Friday, August 1, 2014

Strawberries and a Darling

The past few weeks haven't been too busy for me in terms of getting autographs, but I've done a few things. Here's a quick summary of a few signing that I've been up to recently.

I met Jadeveon Clowney a few weeks ago, but he wasn't the only athlete I met that day. The Meet Mr. Met Tour was near me at a Citibank that day, and I decided that I was going to go. Originally, the signing was scheduled to be with former Met and SNY analyst Ron Darling. However, the day before the signing, it was changed to Dwight "Doc" Gooden. I arrived about 20 minutes before the signing was going to begin. While I was standing on line, one of the Citibank representatives said that Gooden couldn't make it and Darryl Strawberry would be "pinch hitting" for him. During that time, I had a picture taken with Mr. Met. 

For me, that news was sad because I had cards of Gooden that I was hoping to get signed. I wasn't the only one, as people were holding photos of Gooden and other items for him. During the wait for Strawberry, the Citibank representatives were very friendly, handing out water and cookies for people to enjoy. Also, they were giving out forms for people to sign. The forms were for Ron Darling signed baseballs. The Citibank people said Ron Darling felt bad that he couldn't make it and he wanted to make it up for everyone. I filled out a form with my name, email address, mailing address, and whether or not I would like a personalized ball. (I'll take a personalized one, thank you.) The baseball hasn't came yet, but I'll be on the lookout for it.

Eventually, Darryl Strawberry showed up, parking his car in the middle of the street for a Citibank person to move it. I took the photos below of him coming in. I shook his hand as he walked past me into the building.

The line through the Citibank moved quickly. However, few people had stuff for him to sign. People mostly gave him baseballs or generic items to sign. Eventually, as I was getting to the front of the line, a Citibank representative went to the table with bags full of Modells products. During the signing, one of the people had went to the store and bought buckets of baseballs for Strawberry to sign. There was actually a group of people that didn't have items to get signed that were waiting for the baseballs to arrive. Here's a quick video I took of him signing. 

I soon made my way to the front of the line. I thanked Strawberry for coming on short notice, asked if I could get one of the baseballs signed, and thanked him. He then reached into the bucket, grabbed a Rawlings Official League baseball, not an official Major League ball, signed it, and handed it to me. Then I took a photo with him, thanked him again, and soon left the Citibank. The ball is a cheap ball, and the autograph should fade very soon. I knew that when I got it, but I had nothing else to get signed. I wonder how long it will take to fade.

Fast forward a week, and the Meet Mr. Met Tour was going to be back in town. Like the previous week, Ron Darling was supposed to be the scheduled guest. Also like the previous week, the website changed from Darling to Darryl Strawberry. Expecting to just see Darryl Strawberry, I brought a card and a large 5x7 card from the early 1980s that I found in my dad's old collection. Since I assumed it would be just Strawberry, I didn't bring anything for Ron Darling or anybody else.

I arrived about 45 minutes before the signing was going to begin, and the line was much longer than it was for the one the previous week. I got a good spot in line, just outside the front door of the Citibank branch. The line eventually went out the door, and around the corner of the block.

While talking to the people near me on line, one of the Citibank reps told us that Ron Darling would indeed be at the signing with Darryl Strawberry. As I was getting angry at myself for not bringing any Ron Darling items, the Citibank people said there would be photos of Darling and Strawberry available for signing. The rep also told us that no posed photos with Darling and Strawberry would be allowed because of the size of the line.

Once inside the store, everyone had the opportunity to take a photo in front of a green screen with Mr. Met. Since I took one the previous week, I figured I didn't need another. As I was moving my way through the line, a couple Citibank reps and a Nassau County police officer were trying to figure out a way to manage the line more efficiently. People were still entering the bank for banking purposes, and they had to deal with hundreds of baseball fans. 

Eventually, I made it to the front of the line about a half hour after the signing began. The person in line before me handed Strawberry a photo similar to THIS one, and Strawberry chuckled as he signed it. When it was my turn, I handed him the normal size card and larger 5x7 card. He signed both without saying much, then handed them to me and said, "Here you go." I thanked him, shook his hand, and proceeded to move on to Darling. With Darling, I asked for one of the giveaway photos. He grabbed one off the pile, signed it beautifully in blue sharpie, writing every single letter of his name on it. I thanked him, shook his hand, and got off the line.

Here are the autographs I got at the second signing. The Ron Darling photo is an 8x10. The Darryl Strawberry big card is the one with the white border, and it is 5x7 in size. It is made out of the same material as a baseball card, and even has stats on the back. It is a 5x7 card. I don't have much info on how these came to be on how many there are, I just found one in my basement. I wish the Darling photo was one of him playing, but it is a pretty good picture nevertheless.
That's all I have for this entry. It should be a fun month of August ahead. Thanks for reading and good luck graphing! 

UPDATE 8/28/14: Click HERE to see if I got those Ron Darling signed baseballs. 

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