It was a brutal week for the Islanders as the dropped all three games including two to the rival Penguins. Two of the games they dropped were by one goal. This was a major issue last year as the Islanders lost over 24 one goal games last season. If the Islanders aren't going finish games then they definitely aren't going make the playoffs.

Another issue is the carousel of goalies. I know GM Garth Snow is a former goalie but using three different goalie rotation is a little crazy. The Islanders need some consistency in net (thought none of them have played great or terrible). Personally, I've always like Nabakov but I think he could be used in a trade to bring in another forward with another team. Last year before he was claimed off waivers by the Islanders he was on his way to Detroit. I think that would be a good fit for him, and they could give a young forward. I really think the Islanders need a passer to set up their scorers because right now they just aren't putting the puck on the tape.

Also, the Islanders honored the 1992-93 Islanders. I remember that team not having big stars but a lot of heart and grit.
The Islanders lost two road games in Florida this week. However, they still look really strong including John Tavares who had 2 more points (1 goal, 1 assist) last night.

One disturbing issue for the Islanders is lack of production from their second line. Nielson, Grabner, and Okposo only have 4 points between the three of them. Okposo has yet to score a goal but has had his chances especially against the Lightning when they missed place a puck in front on the net and instead of going high over the laid out goalie Garon, he shot the puck into him.

Another issue is the shuffling of net minders. Last Saturday night Nabakov was awesome against the Rangers and the thoughts were he'd get another start against the Lightning. However, Montoya got the start and looked mediocre (previous to that game Montoya had great career stats against Tampa). I'm a believer in playing the hot hand sticking with a goalie until he has a bad game.

Next week the Islanders have two tough games against Pittsburgh who is getting healthier by the day, and have been playing tremendous hockey. Should be a good test.
Here are the fan packs I got last week:

Johns Hopkins University (NCAA), Boston University (NCAA), Eastern Illinois University (NCAA), Baltimore Orioles, Florida Everblades (ECHL), Arizona Cardinals, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (Aussie Rugby)
After a 2-0 opening night loss last Saturday the Islanders look extremely strong, and have rolled off three straight wins. Leading the way has been John Tavares who is noticeably stronger and faster. Tavares has 8 points in this last 2 games. Much of his success is contributed to the chemistry with line-mates P.A. Parenteau & Matt Moulson.

The goaltending has been exceptional with Al Montoya being a steady force the first 3 games. Evegeni Nabakov made a surprise start last night against the Rangers and showed no rust from not having played in an NHL game in over 500 days.

One factor I noticed with the Islanders is that they aren't panicking when something goes wrong. Numerous times last night the Islanders had the lead and the Rangers tied it up and it seemed as the though momentum had swung. Especially, when the game was tied and the Rangers went on a power play. The Islanders didn't panic and just played their game. Last season they would try to press and ultimately make a mistake leading to a goal the other way.

Next game is Thursday night against Tampa Bay
Drew Pelto makes the call...

Got some Fan packs yesterday and today:

Toldeo Mudhens, Toledo Walleyes, Atlanta Falcons, San Jose Sharks,Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL) Lynchburg College, University of the Redlands, Illinois College, Millikin University, Delaware Valley College

Chicago Steel (USHL), Cal. Lutheran
I'm adding a new section to my blog called "Venue Review" where I review venues and teams I've visited and review how my experience was. I hope this help other fans when they attend these games.

The Adirondack Phantoms are the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, located in Glen Falls, NY. The Phantoms moved here a few years ago after playing many season in Philadelphia.

Over the summer my daughter and son completed a summer reading program for the Phantoms which resulted in them each getting a free ticket voucher to a game. A few weeks ago the vouchers arrived and we called to redeem our vouchers. The vouchers were only good for two games Oct. 8th, and October 14th. I was away for the game on the 8th so we choose to go on the 14th.

The ticket voucher game with a letter stating to call, write or go in to the ticket office get your tickets. So I called up and the person on the other end didn't seem to have a clue about what I was talking about. Ultimately, he handed the phone to the ticket manager who was able to order them over the phone. After I hung up I had a question/concern about parking, so I called back and instead of getting, "Hello, Adirondack Phantoms." I got, "Hey Corey, what do you need?" I thought that was pretty unprofessional. Also, I was never told where my seats were going to be and since my daughter has Autism we need an end seat.

