Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Donald Trump In Colorado Springs 7/29/16

Between March and September 2016, I was living in Colorado Springs, Colorado for a job. While out there, I got an opportunity to attend an event, and I couldn't turn it down.

As you can tell from the title, it was a Donald Trump Presidential Rally. I'm not really into politics that much, but with arguably the most talked about man in the country coming to an event 15 minutes from where I live, it was an opportunity I could not resist. 

We had heard rumors on social media that Trump would be coming to the Colorado Springs area, and once it was confirmed that he was coming, I had to check the calendar. He was scheduled to come to a local college on Friday, July 29 at 2 p.m. With anything regarding Trump, there was controversy from the moment the event was announced. 

Tickets online were free, so a couple friends and I decided to go to the event. One of the friends graduated from the college the event was at, so he was very familiar with where the event was and the layout of the campus, which proved to be important. 

The doors for the event were scheduled to open at 11 a.m., more than three hours before Trump was scheduled to take the stage. My friends and I arrived and were on line to get into the event at about 10:45 a.m., and the line was already hundreds of people deep. When we arrived, there was just one protestor. After telling a few people that we didn't want to volunteer to help Trump's cause, we were moving on the line. As we got closer to the door, the line got a little crazier and less organized. 

The Secret Service was running security, which was as strict as you would think. When I got to the door, I put all my electronics in a little bag and walked through a metal detector. It was similar to an airport, but without taking off shoes. Eventually, we made it in to the room where the event was being held, which was a basketball court.

All of the bleacher seats were taken by the time we entered the building at about 12:30, so we had to stand on the floor of the arena and find spots in the crowd of people. After walking around for a couple minutes, I found a spot toward the front of the crowd in the corner near the near the handicapped section.

After killing off a lot of time on my phone and talking to the people next to me, someone came up on the stage and said that the Republican candidate would be at the event in a few minutes. Before him, there were a couple speeches, a pre-event prayer, and a woman came on stage and sang the national anthem. Then, there was more waiting and waiting.

By 2:30, Trump had still not appeared on the stage. Someone kept coming on stage and told us that he would be here any minute. At about 2:45, it was go time, and the Donald appeared to the delight of the crowd. Here are some blurry photos I took of him walking out:

Later, I found out online that Trump was late because he was stuck in an elevator at his Colorado Springs hotel, and he needed to be rescued by the fire marshal. That fact proved to be ironic, as Trump would later criticize the fire marshal for not letting more people into the building.

As for the speech, I thought it was a little crazy. I think many of the things Trump has said and done are terrible, and I will probably not be voting for him on November 8. He said everything you would expect Trump to say, which you can read about HERE and HERE.

I only took one video during the speech, and it was when the Trump supporters started chanting that Hillary Clinton should be locked up in jail. Here is how Trump responded to those chats:

I had a decent side view from my spot in the crowd, and as the speech progressed it got more crowded with people coming to the front, as you can see in the panorama I took below.
At the time, it just seemed surreal that I was actually in the same room as Trump listening to him in person. I just shot a few photos during his speech, like the ones below.

Eventually, he wrapped up his speech and said he needed to go talk to the people who were in another room in the arena watching the speech on video, because the event didn't have a lot of space to fit everyone in at once.

But, before he did that he went to the crowd to start shaking hands and signing autographs. To my surprise, he went off the stage on the other side, the one he didn't walk up on. I didn't think I would actually get as close to the front as I did, so all I had on me was a little notepad that I usually keep in my car. But, I figured I'd give it a try because his autograph is a hot commodity at the moment.

Before he made his way toward where I was standing, a couple Secret Service members came over and told everyone to put away their pens and not to push the people against the front. I was in the front, and I can say that people didn't really follow that second direction. As he walked in my general direction, this was the scene and the result:

As you can see, I got the second to last autograph he signed before he left. At the time, I couldn't think of anything to say to him because I was just happy to get the autograph. It was crazy, and once I got the autograph it took a while to get back out through the crowds of people.

Here is the autograph:

I wish it had more letters to it, but an autograph is an autograph. On the way home, I stopped at a local store and bought a picture frame for $4, which I think would anger Trump and his mighty signature. 

Overall, it was a good experience just to go to the event and see Trump in person. The autograph was just an added bonus. 

