09 September 2012

willing to wait

i went to a free signing yesterday at a grocery store in the north twin cities metro area.  i arrived maybe an hour and a half before the signing was supposed to start, and there was already a pretty significant line.  while we were waiting for josh willingham and drew butera to arrive and sign, we were treated to some joe mauer approved malt cups and other snacks, courtesy of the event sponsors.  

it seems that there is a fairly large autograph community in the twins' fan base.  i have been to a fair number of these player signings over the last few years, and there are quite a few people that i recognized from most, if not all, of those events.  fair enough - after all, i'm attending these things too, so i can't complain about anyone else who shows up.  luckily, i didn't notice any of those subtle line jumpers who come from the back of the line and start talking to one of their acquaintances and wind up hanging out until the line starts moving.  that's been a problem at past events, as have those 'place savers'.  yesterday there was a group of ladies who claimed to be saving a spot for a friend who arrived and joined them after there were maybe 50 people further back in line.  i hope all those people were able to make it through the line, especially when that late arriving lady was talking about how she got willingham's autograph the night before.

some of these fans complained about the number of people that showed up early: 'you used to know when to get here. now you just don't know'.  well, lady, you were still there early enough to get your stuff signed.  besides, willingham is the first right-handed hitting twin to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs since gary gaetti did it back in that magical 1987 season.  and, this was his first public signing, so i think it was safe to assume that the crowds were going to be there.

no drama for me, i just show up and ask the player to sign something.  this time, i had willingham sign a  copy of his 2012 topps allen & ginter card for me
it looks sharp.  but then again, a&g always looks nice when it's signed.  i'm glad that the players and the twins do this sort of thing, although i don't know how much, if anything, the team had to do with this particular signing.  i miss the annual autograph party that no longer takes place, and haven't been to twins fest for a couple of years at least.  even so, i don't know how many more of these signings i will attend. i think there are better ways to use my time.

what are public signings like in other cities?  overrun by serial autograph hounds? or mostly just fans?  or can you tell the difference?


Paul said...

I think these type of events mainly appeal to fans - it's not a profitable use of time for the "pros" to wait on line for the hour+ just to get one item, which may be limited to a store-supplied item. They need volume to make it worthwhile, where the fan is (hopefully) happy to have their few seconds with the player & their autograph.

I haven't been to any recently - the last one I went to was with Ike Davis, just after his rookie season. Long line, one item per person, and the folks at the end of the line didn't get through.

MrMopar said...

The last couple I have gone to were at a minor league game. They were bigger names, but you had to have tickets to the game, so the general public was excluded (which is nice for line control). Still, I was able to go through each line several times and with the help of family members, I was able to get double digit autographs from most of them, as were many others. Everyone that had enough sense made it through the line. By that I mean, If I made it through 3-4 times, then unless you sat in your seat until 5 minutes before the end, you made it through too!

I am a fan and an addict of sorts. I can't get enough autographed cards. The more and unique, the better. Did I need 18 Gaylord Perry autographs? No. Did I want them. YES! I actually ran out of items to have signed and the line had dwindled to 2-3 people and there was still time left! I ended up getting Stewart on 50+ items, but several were for other people via an online trade site. Stewart was definitely the best of all about it.

Gaylord Perry
Dan Wilson
Dave Stewart
Rollie Fingers

MrMopar said...

Before anyone blasts me for being greedy or out for a buck...

None of my items were sold. The only items to leave my possession were those I got for other people (at no cost to them, just me doing them a solid).

Spiegel83 said...

The events in the LA area are at times chaotic and disorganized. Most venues like cell phone stars or tire shops have been getting better with crowd control.

I show up really early to these events pending on the player. I always get there at least 2 hours early unless it is a superstar like Kershaw.

The crowd is a mix of autograph collectors/fans and autograph sellers. The conversation in line with total strangers that share the same passion of baseball as you is usually fun.

Dodgerbobble said...

The Willingham looks awesome!

I'll echo Spiegel, they're chaotic in LA.

gcrl said...

hey mrmopar - if you have any stewart doubles...

i don't have a problem with anyone going through the line as many times as possible. i do get annoyed with the line jumpers and the spot savers though.

Droidtrader said...

I noticed one line jumper. A woman who I see at a lot of these events. She pulled into the parking lot right in front of us, yet she was about 50 people in front of us!

I love these events, but there haven't been as many as they used to have. I take one or both of my sons with me. Standing in a 2 hour line with nothing to do but talk to your kids is a great way of tricking them into spending time with you :-)

Crackin Wax said...

I was going to go to that, but then I figured "meh, I'll just wait for TwinsFest when I can pay an arm and a leg for it and freeze off the other arm and leg while waiting in line for it."

gcrl said...

Good strategy - its one I have employed before myself. Seriously, though - I hope to get back to twins fest next year.