My concerns about parking were justified when I got to Glens Falls. I was told that parking was available for free in a lot near the arena. I tried three different lots and were told they all charged. So finally I decided to park on the street but was told by a parking lot attendant "you can only park on the street for 2 hours or you'll get towed." She repeated this as her lot filled up. However, the Civic Center website clearly states you can park on street for more than 2 hours for Civic Center events.After we parked my daughter had a little walk up the arena, and had to wait in line while we picked up our tickets at Will Call. One thing stood out to me at the Will Call window. No one checked for my credit card or ID, so you could steal my credit card number and call up and get tickets.

Also, when I entered the arena my bag wasn't checked, and there seem not to be much security.

After we got in the arena I noticed that not only was it a "Kid's reading night voucher game," but also $2 beers. Really? What kind of person plans a game where kids are being rewarded for reading and then has $2 for people to get drunk. The $2, were also being served prior to the game, and up until 7:30, so by the time everyone got there they would be pretty well liquored up.

As we entered the arena we were shown where out seats were which were on the other side of the arena. I took my daughter to the bathroom and we proceeded to our seats.

The arena has a nice lay out with a concourse level you can walk completely around and could stand at the top of and watch the game. Bathrooms are located in the four corners of the arena so you can't have to walk to far.

Finally we arrived at our seats which were awesome, and on an end so if she needed to get out we could. The ticket guy definitely came through.

However, there was no net in front on the ice to protect us from pucks, so I was constantly having to check the ice. They did mentioned over the PA that they could move your seats higher up if you were concerned about this (I think next time I will).

As the announced the starting lineups I noticed how terrible the PA announcer was. He was almost mocking the visiting teams in his voice. I thought it was pretty corny.

Finally after all the pregame festivities the game started and I was really into it. It was pretty good action!
Towards the end of the first period of my daughter asked for ice cream, so we walked to a concession stand and were told that they didn't have ice cream but Dip n' Dots (these are dry ice dots that melt like ice cream). I didn't know if my daughter would eat them. I asked if they took credit card but they said "no." However, most all of the rest of the concession stands did. So I passed on the Dip n' Dots and we walked around the arena a little bit more. Finally be daughter looked a little tired so we left.

Overall, it was fair experience. Here's some tips I'd give to people thinking about going there.
  • Make sure you find out where your seats are before you go to the arena. There is no netting on the sides of the ice and pucks will fly into the stands. If you have kids I suggest sitting as high up as possible so you aren't in the line of fire.
  • Park on the street and save yourself some money. Even though parking attendants say you can't park for more than 2 hours, read the clip from the Civic Center web site above.
  • Like most sport events, bring cash and call ahead to see what food options are offered.
  • Plan your event if you going as a family not around promos like $2 beers. Even though this coincided with the reading voucher next time I'm going to ask for another game.
Baseball history Blogger, Andrew Martin sent me this link today.

With the release of the Atlantic League schedule earlier this week, and after communicating with a GM in the Atlantic League it's apparent that the Loudoun Hounds will not be playing next season in the Atlantic League because their stadium will not be complete. Obviously, we'd like to see the Hounds next season, and I'm not sure how close the stadium would be to being finished by seasons start. I emailed the Hounds a few weeks ago and got no response.

Also, as I've noted before the Sugarland Skeeters will be entering the Atlantic League next season, which will make for some interesting travel. At first I thought it was a waste to put one team in Texas but Ducks Owner/League CEO Frank Boulton confirmed before the sec
ond game of the championship series that the Atlantic League is looking to put a four team division in Texas.
This would be a huge step in expanding the Atlantic League, and giving fans and collectors more teams to c
hoose from (also more Road Warriors). reports that Atlantic League is looking for ownership groups in the following areas. (Also, see).

Headed to Long Island for a party this weekend and had some time to waste so we stopped by Nassau Coliseum and picked up 10 pocket skeds. As I was leaving I walked by three players but couldn't identify who they were.

Since Hofstra is literally right across the street, I went over there and snagged some Men's/Women's Soccer schedules. I asked if they had any others but they didn't. Not sure if they still have many fall sports since they cut football.
I've been neglecting my posts on fan packs and fan picks because there has been so many. Now that the Atlantic League baseball season is over I have more time to devote to fan packs and fan picks.

