Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Training: Chicago Cubs vs. Seattle Mariners 3/9/17

My wife and I did end up going to one more Chicago Cubs game last week while we were in Arizona. Just two days after seeing them play Team Italy, we went back to Sloan Park to see them play the Seattle Mariners.

With this being against a Major League team, tickets were a bit tougher to come by. I spent some time on various second-hand ticket websites, and finally, the right deal came across, and I jumped on it. I actually was able to get them for less that face value, which was great! The seats were in the Budweiser rooftop section, which is above the concession area in left-center field. They have bleachers there to sit on, in addition to some restaurant-style tables and chairs. Although it isn't Wrigley field, I can still technically say that I sat in the outfield bleacher seats at a Chicago cubs home game.

After about halfway through the game, we decided to move a bit closer, and sat in some field-level seats on the first base side of the park. It was amazing to see how different of a game it is when you are at that different perspective.

Like at every Sloan Park home game, Fergie Jenkins was holding an autograph signing with former MLB players to raise money for various charities. The names will sometimes change, but everyone at this game was also at the previous one. The only difference was the George Foster wasn't at this game, so it's a good thing I got the ball signed by him at the previous one. This time around, I got baseballs signed by Byron Browne and Darrell Evans, and a photo from Lee Smith. I actually purchased just one photo for Smith to sign in silver, but when the silver paint pen wasn't working too well with some letters, he signed another copy in blue for me, and had me keep them both. Despite that imperfection, I still like the silver one better, but of course I appreciate the gesture.

Baseball games are always fun. Always. Even when you are at your second game in three days, and for the second time, they manage to enter the 9th inning with a lead, and end the game with a loss. It just goes to show that even though they are World Series champions, the Cubs will always be the Cubs.

Here's to a great 2017 baseball season, everybody!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Autographs and a Zamboni Ride at the March 17 Fargo Force Game

My family and I had a great time watching our local USHL team, the Fargo Force, tonight. The home team lost 3-2, but it's never a bad night when you are out with your family watching a hockey game.

Our 5-year-old even had the opportunity to ride the Zamboni during the second intermission. We had scheduled this at the beginning of the season, and knew about it for a while, but she was looking forward to it all day. When the moment came, she was all smiles as she took a trip around the ice. 

After the game, we had the opportunity to meet one of the players. Kevin O'Neil was the evening's "Player spotlight" and was signing autographs for fans after the game. My girls were off playing at the playground area, but I waited in line, and got a puck and a game program signed by him. 

TTM Returns: Week Ending 3-11-17

I know it's a little bit late for this one, but with a week-long vacations, followed by a 4-day, 50-hour work week, I just haven't had time to post these until now. Anyway, here's a quick look at the TTM returns I received back for the week ending March 11, 2017:

Adam Kennedy

Sean Doolittle

Jake Barrett

Travis Jankowski

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spring Training: Chicago Cubs vs. Team Italy 3/7/17

I made the short trip from Chadler, AZ to Mesa yesterday afternoon with my wife and my dad to see the defending World Series Champions, the Chicago Cubs, in Spring Training action.

We got the general admission tickets, which put us in the outfield lawn. Despite being the cheapest in the park, the view is amazing, and really gives you a great view of the entire field during the game. The Cubs lost 8-7 to team Italy, but the three of us had a great time while we were there. After all, when you're from Minnesota, and it's March, and you find yourself outside in the sun wearing shorts and watching a baseball game, it could never be a bad day.

Also at the game was Chicago Cubs legend and Baseball Hall-of-Famer Fergie Jenkins, who hosts autograph signings with former Major League ballplayers to help raise money for the Fergie Jenkins Foundation, as well as various other charities. At today's game was Jenkins, Bill Buckner, George Foster, Lee Smith, Pete LaCock, Byron Browne, and Darrell Evans. Of course, I had to participate, and got baseballs signed by Jenkins, Buckner, and Foster.

It was quite an amazing feeling, not only to be at the ballpark, but to watch the Cubs as they are about to enter the baseball season as defending World Series Champions, for the first time in 108 years!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

TTM Returns: Week Ending 2-25-17

Here's a quick look at my TTM returns for the week ending February 25, 2017:

John Scott

Derek Forbort

Monday, February 20, 2017

Autographed Pucks from Eric Staal & Ryan Suter

Here's the Minnesota Wild in-person event I had been waiting for the whole season! Ever since the Wild signed Eric Staal, I had been waiting for him to make an appearance at a public signing. I also had yet to make it to a Ryan Suter signing. The last one he did was two years ago, with Devan Dubnyk and Jonas Brodin. At the time, I could only afford one, and Dubnyk was new to the team, so I went with him, not knowing what his signing habits would be. Of course, Dubnyk has done two signings since then, in which I got an 8x10 photo last year, and a mini mask this year.

Anyway, as luck would have it, BOTH Staal and Suter were announced to be making a public signing appearance at FanHQ, which was all that I had hoped would happen.

Unfortunately, I was scheduled to work that day, and wouldn't be able to make it.

Luckily, FanHQ is great with mail orders, and has sign-and-ship options for pucks and 8x10s. Living 3.5-hours away, I can't make most signings in person, so the fact that they do mail-orders still allows me to participate, They always take great care of the products, and never send anything out of sub-par quality.

Anyway, I picked up an autographed Official Game Puck of each, and here they are:

While I was unable to attend this one in person, I will be making the drive to the next one, featuring Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund. I'm really looking forward to meeting the Captain, and I need Granlund for a few sets that I'm working on. It should be a lot of fun!

Sunday, February 19, 2017