Sunday, June 20, 2010

2010 Minnesota Twins Autograph Party

On Saturday, June 12 I attended the Minnesota Twins autograph party. Unlike past years, the Twins did not release a player signing schedule before the day of the event. I think the Twins reasoning was that they tired of people showing up the night before and camping out in the Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau lines. It did not help though as many people did camp out in what they thought was the Joe Mauer line. Of course at 9:00 am when the signing schedule was release, I heard all these people found out they were in the wrong spot and they ran like a spooked herd of cattle to the right line.

I, on the other hand, showed up at 9:30 am and got in the Orlando Hudson line which had all of 10 people in it. I needed Hudson, Jose Mijares, Matt Tolbert, Ron Mahay, Danny Valencia, Steve Liddle, and Trevor Plouffe to complete my collection of signed baseball cards of current Twins players and coaches. Hudson was signing with Jose Mijares so I figured I could kill 2 birds with one stone.

About the time the Twins started signing it started to rain hard. The rain cause numerous problems including slowing down lines, destroying items people wanted signed, and smearing autographs. The ball I had signed by Francisco Liriano had the autograph smeared, but it was still legible. Numerous other folks were not so lucky.

Despite the rain, things went well for me. I got 16 different players including everyone I wanted except Plouffe.

One thing that surprised me was future Hall of Famer and Twins broadcast analyst Bert Blyleven was personalizing all photos. The Twins have always said no personalization at the events. You get in trouble if you even ask for one. However, the rule must not apply to Bert. I think he knows he is about to be elected to the Hall of Fame, and he thinks people will get stuff signed by him and will sell it on the Web. He is probably right; there are some of those folks around. I also noticed Bert was not signing baseballs on the sweet-spot (the prefer spot for collectors) either.

I have no problem with Bert personalizing my photo. I think it is great he gets to know who I am. Also I do not sell my stuff.

Below are my signing successes all of which were baseball cards unless otherwise noted:

Orlando Hudson, Jose Mijares, Clay Condrey, Steve Liddle, Danny Valencia, Francisco Liriano (ball), Matt Tolbert, Joe Nathan, Rick Stelmansyk, Ron Mahay, Drew Butera, Ron Gardenhire (banner), Bert Blyleven (photo), Ron Coomer, Al Newman, Greg Olson (the ex-Atlanta Brave and Minnesota native signed a post of the game winning hit of 1991 World Series – he wanted to draw a sad face on it, but I thought that was not a good idea).

I had a good time and look forward to next year – without the rain.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Nephew Marries


My Nephew and God son William was married on Saturday, May 22nd in Austin, Texas to a wonderful young woman named Brittany. Due to multiple circumstances I had to fly into Austin with my folks on Friday morning and leave on Sunday afternoon. Not much time to spend with my family, but it was event filled.       

Brittany’s father is originally from Minnesota as are both of William’s parents (in fact all 3 graduated from St. Cloud State University – small world indeed). This meant numerous relatives had to jet or drive in from other states (mostly Minnesota). Therefore my brother decided to invite everyone who was already in Austin on Friday to the Groom’s Dinner that was held after the wedding practice.

The Grooms Dinner was held at a restaurant on the shore of Lake Travis called Oasis on Lake Travis. Popular place; how popular? Despite there being nothing else around but parking area for the restaurant, people end up having to park a mile or two away. Guys in golf carts come pick you up drive you up to the restaurant. I am serious, there like 5 of these golf charts ferrying people back and forth.

The restaurant itself was quite large and impressive. Good food; and a great view of Lake Travis. In fact they had a numerous large patio areas for people to sit and dine. With all the people at the groom dinner it felt like I was already at the wedding reception even though the couple had not yet married.

Due to circumstances beyond his control, the groom was forced share my hotel room with me the night before the wedding. Lucky the room had 2 beds. Luckier still he slept just fine – I thought William would be nervous, but he handled everything great except he forget some of his cloths in the hotel closet.

The wedding was held at 6:30 p.m. With time to spare I enjoyed a home cooked breakfast (we were staying at the Candlewood Suites which has a kitchen in each room) from my Mom, and lunch at Chick-fil-A. For the record my parents and I have never eaten at Chick-fil-A. The only one up here in Minnesota is at the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Union food court and it is only open certain hours.

Chick-fil-A has great chicken and my folks and I really enjoyed the food and having some time to spend with my brother who came along for the meal.

90 degree heat, and I am wearing a suit and tie, and the wedding is outside. Amazingly I was not hot at all. I enjoyed the wedding. I had a great seat, second row, aisle seat. The ceremony was short, but effective. The pastor focused the most important thing God, God’s love for us, and how God gives us people to love and be loved by.

This was the only wedding party I have seen made up of only siblings. My niece was the maid of honor, the brides 2 brothers made up the best men (William wanted them both in as best men). Good to see family meant so much to the couple and that they wanted it to be exclusively family in the wedding party. For the record my brother and his wife and my folks had family and friends in the wedding party.

The reception had good food pick out by the groom himself. I meet numerous interesting people included my brother old boss who had once taken me to an Astros game on my first visit to Texas back in 1986.

The cake was great. The bride and groom left by walking through a line of sparklers held by the guests while the music of Frank Sintra played on.

I’d post more pictures but they are not developed yet. Thanks to my brother and his wife for arranging our hotel and driving us around; thanks to the bride’s family for treating us well; thanks to the new couple for inviting us. It was worth the trip.

May Brittany and William have a long, happy and healthy marriage!