After months and months of waiting the 2012 baseball season finally got here last week. My hometown team was set to open up the season at home with Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, a healthy Kendrys Morales, and all the pomp and circumstance (and red, white, and blue bunting) of a Friday night ten years after the season they won their only World Series title.
And they were giving away tickets to the first Angels home game of the year–that’s why I was there. I entered my name in a drawing and listened to the live broadcast. I grabbed some Rally Monkey Bread provided by Katella Grill–it’s monkey bread (thick, biscuit-like dough baked with butter, cinnamon, and sugar) and waited for the drawing–the first one took place at 8:30am… the second took place at about 8:50am. I didn’t win. So I headed to my car and drove down the road…
His show’s called The Herd and I entered a drawing to win some free tickets–to random events across Southern California. Disneyland tickets, LA Galaxy tickets, gift cards, etc. I actually ended up winning four tickets to USC’s Spring Game on April 14th–but I knew I couldn’t use them since I was going to have to work that day so I gave them back to the ESPN folks so I could still be in the running for Disney tickets. I should’ve kept the football tickets–I would have sold them on eBay or StubHub or something… oh, well…
So, I watch Colin end his show (they gave out tickets during each commercial break) and he took a few questions from audience members… then I went to work.
I had planned on a half day… and in the early afternoon I drove back to Angel Stadium and headed to the player’s parking lot. The guys were arriving for that evening’s game and I had assumed that they’d be thrilled to sign autographs on the afternoon of the first home game of the season. But most of the players ignored the 15-20 fans that were asking them to please stop and sign. There were a few guys who took the time. First, the new primary catcher, Chris Iannetta, parked and then walked down to the barrier near the driveway to the lot to sign for us. I had a new baseball (ready for the 2012 season) that he signed. My team ball had begun!
While waiting I spoke with a fan named Alex who, as it turns out, runs a blog/website called Think Red Instead that I’ve been reading sporadically over the last two years. What a nice guy–and he’s helped me out indirectly in the past by publishing the skinny on some autograph signings. Thanks, Alex!
Later, Mark Trumbo signed for all the fans at the back gate through the bushes that obscure the players’ lot from the rest of the parking areas. And, lastly, Rich Thompson stopped in the driveway and signed for everyone while seated in his classic car. Stylish, Rich. And I had three autographs on my team ball!
After a bit of time at the parking lot I headed back to work for a bit… then ended the work day and stopped at a cupcake bakery called Sprinkles since they were doing a BOGO deal for anyone wearing Angels garb. I happily walked through the door and got 4 cupcakes for the price of 2–don’t worry, I shared with my wife. And, together we made dinner and ate cupcakes and I watched the Angels win on Opening Night from the comfort of my sofa at home. A 5-0 victory for the Halos behind a strong outing from Jered Weaver. The season’s shaping up to be a good one!