Today was a great day for fan picks. I was in Albany, so I was able to swing by Siena College and pick 5 Fall Pocket schedules which they had set aside for me. When I contacted them about the schedules they told me the rest of their promo materials will be back from the printer later in the month.

After I went to Siena I stopped by the New York State Museum with my family. What a crazy, huge place! The NYSM is right around the corner from the Times Union Center and the home of the Albany Devils, so I stopped in and snagged 20 pocket schedules.

On our way home we drove to Troy and stopped by Bruno Stadium, the home of the Tri-City Valley Cats. The Valley Cats had put aside some stuff for me. To my surprise it was two bobbleheads (Hunter Pence & Charlie the Bat Boy) and a team famed 10th anniversary photo.

When I finally got home the mail was there and I received pocket schedules from Central State (NCAA D2), Minnesota Wild (included Koivu postcard), and Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Today, the Ducks announced their 2012 schedule. A few things stuck out to me.

- The Loudoun Hounds are not on the schedule, even though their website still has a countdown for opening day. One is left to wonder if they are going to be in the league or just need time to get their team together.

- Sugar Land Skeeters are up and running and are on the schedule. Looking forward to seeing Gary Gaetti.

- So. Maryland is now referred to as just "Maryland."

September 10, 2011

Camden Riversharks @ Long Island Ducks

Bethpage Park, Central Islip, NY - This weekend was going to be my last outing of the season, and to my surprise the Ducks had a pre-game autograph session on a Saturday. I saw some other collectors there who weren't prepared but I was.

I was finally able to get the Ducks coaching staff (minus Bud Harrelson). Kevin Baez did 7/7, Jay Loviglio did 2/2, and Steve Foucault did 4/4.

I was surprised to see J.R. House not catching (he actually played first base). I asked him about his 10 TD's in the 1997 Virginia state championship game and he said it was "cool." J.R. signed all 11 cards for me.

I still had a few cards leftover from some of the other guys so I just got them signed. John Rodriguez did 2/2, Ruddy Lugo 2/2, Jeremy Hill 2/2, Javier Colina 1/1 (he signed it in black sharpie and was made because he realized I wanted it in blue, nice guy), Matt Esquivel 2/2 (customs), Matt Padgett 3/3 (2 customs), Kennard Jones 2/2 (customs) and Lew Ford 3/3.

I was also able to get newly acquired Josh Banks on 6/6, and Erick Monzon 4/4 (including 3 customs, 1 set card).

After the game was over I walked over to the Ducks clubhouse and saw Tom Pennino who did 5/5 (customs), and Mike Loree who was walking into the clubhouse for the second game stopped and did 3/3 (customs).

While the Ducks are a great signing team the Riversharks were much different and not as good. After the Ducks autograph signing I walked over the Sharks side and saw Toby Hall walking away. I waited a little while and eventually he walked over to me and signed 7/17. He also told me he'd get me later if he had a chance because he was tired from the bus getting in at 4am (did not get another chance to get him). He did something cool for a fan and autographed his own bat and handed it to the fan...pretty cool.

As the players came out no one was really into signing. J.R. Mathes walked by me but told fans he was signing because he was pitching...understandable.

Ruddy Yan came out and told me he'd sign after he warmed up, and he did 1/1. Juan Francia said the same thing but came over right before the game was about to start and did 2/7. He told me he'd do the rest later (didn't get another chance to see him). While I was talking to Francia Fernando Hernandez walked by and I was able to track him down and he did 3/3 for me. Same thing with Mumba Rivera, 1/1.

Alvina Colina came out and didn't sign for anyone. He told us he'd sign after the stretched and then came back and did 1 for a kid and that was it. After the game was over he was outside the locker room but said he'd sign later, but never did.

Players who I missed were Brian Burgamy, Willie Otanez, Humberto Sanchez, and Manager Von Hayes. Also, Jake Dittler, Josh Towers, Jay Marshall and Jason Johnson were inactive and not with the team.

I'll be going to the Sunday game but will have my 2 year son with me so I won't be getting autographs. Here's the total from an okay weekend.

Ducks autographs:62

Riversharks autographs: 12

Total Autographs: 74

Received fan packs from Oklahoma State and Iowa State today.
Not much has been going on with the collection lately. Hurricane Irene put a damper on my outings to Long Island and to Troy.