That's all for now. I'll try and update this blog more often. Thanks for reading and have a good day. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Many Mail Successes

I haven't posted in a while, and I haven't posted a mail success entry in an even longer time, so I figured I'd post one of all the stuff I got recently.

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy signed two cards.

 So did former Met Skip Lockwood.

Fellow former Met Randy Niemann signed 3. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Many Mets Games July-August 2015

I'm falling behind on blogging about Mets games, and for that I'm sorry. But I'm going to make up for all of that at once in this entry, as I didn't have any spectacular games. Hope you enjoy.

Dodgers @ Mets 7/23 
This game turned out to be a very interesting one. I didn't show up too early for BP, but I did show up in time to get an autograph. On the day Chris Heston threw a no-hitter at Citi Field, I got a ball tossed to me by Curtis Granderson. Now, I wanted him to sign the ball.

Before the game, as he usually does, Granderson warmed up then came over and signed minutes before the game was going to start. I found a good spot in the well-organized line and then waited for my chance to get down. After a couple minutes, I got down to the bottom and gave Granderson the ball and pen. I asked him to personalize it to me, which he did. I also told him he threw it to me the day of the no hitter, and he just nodded and said that was cool. Before I left, I got a quick selfie with him before meeting my friend to watch the game.

The game itself was a tough one to watch as a Mets fan. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw started off strong. Through six innings, he had faced 18 batters and retired all 18. It was 2/3 of the way to a perfect game. Then, Granderson led off the seventh inning with a solid single to right, breaking all of the pent up tension at Citi Field. Kershaw dominated the rest of the way, allowing just three hits in a complete game shutout and 3-0 Dodgers win. After the game, I tried to get a ball from the home plate umpire, Ben May, and was thankfully successful.

Here is the ball, but stay tuned below for some more Mets game recaps.

Padres @ Mets 7/30
A week after that first game, I was back at Citi Field for a weekday day game between the Mets and Padres. I got to the stadium really early, and immediately noticed there was no batting practice. The Mets relief pitchers were warming up, and I wanted to see if I could get any of them to sign. I brought a ball that Granderson and Josh Edgin signed for me last year, and I wanted to add some signatures on it.

One of the first guys out of the dugout was Carlos Torres. A couple people near me asked him to sign, and he obliged. He signed the ball right under Graderson's signature from last year and took care of everyone before getting ready for the game. I met Torres in 2013, and he was very nice then as well.

The next guy out of the dugout was hard throwing reliever Hansel Robles, and he also came over and signed. I got him on the same ball right under Torres' signature. His signature isn't much, but it is what it is.

A couple minutes later, new Met Tyler Clippard emerged from the dugout. When he was walking to warm out, I yelled out and asked if he would sign when he was done. He replied that he would. True to his word, he came over a few minutes later after getting ready. I took the video below:

Clippard signed the ball and he also signed a Washington Nationals logo card that I had on me for a while. Here is the ball and the card:

After getting Clippard, none of the other Mets pitchers came over to sign. Before the game, I got Granderson to sign a photo of him on a magnet that I got in a Detroit Tigers fan pack many years ago. I think I'm finally out of stuff for him to sign, we'll see how that goes. The magnet is a little smaller than a regular baseball card.

During the game, I again watched with my friend and left in the top of the ninth inning when the game went into a rain delay. It wasn't pretty. I watched the top of the ninth at field level and the bottom of the ninth four hours later at home.

Rockies @ Mets 8/10 
At the next home stand, I went to the Monday night opener between the Mets and Colorado Rockies. I headed straight to the third base side to see what I could get from Colorado. Batting practice yielded little, but I saw a good chance when I was waiting by the dugout and saw Rockies reliever Tommy Kahnle walk into the little tunnel where I previously met Shawon Dunston. He is from the Albany area, and he was telling an usher to let his family members down to see him.

While he was waiting for his family to come down, he signed a blank autograph card for me. He didn't sign much, but he did get to see his family, which was a cool sight to see.

Before the game was going to start, I got in position to try and get the big target for the day, former Met Jose Reyes. I got Reyes to sign a ball and a card for me back in Citi Field's first year, and I hadn't gotten his autograph since. That changed on this night. I don't have many photos, but I just happened to be in the right spot and he signed a ball for me on the sweet spot. Here is a tweet I posted that describes what happened.
Notice why my tweet has so many retweets? That's because Reyes himself retweeted it to his more than 150,000 Twitter followers.  Here is a better photo of the signed ball.
The Mets won this game in dramatic fashion. That does it for this entry. Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Islanders Mini Camp 7/10/15

Recently, the Islanders held their annual Rookie Mini Camp at a local ice rink a few miles from my house. I didn't have to work on one day that the practice would be open to the public, so I figured I'd head out to the rink and see what I could get.

