Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Warm Up Day 2 Recap

I would call day 1 of Winter Warm Up (WWU) a success for my son Alex and I.  He won some cool prizes, got to talk to Yadi Molina and Greg Garcia, and scored a couple of free autos.  I was more than happy he made it through the daywith out becoming impatient and asking is it time to go yet.

Day 2 offered more of a challenge.  Once again doors did not open until 9, but I wanted to be there early to get a free auto ticket for Luke Weaver.  Free autograph tickets were hand out 1 or 2 hours prior to a player's signing time. Weaver was signing from 10-11 free, so there were 200 line tickets to be handed out.  My son had his picture taken with Weaver at the Cardinals Caravan 2 days before.  I printed off an 8x10 to have Weaver sign for Alex.  Weaver was the Cardinals #1 draft pick in 2014, so I knew there would be some demand for him.   I arrived at the arrived at 8:15 to see a line already forming outside the hotel.  I knew then we had a slim chance of getting Weaver's auto, but we stood outside in 8 degree weather for 45 minutes anyway.  Of course when we got upstairs to the autograph line, all the Weaver tickets had been handed out in less than 5 minutes.  Free tickets are given out 1 per person, but some people had multiples that I assumed they bought.  Many people were expressing their displeasure to the volunteer workers about this, but the free autos are advertised first come first served.  One thing I cannot stand is the sense of entitlement some people have.  If you wanted the auto bad enough, you could have gotten up early to get the ticket or shell over the cash. 

Since we missed out on Weaver, we hoped over to Jason Simontacchi's free line.
Simo is the pitching coach for the Cardinals's Double A Springfield team.  He had his 15 minutes of fame in 2002 when he went 11-5.  He would only pitch 3 more seasons in the Majors before retiring in 2007.

Jacob Wilson was also signing free autos from 12-1, with tickets being handed out at 10.  After we finished with Simontachhi, we stood in line for 45 minutes to get 2 Wilson tickets.  It was a success as we got #47 and 48 in line.  From there we headed back to the autograph area for Adam Wainwright.  We had ticket #37, so we were able to get through the line very quick.
This is the other 2006 World Series logo ball that I had bought on Saturday.  Wainwright had always been a nice guy.  Last year at WWU he asked my son his name and introduced himself as Chris Carpenter.  This year he asked Alex who his favorite player was.  He likes players with his same name, so he told Wainwright he liked Alex Reyes.  Wainwright had a good laugh and mentioned how old he must be getting because none of the young crowd likes him.  The auto cost $100, but I have a soft spot for Wainwright.  He has been with the Cardinals his entire Major League career and took a good sized discount to resign with the Cardinals 2 years ago.  He also does more than his share of charitable work. 

We had about 1.5 hours to kill before Wilson started to sign, so we checked out the game room.  Alex won a Cardinals super hero tshirt, a Build a Bear teddy bear, another draw string bag, and a Wainwright replica jersey.  He had the most fun on the inflatable wall.  The kids put on a suit that allowed them to stick to a 10 foot tall wall.  With the help of a volunteer, he got about 5 feet up.

After the game room and a quick lunch, we got 2 autos from Jacob Wilson.  He might of had a chance to make the Cardinals out of spring training before they traded for Jedd Gyorko.  He plays second and third and has started to learn the outfield.  Wilson does have some power, but needs to cut down on his strikeouts.  Another nice guy who thanked us for coming.  The Springfield Cardinals 8x10 cost me $5. 

It was 12:30 by now, and we did not have another autograph ticket until 4:00.  I chose not to wait over an hour in line to get a free auto ticket for 2 minor league players I already had autos from.  We sat through a presentation by the Cardinals minor league director, then walked through the vendor area.  The card selection was very slim.  There were 2 or 2 vendors with packs and maybe another 3 or 4 with singles.  I bought zero cards because I could not justify paying 50 cents to $1 for base cards.  I knew there would be a premium for Cardinals, but not that much.  My only purchase was a Carlos Martinez lego figure for Alex and this Michael Wacha 8x10.
I hope to get this framed along with a ticket from the 2013 NLCS Game 6 that sent the Cardinals to the World Series.  Wacha was the MVP of that series.

After killing another hour in the game room and watching a small presentation by the St. Louis Science Museum, we got in line for our last auto.
My kids took this picture with Sam Tuivailala in Memphis last May.  He should be in the bullpen at some point this year.  He is a Jason Motte clone.  He started out as a position player, but was converted to a pitcher once it was discovered he could not hit but could throw close to 100 mph. 

Sunday was a long day.  We got to the WWU at 8:15 and left at 4:30.  My son did become restless about 3:30, but we managed to make it through the day.  He almost slept through the enitre 2 hour 15 minute drive home.  I hope he is up for doing it again next year, with or without the rest of the family.

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