Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gary Gaetti TTM Success

A weekend filled with Twins related activities (see previous posts) included the arrival of great item in the mail. Gary Gaetti was my first autograph request through the mail (ttm request) back in Feb. 2007. 9 days after sending my card I received a signed card back from him. I was very pleased, and began a wonderful new hobby.

After successes with several other players, I sent two more cards to Gaetti in late summer of 07, but never received anything back from him. I assumed he was either not signing, or did not receive them. It looks like it was the latter.

I got some official 8 x10 photos of some older Twins this year, and decided to send some out ttm. I sent out to Tom Brunansky, Greg Gagne, Randy Bush, and Gary Gaetti. To my profound happiness, I have received all four back signed with the arrival of Gary Gaetti’s today. Gary also was kind enough to sign a baseball card for me.

All four of the above listed gentlemen are class individuals. Brunansky and Bush even personalize their photo to me with Brunansky including his old uniform number on his. Gagne was the fastest returning his signed photo in 7 days, Gaetti took 47 days.

Many former and current Twins players are really good about signing autographs through the mail or in-person. I think it says something about the organization and the people and players in it.

Thanks Gary, Tom, Randy, and Greg for signing my pictures and cards. It is appreciated.

Twins Autograph Party

Last Saturday was the Twins autograph party. The current players were scheduled to start signing at 12:30. I arrived at 10:00 and found the lines for Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Carlos Gomez to be huge. I learned people started arriving for Mauer and Mourneau at 5 in the morning.

Luckily, I was not interested in any of those players. This year my goal was to get some baseball cards signed by some of the less famous players. Things worked out great.

First I got Craig Monroe, Jason Kubel, and first base coach and former player Jerry White. Craig and Jerry put their numbers on their cards as well as signing them. I always like when players add their uniform numbers to their signatures on items. It just seems to make them look better.

I then went and got Alexi Casilla, Matt Guerrier, and Kevin Slowey. Casilla signed his rookie card – adding his number. Slowey also added his number. I like Casilla a lot as a player and hope he will continue to perform well. He has Gomez like speed, but unlike Gomez, Casilla is more willing to work his way on base via the walk.

I moved on to pitching coach Rick Anderson, Brendan Harris, and Livan Hernandez. I was hoping to get the former World Series MVP Hernandez as I don’t think he will be around next season. The Twins will probably go with a younger, less expensive, pitcher next year. All three gentlemen included their numbers on their cards.

I ended with Jesse Crain, Mike Redmond, and Pat Neshek next. All included their numbers. Neshek also draws a little baseball using the P in Pat as the outline of the ball.

That made 12 current players and coaches’ cards signed. I could have had 14 as I still had time and there was not waiting at the Glen Perkins, Adam Everett station, but I did not bring their cards with. Oh well, Perkins should be around for a while with Twins, so I will likely be able to get him in the future.

The Twins alumni players started signing at 2:30. I got in the Rick Aguerlia, Al Newman, and Terry Steinbach line. Things looked good till Al Newman did not show. I needed Newman for the 87 Twins collection, so I was not happy when he did not show. Still I got Aguerlia, who does not usually come to these events, to sign an 8 x 10 picture and Steinbach signed a card.

I had almost an hour left, so I got in the Harmon Killebrew line, but the line moved too slowly and I did not get through. I did get a sun burn in the process as I forgot to put sun tan lotion on before heading out, and they did not bring any around until it was to late for me.

Disappoints aside, I still got 14 different players / coaches to sign for me adding to my collection. I also meet several interesting people. I also enjoy these events and look forward to the next one.

Twins Game Plus a Bobblehead

A friend wanted to go to last Friday’s Twins game. When he found out it was Dan Gladden bobble head night, he wanted to go even more. He actually did not want the bobble head for himself; he wanted to sell it on Ebay to off-set the price of his ticket.