The Islanders prospects were divided into two groups of teams, and the first team was supposed to be on the ice at about noon. I got there a few minutes before the first team headed onto the ice. Here is a photo of the first group on the ice.

There wasn't much security, so people were free to roam around wherever they wanted. The whole atmosphere was very relaxed. Eventually, I saw Islanders assistant coach Doug Weight sitting in the stands watching the skate. I went up to him and got him to sign my yearbook from two season ago. I got Bridgeport head coach Brent Thompson and many other Islanders to sign that yearbook in the past year or two, so I figured I'd try and add some more autographs to it.  Weight also signed the blank Islanders logo sheet Bob Nystrom recently signed for me. You can see photos of all these autographs later in he entry. 

Another person that I easily found was current Islanders coach Jack Capuano. He was standing near Weight watching the practice. He also signed the yearbook for me and then I took a photo with him. If you look closely, you can see that Capuano is missing a toe on one of his feet. I really wish I knew how that happened. If you know why Jack Capuano is missing a toe, let me know in the comments. Here is the signed coaches part of the Islanders 2013-14 yearbook.

Another former player that I recognized was Ken Morrow. He was the first player ever to win Olympic Gold and the Stanley Cup in the same year. I've gotten autographs from him before. Click HERE to read about that. I approached him and asked him to sign the Islanders logo sheet and a blank puck, both of which he signed. He inscribed '1980 Gold' on the puck to commemorate the famous Miracle on Ice. I also took another photo with him. 
That was it for the former players, but it was a pretty good day to get the future Islanders as well. Nobody that was invited to the mini camp had played for the Islanders yet, so I was excited to see a lot of the new guys. While one squad was on the ice, the other team was just hanging out in the stands watching their teammates practice.

One player who I immediately recognized was one of the top prospects in the Islanders organization, Ryan Pulock. He is a defenseman who took a shot that was registered at 105 miles per hour at the Islanders scrimmage a couple days prior. He signed a puck and a roster sheet for me, then started signing for everybody that was there. I took a photo with him later. You can see the photos of the autographs later in this entry. I'm pretty sure that is Ryan Pilon photobombing in the background.

Pulock was the only person that I recognized that wasn't on the ice during the first practice session. Eventually, I saw a crowd form near one of the tunnels onto the ice. It was for one of the Islanders late round picks, Andong Song. He was the first Chinese born player ever selected in the NHL Draft. There was a Chinese camera crew following him around everywhere and the Islanders PR person wanted him to go back inside, but he signed my roster sheet before heading inside. I may have been on TV in China, I don't know. He signed his autograph in Chinese, and you can see that later in this entry.

After that, I figured out that the players would be leaving the rink through the lobby where I had originally entered, so me and a lot of the other people went out to the lobby while the other group was on the ice. As soon as I was in the lobby, I noticed someone signing for the people. I was told it was recent first round pick Anthony Beauvillier. He signed a team logo sheet and the roster sheet for me before taking a photo with me. He was friendly with everyone.

I have crazy luck when it comes to getting autographs. I had to go to the bathroom in the lobby, but I kept on telling myself that as soon as I left, the Islanders top prospect would walk out the door. Eventually, I couldn't hold off nature's call any longer. As I walked back into the lobby, I saw top prospect Josh Ho-Sang walking toward the crowd of people. I couldn't believe what was actually happening, so I rushed over to make sure I met him. He sat down on a couch and signed everything for everybody. I got him on the roster sheet and logo photo. He also signed the puck that Pulock previously signed for me. Here is that puck. Pulock's signature is on the top.

After that, I went back into the rink and watched the other group practice. After their practice, a bunch of people went into the tunnel that the players were leaving from. While there, Michael Dal Colle signed my logo photo, roster, and a puck for me. He was a nice guy, but I have to admit that his signature is absolutely awful. Take a look at the puck on the right for yourself.

While in the tunnel, young goalies Stephon Williams and Eamon McAdam signed the 2013-14 yearbook for me. They were the only players that signed the yearbook for me on that day.

