Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring Training Day 3

The first 2 days of my spring training trip had some ups and downs as far as getting autographs, but overall I could not complain.  The weather was ideal, and the kids were content splitting time in between baseball and the beach.  I was still hoping for a big name auto of a current player during my last day on Thursday.  Having attended Winter Warm Up, I know these can get pricey if you have to pay for them.  Thursday morning would bring some luck.

My son wanted to go to the player's parking lot again, so we arrived about 6:30 again.  The crowd this time was less than 10 people.  I believe it was 4 or 5 kids and a older couple from Springfield, MO that served as a host family for a Double A player in 2015.  The Cardinals were scheduled to play an away game against the Nationals in Viera at 1:00 that day, so it was even more of an unknown of who would show up and at what time.  We saw some of the same 4x4 trucks with tinted windows from the previous morning, but no one stopped the first 30 minutes.  We did have some luck with the minor league guys that were walking to the clubhouse.
My daughter had this picture taken with Jack Flaherty last year in Peoria.  Flaherty was the #34 pick in the 2014 draft.  He is the Cardinals #2 prospect behind Alex Reyes.  He should start the season in the high A rotation with a good chance to see Double A before the end of 2016.  I was thrilled to get this signed, then Jack went ahead and signed 2 cards.

Shortly after Flaherty stopped, one of the trucks stopped at the gate.  I gave my son a new ROMLB hoping it might be someone good.  Turns out it was Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.  He signed under the Rawlings logo.  I did have a card for him, but was so surprised that he stopped that I forgot to get it out.  Not even 5 minutes later another truck stops.  Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright rolls down the window.  My son got him to sign the same ball Rosenthal did.
Rosenthal on top, Wainwright below

I was a little better prepared for Wainwright than I was for Rosenthal.  I was the last person he signed for.
Waino made our morning, so we decided to go back to the hotel to check out and pick up the rest of the family.  On our way back, I drove past the Marlins side of the complex and noticed someone jogging by himself along the outfield track on one of the practice fields.  I was shocked to see it was Barry Bonds.  I thought about pulling over and trying to get an auto since there was no one else around, but decided not too.  I have heard too many stories about Bonds being a jerk that I did not want to subject my son to that.  I doubt he knows who Bonds is anyway.

We had tickets to the game in Viera, but had some time after checkout.  We stopped at the practice fields one last time.  I was hoping to get McGee on a ball, but did not find him.  My son kept our good morning going by getting Alex Reyes to sign a photo.
 This was taken last year on Reyes' first day at Double A Springfield.  We watched a couple innings of a game before it started to rain, so we decided to head for Viera.  Wish I had another baseball left because Cardinals GM John Mozeliak was watching one of the games in a golf cart.  I settled for a handshake and good luck on the season. 

We arrived in Viera about 45 minutes before game time.  The game was a sell out, so I was not expecting to get anymore autos.  We had third row seats down the third base line about half way to the outfield wall.  The only possible chance we had for autos were the Cardinals relief pitchers on their way to the bullpen.  Luck was on our side again.

Sam Tuivailala signed for maybe 5 people on his way out to the pen.  My son had him sign the same ball started at the game on Wednesday.  The Cardinals went on to lose the game 7-2.  Wainwright did not look that great, giving up 3 runs in less than 5 innings. 

Out totals for the 3 days:
7 autographed cards
2 autographed photos
3 broken bats, one autoed
2 autographed baseballs: 4 sigs on one, 2 on another
1 spring training baseball, 3 minor league balls

It was a fun trip, one I hope to do again some time in the near future. 


  1. what great family memories that will always be cherished.

    1. I was glad the kids were old enough to enjoy the experience.