First Event of the All Star Weekend was the Celebrity Hitting Challenge
Went to that event with one thing on my mind, getting some autographs, and catching some HR Derby baseballs. I’d say it was a GREAT day, read on to find out!
Started out waking up in the morning and around 4 p.m I headed to Lakewood, NJ. Arrived around 4:30. At 5:15 there was a scheduled autograph signing free to all fans outside the stadium, every player in the ASG was signing. I didn’t understand why it was outside the stadium not inside, I could’ve paid the $3 for parking, got the 45 minute autographs and left! But no, I was determined to get at least one HR Derby ball.
The autograph session was really cool. I started out first going to get Joey Gallo (Top Rangers Prospect), really nice guy, he signed a ROMLB I had on the Sweetspot, in blue. Then I headed over to Chris Stratton, he signed a SAL Baseball on the SS for me. It was PACKED! I bought small 5×7 logos of the ASG logo to get players that i didnt have a 8×10 for or a baseball. Next player I went to was Brandon Nimmo, a first round pick for the NY Mets (Yuck!). I was waiting in line and the guy ahead of me had a notebook with 9(yes NINE!) cards of him. When it was his turned he asked Nimmo to sign all, which he did.(Prospects are usually 1000x nicer then MLB players) I was then up to get Nimmo to sign my 5×7, i asked him if he could write ‘1st round draft pick’, he respectfully did, and i thanked him, then said, “Lets go Phillies!”, he laughed. I got a lot more autographs but nobody worth saying.
Gates opened up, finally! I headed to the away dugout because i spotted a few fellow graphers. Said Hello and headed to the home side. Now, this Celebrity Hitting Challange was really cool because it had some old timers (Heres the list: http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?sid=t427&ymd=20121109&content_id=40221454&vkey=team1)
Doc Gooden was signing for fans, but i had no intent in getting him, I already had him, plus there were a lot of people trying to get him. Matt Stairs was there, but i didnt have anything to get him on, my friend had 2 of his cards and Matt signed both. I had an 5×7 of the NY Giants 2013 1st round pick, Justin Pugh. Getting the photo to him was a pain, I was on top of the dugout, so what i did was stick the photo into 2 cardboard pieces and wrapped a rubber band around it and slid it across, that worked Perfectly. He signed it and slid it back over, that was very nice of him…That was it for autographs, for now.
It was time for the HR Derby. Im an idiot and didnt bring a glove!! F$%K Me. I mainly stood in RF because Matt Stairs was hitting Bombs their, and more kids were there so I THOUGHT itd be easier…. but no. NOBODY was hitting home runs, im not a ball hawk so im not good at strategies and positioning but basically, whoever had a glove, got the ball. Most of the hitters hit grounders. But there was a few actual minor league players and they were hitting good.
By the time it got dark i had zero baseballs but I was determind to get at least one!
It was down to 2 people, Joey Gallo & David Chester.
I stood in LF because Chester was up first and he was righty. (At First Energy Park OF seats are grass and it slopes down, a bit steep). I was in RF walking to LF, didnt feel like running. When I got there, I was in Left Center. The ball was pitched and BOOM, coming my direction, but it was short, so i knew i had a shot, nobody was round except a older man. I ran down the slope tracking the ball… I slipped while running down, the guy infront of me also fell, he caught the ball, bobble and dropped it while he was falling. As he dropped it I Kicked him in the face as i was sliding down(It was more of i pushed my bottom of my foot on his head and pushed him down but still). The ball got free and was a foot to the left of me.. and BAM! All mine baby! It was a cool ball, it looked brand new, all there was, was a hit mark. I grabbed the ball and said sorry to the guy, he was fine with it, i still kept the ball haha.
And that was the only one i got on the night. Sadly, the winner was Joey Gallo.
After the game i headed to the left of the home dugout, and as Joey Gallo was walking in he signed for people, and i asked him to sign the ball I caught, i asked him to inscribe 2013 SAL HR Derby Champ, and he did and signed the SS. I then asked him for a pic, he said sure.
Ended up with a HR ball which was cool.The ball was a plain old SAL ball (SAL- Southern Atlantic League) Some sweet autographs, and a good time!
Follow me on twitter to catch my other journeys. This is my first post and would appreciate feedback. I usually go to Citizens Bank Park and in the summer I hit Marlins Park.
Follow : @MSTEADMAN1