Friday, January 27, 2012

My Epic New York Adventure – Part 3

I’ve got to say, my family is getting better at including my hobby in Christmas. Last year, my mom put a box of Panini Basketball Hall of Fame under the tree. This year, my mom and wife partnered up to send me to New York so that I could add a Mike Piazza autograph to my collection.

The one thing that I hate about getting the autographs of big stars at card shows is that things are usually run like an assembly line. You hand the item that you are getting signed to someone, they hand it to the athlete and then hand it back to you. There’s no interaction with the athlete and it’s really not as much fun.

Of course, this is how the Piazza signing was being run. They announced that there would be no pictures with Mike and that he would not be signing home plates or seat backs. The last two things weren’t known to the promoter ahead of time which led to a lot of unhappy customers and arguing in line. Some of that arguing happened right before it was my turn to get my autograph. Never one to miss out on an opportunity, I figured that I would take it upon my self to hand my picture directly to Mike.

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Here’s Mike getting ready to sign my picture. Over my backpack, you can see the guy with the red hair who was arguing with people about what could and couldn’t be signed.

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Here’s Mike signing my picture. Screw PSA/DNA, James Spence, etc. This is all of the proof that I need right here. I won’t be selling this autograph anyway so it doesn’t matter. The guy right above Mike’s head had a home plate that he wanted to get signed. You can see it on the table.

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I figured that since I was able to do the interaction thing, I may as well do it right. So, I thanked Mike and shook his hand. No one else got to do that as far as I knew. I was also lucky enough to end up with some great pictures thanks to my friend Stu who accompanied me to the show. The result?

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I love it. Part of the autograph did end up on a dark part of the picture which isn’t the best, but I love the way that it turned out. While Piazza’s autograph is just a bunch of scribbly loops, it’s an autograph that really needs to be on something larger in order to appreciate it. I do love my Sweet Spot Piazza autograph, but the autograph doesn’t have enough room to breathe on that card.

I also picked up a series 8 Mike Piazza Retro Edition McFarlane figure for $8. Tough to beat that.

How did I end this great day? I went to the Knicks/Nuggets game with Mike Piazza. Well, I went to the game and Mike Piazza went to the game. I was up in the balcony and he was down in a courtside seat. That counts as going to the game with him, doesn’t it?

The game turned out to be a great one. It was a double overtime Nuggets victory that saw Carmelo Anthony take almost every shot from the middle of the 4th quarter on. He hit some big shots, but missed a lot more shots where he was double teamed and had teammates wide open. Poor Amare Stoudamire. I’d hate to play with someone like Melo.

I left the game and made my way to Port Authority for the trip home. Luckily the 12:15 bus wasn’t even half full so I got to switch to that earlier bus. I was back home and in my bed at 4:30 am, slept for around 9 hours and was up in time to see the Patriots beat the Ravens. All in all, a great weekend.

5 comments:

Greg Zakwin said...

Sweet pic! Congrats on such an awesome experience! I'd kill for Mike to sign out West sometime.

G_Moses said...

Dude, freaking sweet. And to add to the rest of your posts, not bad pulls you got either. But really, meeting a favorite player and shaking his hand is cool. I never actually got to shake Batum's hand when he signed for me, so it's cool you got to do that.

I agree with you on the PSA DNA thing. You know where it came from, no need to have a COA on something that you saw signed in front of you. Very cool stuff man. I'm jealous.

Section 36 said...

Why on earth would he not sign home plate or seat backs? Seem like odd things to restrict.

Offy said...

Greg - I actually made a trip out to Palm Springs when my best friend lived out there to see Piazza play in the Pepsi Softball Challenge (or whatever it was called). I was five feet away from him, but wasn't able to nab an auto. I had been watching for a Piazza signing for a while now, but my wife beat me to it.

Guy - I've had really good luck with my favorite players. I got to chat with Dwight Evans as a kid, I got a couple of Paul Pierce autographs in person at a low key fundraiser for his charity, Big Baby loved the Murad card that I brought and was showing it off to the rest of the team that was at the signing, I got to chat with Dee Brown for a while and shake his hand (his fingers are enormous) at a book signing and now this with Piazza. It's not a big deal, but it does add a lot to the experience when you can chat with the player and thank them for their auto.

36 - This was all mandated by the agent/manager. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with other agreements. He probably signed some seat backs and home plates at some point and part of the big money contract was to not sign them at future card shows. I've seen it with other athletes and certain pieces of equipment in the past. It probably happens with batting helmets more than anything else.

dkwilson said...

That's awesome! Piazza was one of my two favorite players growing up. I would love to meet him. Congrats and the photo/auto look great!

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