Here is the logo photo sheet that I got signed by Ho-Sang, Beauvillier, and Dal Colle. 

Here is the roster sheet that I got signed by Ho-Sang, Pulock, Dal Colle, Beauvillier, Song, as well as Sebastian Collberg and Japanese star Yuri Terao

Song's signature is in the middle on the left side. Terao's is the one on the top right side. 

That's all for this entry. Thank you for reading and good luck graphing!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Steiner Sports Mets Signing 6/29/15

A couple weeks ago, I finally used my Steiner Sports gift cards that I have had for years.

They were hosting a signing with former Mets pitcher Jesse Orosco and current Mets outfielder Juan Lagares. To make this entry short and to the point, I won't get into all the specifics. I used up all my gift cards and paid less than $20 to meet both Lagares and Orosco.

After a long wait on line, Lagares signed a ball on the sweet spot for me and took a photo with me.

And Orosco signed a photo and took a photo with me.

It was a good signing, but I wouldn't have gone if I didn't have the gift cards.

That's it for what may be my shortest entry ever. Thanks for reading and good luck graphing!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Reds @ Mets 6/26/15 at Citi Field

I went to Citi Field for the Friday game of a weekend series between the Mets and the Cincinnati Reds last week. I didn't take as many photos as I usually take at the games, so I'll let the words do the talking for this one.

I got to Citi Field about a half hour before the gates opened and was fifth in line to get in after a guard added a new bag check station. Eventually, the gates opened right on time and I ran in as quickly as I could.

Instead of going to my spot down the third base line, I went straight to right field this time. The Reds have a lot of strong left handed hitters, so I figured I could try and catch some homers from them during batting practice.

As soon as I got to the front row in right field, a righty on the Mets laced a line drive that rolled to the base of the wall a few feet in front of me. Mets reliever Hansel Robles came over to pick up the ball. I asked him to throw it to me. He underhanded it to me from about 10 feet away. I made the underhanded catch in my glove. See the ball on the right. I was on the board not even 10 minutes after walking into the stadium. No more than five minutes after Robles threw me the ball, the Mets were off the field and BP was over.

That was it. The Reds didn't take batting practice, probably because they had a 13 inning game in Pittsburgh the night before and didn't get to New York until about 4 a.m. I don't know if that's when they got in, that is just my guess.

While waiting for anything to happen, I moved over to the usual spot down the third base line and waited for something to happen. First, I went over to Zack Hample and congratulated him on catching the ball Alex Rodriguez used for his 3,000th hit. Click HERE to read more about that.

Eventually, a few of the Reds pitchers came out to play catch. One player was putting loose baseballs that were lying on the field into a bag a few feet in front of me. I didn't know who it was, but I held my glove up to try and get his attention. Without even saying anything, the player tossed a ball to me. The ball is an old Bud Selig ball that was quite worn when I snagged it. I was told the player who threw it to me was injured pitcher Raisel Iglesias, but I don't know for sure.

A few minutes after I got the ball, I saw a Reds pitcher signing some autographs down the line. Before I could figure out who it was, I was running down to try and get his autograph. Since I didn't have much to get signed and I didn't know who the player was, I got the player to sign the ball I was just thrown, even though it was a pretty beat up ball. I was told the player was rookie pitcher Michael Lorenzen. Here is the signed ball.

For a while after getting Lorenzen's autograph, pretty much nothing happened. Then, shortly before the National Anthem, a few Reds players came over and started signing. Billy Hamilton was way too far away. But the one person within an arm's reach was Todd Frazier. He signed a clean ball for me, then I used my GoPro camera to take the below video. He signed for a bunch of people before the National Anthem was sung.

After the national anthem, the main target of the day walked in my direction. That would be Brandon Phillips. I got his autograph in 2013, but I wanted to try again because he is one of the best players in baseball. The video below shows everything that happened once he came over.
As you can see, he signed my card. He also messed with my GoPro, which was hilarious. When he touched the camera, I was actually bending down to pick up a pen that I dropped. Phillips is a great guy, and I'm happy I have the video to prove it. His birthday was a couple days after the video was shot, so that's why I told him happy early birthday.

After that, I just watched the game with my friend. It was a good one, as the Mets won in less than two and a half hours. Here are the autographs from Phillips and Frazier:

That's it for this entry. Thanks for reading and good luck graphing!