However the mail still keeps on coming and I received a couple of fan packs from Wake Forrest and USC-Upstate. Both only included pocket schedules but still good successes.
My weekend outing to do the York Revolution is going to be rained out pending Hurricane Irene. Fortunately, I can rely on Dion Soskin to help me out.

Emailed Big 12 and Atlantic Sun teams about fan packs.
Last spring was the first time I ever emailed NCAA teams about "fan packs." I surprised by the stuff I received, and the responses that I got. However, I was slightly disappointed in some of the big schools that didn't send anything or even respond back.

This fall I'm emailing again for more fan packs...

The first conferences to get emailed were the ACC, and Atlantic 10.
Today was a pretty decent day. I went into Albany and visited a card shop there. The owner had set a side some minor league cards for me to pick through and wouldn't you know it I found current Duck Matt Padgett's Utica Blue Sox card.

I got about 19 other cards of former Atlantic Leaguers and as I was talking to the owner I noticed a stack of UD Piece of History cards. I wasn't sure who was in the set but I started going through them and found a current Duck Heath Phillips!

Even though Heath isn't on the active roster he's usually with them. The owner of the card shop threw in the card for free!

When I got home I had my second fan pack from the Florida Marlins in over a month. It pretty much contained the same stuff as the previous.

I also found out CVS is having 10 cents for 4 x 6 print this upcoming week which will allow me to print off some customs for my outing next weekend.
Former Catamount and NHLer, Graham Mink took some time to answer a few questions about collecting.

Q. Do you remember the first autograph you ever signed? If so, where and when was it?
A. The first autograph I ever signed was after a hockey game my freshman year at UVM. It was pretty akward as I was not expecting it and I got a little embarassed.

Q. Do you collect anything? Or have autographs? What's your favorite piece of sports memorabilia?
A. I used to collect baseball cards and I have a whole bunch of them stashed at my Dad's house. Mark McGwire was my favorite player growing up and I have pretty much everyone of his cards.

Q. If fan walks up to you and has 20 cards for you to autograph do you sign them all or do you hesitate and ask "why so many?"
A. I have no problem signing 20 different cards, but 20 of the same would be a little extreme. I don't care if people sell them to make money, not like they are going to get rich off me anyway! I just dont want to spend 15 minutes signing the same card over and over, especially if other people are waiting and I need to get to the rink to get ready for the game!

Q.Have you ever had a fan be to aggressive in trying to obtain your autograph?

A. I have never had any issues with anyone that has asked for my autograph.

Q. Your Favorite hockey card you've been pictured on?

A. I like the Clader Cup Championship cards for obvious reasons! Hopefully they will produce another one next year!
I grew up in Northern Vermont where baseball was an after though to hockey. My father had moved to Vermont with my grandparents in the early 1970's from Long Island, NY and previously Brooklyn, NY.

Whenever I'd go to my grandparents house I'd hear amazing stories from my Grandfather about the great Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and New York Yankees. He told me about sneaking into games and about how when they couldn't sneak in they find money to get in to watch the greats play.

These stories became like fairy tales to me because it was something I knew I'd never see, especially growing up in northern Vermont. We were about two hours from Montreal, and at the time the Expos were still putting a decent product on the field, so every year we'd make the trip north.

What most Vermonters settled for was minor league baseball. Vermont had the Vermont Reds and then the Vermont Mariners both teams relocated out of Vermont. In the mid 1990's the Jamestown Jammers were relocated to Vermont and became the Vermont Expos.

The Vermont Expos had and still have a huge local following. After the Expos moved south to Washington they became the Vermont Lake Monsters (a fan vote name), and eventually lost their affiliation with Washington which was picked up by Oakland this past season. Oakland...3,044 miles away.

Recently, Major League Baseball has sighted major issues with Vermont's ballpark, Centennial Field. Upgrades were made to the park but it still isn't where it needs to be. Prior to the renovations there was a threat Vermont would lose their team. The field is owned by the University of Vermont who dropped their baseball program a few years ago.

During my high school years I was more concerned with picking girls and playing sports then attending games, but as I got older I realized how much I enjoyed watching minor league baseball. It was affordable, fun and their was a sense of family between the fans and the players.

