estrada's knees you can see some of it.

You see I had the "brilliant" idea of having Mr. Estrada use a bronze sharpie to sign my superfractor. In person it doesn't look that bad but I'll be the first to admit that blue, black or even red ink would've been MUCH better. Fun story, when Estrada was signing this for me, he looked a bit surprised because at first it looked like the pen wasn't working since you couldn't see the ink until you looked hard enough.

Still though, it was worth a shot and all previous tests (mainly with sleeves) worked pretty well so I figured this would turn out better.

It didn't, but I still like it since I technically have a superfractor autograph now (tehe :)) and because I doubt anyone else will be "after" this card in the future lol. YOLO is the motto.

Signed On: 6/19/2015

"See how much bolder Estrada's signature looks on this one in that beautiful blue ink?"
I know, stop nagging me.

Signed On: 6/19/2015

"Oh look, another bold blue signature."
I'm serious, stop it.

Signed On: 6/19/2015

"Need I say more."
Alright, then you buy the superfractor with your own money next time and get it signed in blue ink yourself.

I stopped going after autographs before the game after that to spew more Yankees blabber on Twitter. When the game ended I waited at the garage like usual hoping to knock off a few more customs. I managed to snag one more.

Signed On: 6/19/2015

My last autograph here on day 1 was from LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS Cedeno. He and I had a very awkward conversation that involved me speaking Spanish and him speaking English. We ended our awkward talk fittingly enough with a pretty blurry selfie of the two of us. Despite being a millennial, my selfie game is weak.

So yeah, I did a lot of Tweeting this time. I ended up tweeting a ton of pics and even some videos for the first time in my life.

During the game I picked up some cool things. Like this Nacho Helmet that housed my dinner. BTW, the nachos at the ballpark improved. I didn't have diarrhea after I ate it this time!

I also immediately bought this really cool looking Staten Island Yankees fitted. I hate jingoism but when a design is this cool, it doesn't matter.

Angle 1

Now when I go to a Staten Island Yankees game I almost never sit in my proper seat and just go around from seat to seat trying to get different angles and views. Despite the game being sold out (allegedly) I still found some empty seats to sit in.

In the process I picked up a few things for guys like The Lost Collector, including the greatest gift you could ever give a baseball fan. Pocket schedules!

Speaking of schedules, the SI Yanks must really have a hard on for the magnetic ones because they gave me one for free again this year.

Oh and I should probably note that the Yankees' Playball/program changed a bit this year. Last year it felt like a newspaper that was actually stapled. This year it's like one of those health insurance pamphlets.

Angle 2

I guess I'd also be remised if I didn't mention how at the game Field Of Dreams actor Dwier Brown threw the first pitch and had a booth up where he signed autographs and promoted his book. Unfortunately I was too busy tweeting about Estrada and Holder being the middle infield to stop by. Then again, I have never seen Field of Dreams anyway so...

Now some of you are probably wondering what happened during the game itself.

Angle 3

Well the game against the Yankees' arch nemesis the Brooklyn Cyclones turned into a 12 inning marathon that the Cyclones eventually won 3-2 (BOOOOO!!!!). It's tough to complain about free baseball but it is easy to complain about when the team you like loses.

Angle 4

After the game ended there were a bunch of fireworks and a chance for children (and their parents) to go out onto the field and play catch (gotta love minor league baseball).

And that was the first day of SI baseball for me. Pretty great day IMO. One of the bigger priorities I had coming into the game was to get a signature of Domingo Acevedo but that plan failed. I'll have to really put some effort into it next time (if he's still around that is).

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

2015 IP Auto Count: 17