I assumed there would be a big line for the bobble heads as has been the case in the past. However, to our surprise, there was not any line only 10 minutes after the gates opened, and we both got bobble heads. I will be keeping mine as I already have a couple of others including one of Gary Gaetti who I consider one of my favorite players.

I got to see a big Twins win over Arizonia and future Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson. I always enjoy Twins games, especially wins.

Twins Live Unplugged

I attended Twins Live Unplugged last Thursday. Twins Live Unplugged is basically three or so Twins players showing up at a sport bar / restaurant and taking questions from fans and signing a few autographs. Joe Mauer, Mike Redmond, and Kevin Slowey were the official attendees with surprise guests Matt Tolbert and Brendan Harris making appearances.

Mauer’s presence ensured a large crowd, but I was most impressed with Slowey. He seems quite intelligent and witty. Mauer also seemed a little more animated than usual. I learned that he could rap, though he decline to do so when asked by female fan.

I was hoping to get Joe Mauer to sign an 8 x10 picture I had created of him. However, Mauer, Redmond, and Slowey would only sign an 11 x 17 picture that all three were on. Since I am not one to turn down free Twins autographed stuff, I took it. Actually, it looks quite nice making it a welcome addition to my autographed items collection.

I enjoyed the evening; and I would go to another one if the opportunity arrives.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Running the Table at the CMA & ACM

I have been doing some research on who wins CMA and ACM awards. What I have found offers some surprises

Amazingly only six Country Music artists can claim to have won both CMA & ACM Entertainer of Year and both CMA & AMC Vocalist (Male or Female) of the Year. They are:

George Strait, Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, and Barbra Mandrell

I thought there would be more people. What happened to the others? Here are some notable near misses and what award or awards they are missing:

- Garth Brooks & Kenny Chesney have never won CMA Male Vocalist of the Year

- Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Tim McGraw, Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell, and Keith Urban have never won ACM Entertainer of the Year

- Toby Keith has never won CMA Entertainer of the Year

- Willie Nelson & Hank Williams Jr. have never won a Male Vocalist of Year Award from either the CMA or ACM

- Shania Twain has never won a Female Vocalist of the Year Award from either the CMA or ACM

- Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings have never won ACM Entertainer or ACM Male Vocalist of the Year.

- Tammy Wynette, Randy Travis, Faith Hill, and George Jones have never won Entertainer of the Year from either the CMA or ACM

- LeAnn Rimes, John Michael Montgomery, Travis Tritt, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dwight Yoakam, Roasanne Cash, have never won a vocalist or entertainer of the year award.

- I did not include groups or duos in my research.

I think it shows how hard it really is to win awards. While it seems like the same people always win that is not necessarily the case.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Six Country Songs Run the Table

What is the greatest country music song? For 40 years the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM) have given awards for Single and Song of the Year. However, only 12 times have they awarded Single of the Year to the same song. Those songs are:

Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks
Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson
Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) – Alan Jackson
Check Yes or No – George Strait
I Swear – John Michael Montgomery
I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
Okie From Muskogee – Merle Haggard
Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich
He Stopped Loving Her Today – George Jones
Always On My Mind – Willie Nelson
Forever and Ever, Amen – Randy Travis
Happiest Girl in the Whole USA – Donna Fargo
Eighteen Wheels & Dozen Roses – Kathy Maetta
Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw

All of these are well known songs. However, only six of them have won both Single and Song of the Year from both the CMA and ACM. Those songs are:

Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) – Alan Jackson
I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich
He Stopped Loving Her Today – George Jones
Forever and Ever, Amen – Randy Travis
Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw

So out of 40 years these are the only six songs who basically have run the table at the CMA and ACM shows. Is one of these six the greatest country music song? Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is for sure. Only one artist has taken home all four awards for the one song – Alan Jackson. Why? The CMA awards the artist for Single of the Year, and only the songwriters for Song of the Year. Of the above six songs, only Alan Jackson wrote his song.