After I graduated from the University of Vermont I moved to Long Island, NY. Long Island is the home of one of the most successful minor league organizations the Long Island Ducks. Every year the Ducks outsell their seating capacity of 100% (Once the game sells out they sell standing room tickets). They provide a fun family environment with great baseball. They have a huge fan base and much of the revenue generated is from the local community.

Every time I go to game their I'm reminded why I love baseball.

The Ducks are a member of the Atlantic League the most successful independent league in baseball. Many former major leaguers have graced Atlantic League fields including Hall of famer Rickey Henderson, Carl Everett, Edgardo Alfonso, and former Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa to name a few.

Leagues like the New York-Penn League where Vermont currently plays is that it is one of the lowest forms of minor league baseball less than 10% of players in the NY-Penn League will make it to the majors, while most Atlantic League rosters are filled with former MLBers. Currently the Ducks have 13 former Major Leaguers on their 25 fan roster. They also have four former major league players as their coaches.

Recently, the Atlantic League decided to expand to south placing teams in Sugarland, TX, and Loudoun, VA. They are also trying to get a team in Nassau County on Long Island, NY (recently the vote to build a new arena and ballpark with public funds was voted down).

In past years the Atlantic League has help provide public and private funding to build new start of the art ballparks for their teams.

With all the problems going on in Vermont with their ballpark, team wouldn't you think an Atlantic League team would be a good fit?

Before I get ahead of myself their are rules and guidelines that are followed between Major League Baseball and Independent League teams. Certain territories are off limits because of agreements with Major League Baseball (Let's forget about that for a second).

I personally think that putting an Atlantic League team in Vermont would be a great idea. Here's a team that would be self sufficient, and would have the support of the league to help them get a new ballpark which would help the Burlington area; giving it a major venue for concerts and events.

Not only that the level of baseball would increase and would go from having low level minor leaguers to former MLBers.

I'd like to hear peoples thoughts on this.

Today I received my 50/50 trade from Dion Soskin in the mail...Thanks Dion.

Also, I received ONE pocket schedule from the San Fransisco 49ers.

Though it wasn't a great mail was the first mail I've received for the collection in a week or so.
The Loudoun Hounds will be following the Sugar Land Skeeters into the Atlantic League next season.

Official Website

Check out their wiki page
This is great for the Atlantic League and it means another team, more former major leaguers.

Shane Youman had his contract purchased by a team in Tiawan

Disappointing to see Shane go...he was a great guy. The other night he offered to sign a bunch of cards for me but he looked tired and told him I'd get him later which now won't happen.

Who is going to be the newest Duck?
Super Collector Paul Buxton sent me back my 2004 Ducks set I had traded to him. Great success! Paul also included 25 pocket schedules of teams in the Pacific Northwest. Awesome trade!
Today was team set giveaway so I had prepared my board for the set with 3 cards of the players I still have cards for and many empty spaces for the set cards. My game plan going in was not to go after the coaches (they will be there all year long and I'll get them at the end of the year).

I left for the stadium about an hour and half before the game and ran to Target and printed off my the custom Lancaster cards I had photographed the night before and designed that morning. I didn't have time to cut the cards and just left them on the 4x6 template.

I got the park about 30 minutes before the game was probably 20th in line. I saw a collector I met the night before and we were talking for awhile. Finally, the gate opened and walked down to behind the plate and waited to go on the field for the autograph session.

Dauner Sanchez, and Mike Parisi were in the set but were no longer with the team. I put those along with the coach card in my bag. (I accidentally put in Jaime Quinn who is the bullpen catcher and he was on the signing line and i missed him).

Finally they let us on the field and I was able to get most of the team. I handed each player a couple customs for their collections. Heath Phillips wasn't on the field signing. I didn't accidently skipped Erick Monzon who I need for my 2010 team set. I was able to get Mike Loree on my retro custom set also.

Overall, I got the following on my 2011 Ducks team set:
Bubbie Buzachero
Tom Pennino
Freddie Thon
Matt Padgett
Jason Monti
Kennard Jones
Dan Lyons
Chris McCoy
Bob Zimmerman
Ehren Wasserman
Dave Williams
Ray Navarrete
Kraig Binnick
Mike Loree (2 customs also)
Joselo Diaz (3/3 also)
Jeremy Hill (6/6 also)
Lew Ford (4/4 also)
Javier Colina (3/3 also)
Shane Youman (5/5 also)
John Rodriguez (3/3 also)
Ruddy Lugo (3/3 also)

All the players were thankful for their cards. Ruddy Lugo was poking fun at my because John Rodriguez was bragging about his cards and Lugo was wondering where his were.

