Thursday, May 26, 2005

Fluff Filler Post

Well, I'm going to be out of comission this entire weekend, traveling to family on Memorial Day weekend. I'm driving back early Monday to be at RFK for the 3:05 start. I'll be out of the DC television area, so I'll miss the whole Cardinals series. Hopefully we can give the Cards a battle while I'm gone.

Since I know you'll all miss me - HA - here's a nice fluffy, featurey piece for my imaginary fans.

In February, when I heard that four of our Nats were going to appear at the ESPN Zone and sign autographs, I started an autograph project with the goal of getting an official ball signed by the 2005 Washington Nationals.

To date, I have 10 signatures on the ball. Three of the players are now in New Orleans, and some of the signatures are fairly big. So it's unlikely I'll get a full comprehensive roster to sign the ball. But with maybe 8-12 more signatures, I will have a tremendous keepsake from the Nats inaugural season.

Here are some pictures and descriptions.

This first picture below has the signature of Jose Guillen on top. It's one of the weirdest autographs I've ever seen. He was one of the players at the ESPN Zone, and he was probably the most animated player there. Probably because he came from Anaheim, not Montreal and was used to fan and media attention.

Below Guillen is Nick Johnson. After the Sunday game against the Diamondbacks opening weekend, I wandered out of RFK and noticed a bunch of people standing near a fenced-in parking lot. Turns out it was the players parking lot. Now I'm not the type of guy who stalks people for autographs. But I figured, what the hell? NJ drove his SUV out of the lot and stopped for us without hesitation. His girlfriend seemed a little embarrassed that he was getting so much attention. Nick must have signed for about 20 minutes, easily. And it was mostly for kids who were walking by and noticed he was signing. He even signed multiples for a few really young kids.

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Below is Jamey Carroll's autograph. He has signed at probably most of the games I've been to. I managed to snag him before the Friday Cubs game a few weeks back.

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The great Cristian Guzman is the autograph on top in the below picture. He was at the ESPN Zone in February as well. He was a very quiet guy.

Below Guzman is Zach Day. He was also at the ESPN Zone. A little more talkative than Guzzy, but he as clearly amazed at the turnout of fans.

Tomo Ohka is the scribble at the bottom. He signed after his bullpen session before the Sunday Arizona game on opening weekend. I was impressed at how long he was signing.

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Esteban Loaiza signed the top part of the ball in the below picture. After the Sunday Arizona game, he also stopped willingly as he was pulling out of the parking lot. His wife and child were in the car, so I was grateful that he took a few minutes for us. He also has a sweet-ass Mercedes E320. On the bumper, the 3 was replaced with an L, and the 0 as replaced by an 1 so it read EL21 - his initials and uniform number.

Joe Horgan the lower part of the ball. I snagged his autograph before the Monday game against the Marlins. Nice guy, he put down his cup of coffee to sign for a bunch of us.

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Chad Cordero is the top signature in the picture below. He was also at the ESPN Zone. Nice guy.

Good ol' J.J. Davis is the final signature. Talk about an interesting signature. He stopped his car after the Sunday Arizona game. Very nice guy, signed multiples for some people and answered us when we said Thank you.

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Well, there's my autograph ball project. I think I need to get at least Wilkerson, Castilla, Vidro, Schneider and Livan Hernandez to make it a good representative ball of the 2005 team. Guys like Church, Patterson, Tucker, Eischen would also be good additions as well. And of course, to complete the project, I'll need to get Frankie to sign the sweet spot.


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