50 Total Duck Autographs

Also, Matt Esquivel, Tom Pennino, and Matt Padgett were joking around with me as they signed the cards. All great guys.

After the autograph session was over I walked over to the Barnstormers side to get my customs signed. A few players like Matt Tupman had already walked out to the bullpen so I missed out on them.

The first one I saw was newly acquired 3rd basemen Travis Metcalf. He came over and signed 6/6 customs, and I told him to keep 2 but he told me to keep them.

Then Gilberto Mejia came over and signed them 4/4 and took the 2 I offered. Iggy Saurez did the same (as he was signing for me someone handed him a Wayne Lydon card to sign, and was like "That's not me! and someone in the stands yelled "I would have signed it anyways!"

Matt Watson came out but told me he had to stretch. While he was stretching Ross Peeples walked over and signed 4/4 and took 2. He asked me how I made the customs and I told him "with photoshop," and he asked where he could go to a "photoshop" (pretty funny).

Matt Watson then came back over and signed 4/4 and took 2, and so did Adam Calderone.

26 Barnstormers Autographs

The ones that weren't signed I'm going to send to Dion Soskin to get signed since they are one of his home teams. Overall it was great day and I left right after as I had to get back to Albany.

76 Total Autographs
Last night I got a preview of the Ducks card set from Tom Pennino, and today they released a picture of it. I have to say it's the ugliest set I've ever seen. It looks like they are trying to copy the 1987 Topps set (as I did) but did a bad job doing it. Also, it looks like they are using a different company this year.

Take a look for yourself...
Tonight was another awesome outing at Bethpage Ballpark even with the rain.

I planned on only doing the Barnstormers tonight but since my order from sportlots wasn't delivered I didn't have many cards for them to sign.

As I was walking in the ballpark I saw someone on the field running, but didn't pay attention to who. As I stood on the third base line the guy came back through the stands...I was Marty Janzen, and he signed 5/5 for me.

Usually catchers are the first one out so it was no surprise to me when Matt Tupman came out and signed 4/4 for me. A really nice guy.

Then Tommy Everidge came over and signed all 8/8 for me. However, he wanted one of the customs but he didn't have a spot to put it so I just kept it (I gave it to him after the game).

By the this point many of the players started to come on to the field and the dogout. Aaron Herr came over and signed 7/7 and took one of the customs for himself. He stayed around for a little but and signed for some little kids.

Then I called over Cesear Carillo, who signed 4/4 for me, he was great but seemed a little annoyed he had to walk over.

Brandon Jones came over and didn't sign because he need to warm up...he however did come over later and signed 2/2.

Iggy Saurez came right over and signed 2/2.

T.J. Beam was in the dugout and I asked him to come over and he signed 4/4 and was cool about it.

Ross Peeples walked by me and I had to yell to him once I noticed it was him. He told me he would come back after he went put something in the bullpen, and he did. He signed 2/2 and commented about the 2 different 2002 topps cards I had (one was a gold and was a base).

Then I saw J.D. Durbin signing for a bunch of people and I called him over. He's a really nice guy and fan friendly. He commented "you made me walk all the way over here...don't worry I'm an easy signer" and he proceeded to sign 6/6. I was talking to him and he told me where a few of the other guys I needed to get were.

As the game was getting ready to start Jonah Bayliss was walking to the bullpen and I asked him to sign but he said no because he had to get to the bullpen.

After the game was over I was informed that Fernando Seguignol's father had died and he wasn't with the team.

As I waited I found out that John Halama lives in Brooklyn and drives to the game. He walked around the collectors and I said "John, can I get an autograph please?" and he said "Hurry up, I want to get outta here, which one do you want signed" (so he signed one of my customs). Only 1/10. I was little disappointed.

Butch Hobson signed a OALB for me, and a card. He was quiet but a nice guy.

Evan Englebrook came out and signed 4/4 for me and told me that he grew 5 inches in high school and was a swimmer (he's 6'8").

Also, Jonah Bayliss came back and signed 3/3 for me and apologized for not signing earlier.

After I got the Barnstormers I ran over to get the Ducks, and I made some copies of their customs for them. I handed out a bunch to the players and some asked if I wanted to sign but I wasn't very organized since I thought I was only going to get Lancaster.

Tom Pennino was talking to me and showed me their set cards for tomorrow which are ugly. Then he walked me to the players parking lot and I gave Matt Esquivel his customs and finally met Jason Monti who signed all 19 cards for me. While I was waiting I had Matt Esquivel sign his custom York set cards.

As the rest of the players came out I gave them theirs. Matt Padgett came out and signed 3 custom York cards for me and thanked me for the cards and offered to trade me tomorrow for his team "issued" cards.

I heard Mike Loree was still in the locker room so I waited around a little bit for him, but only Ray Navarrete came out and told me they were going to be a lot longer so I have Ray his cards and left.

Still overall a great outing. I'm going to tally up the totals tonight. Also, took some great pictures for my customs sets.
Even though Matt Padgett and Matt Esquivel no longer play for York, I thought it would be cool to make some customs. Card Photos taken by Paul Hadsall.

Today I received my second fan pack from the San Diego Chargers today. I must be on a mailing list for the chargers! Still a great success!

Check out my Fan pack successes to see what I got!
Dion Soskin of Dion's IP Auto Only was able to get me some great autographs I needed for my Duck sets including a customs of Bridger Hunt and Jose Herrera. He told me that Hunt thought the customs were a "new set" card.
He was also able to get Hunt on a 2010 Ducks team set card, and Matt DeSalvo on a card for Drew Pelto (who designs my custom sets). Dion is going to attempt to get Brian Barton tonight.

In return Dion got Dave Williams, Ehren Wasserman, Mike Parisi, and Ruddy Lugo from me.

Great trade and success from Dion who is an avid collector of in person autographs including Atlantic League teams (specifically York and Lancaster), and the Baltimore Ravens.
July 27, 2011
State College Spikes @ Tri-City Valley Cats
Bruno Stadium, Troy, NY - I don't normally go outside of the Atlantic League to get autographs but every once in a while a former Atlantic League player or Long Island Duck will pop up. When I found out that former Duck Kimera Bartee was coaching the State College Spikes and that they were coming to Troy to face the Valley Cats I was excited.

I was suppose to go to the game on Friday to get Kimera but the weather forecast wasn't too good so I decided to go tonight. I haven't been to a Valley Cats game in 10 years, so I was a little new to it.

I got the stadium around 6pm and walked in and went over to the third base line where the visiting team's dugout is suppose to be. After about 15 minutes I realized this stadium is backwards and the home team is on the third base line, so I raced over the first base line where a bunch of hounds had already accumulated. I had seen one of the hounds at a local card shop and struck up a conversation with him. These guys were really into getting autographs of low minor league players. They had debut cards and 1st year cards. Since I've dedicated a budget to the Atlantic League I was interested and bypassed the prospects.

I waited for a while and finally at about 6:45 Kimera came out the club house and went to the opposite side of the dugout. One of the hounds yelled "Hey Bartee!" which I thought was rude. Then I yelled over to him, "Kimera! Autograph please?" he replied back, "I'll be right over!" A few minutes later Kimera came over and I told him I had got his autograph 7 years earlier at a Ducks game and he was like "oh boy!" then when he looked at the custom cards he said "What's that? I've never seen that before!" So I told him about how I made some custom cards and offered him one but he declined and told me he was at the ceremony for the 10th Anniversary Team as he signed that card. Seven years later and he's still one of the best autographs and nicest guys. Another 3 cards down for my sets.

After I got Bartee I ran over to the Valley Cats side to get a 3 - 1987 Topps signed by hitting coach Mark Bailey. Bailey was on the opposite side of the dugout and when I went over he moved to the middle but was on the top step so I yelled to him and layed on the dugout and handed him my board, and he signed all 3. He signed over his name on the card which looks like crap, but he still signed.

Overall, It was a good night only 9/9 but helped out some of my sets.
The Ducks finally filled the roster sport vacated by Mike Parisi by signing IF Erick Monzon.

Great signing because it will be another autograph for my 2010 set, and all-time set. Awesome!
Since the recent news that Mike Parisi was signed by the Dodgers, the Ducks have yet to announce a replacement for his roster spot, and carrying a roster of 24 players.

After the game last Saturday I saw Heath Phillips and asked him when he was coming back and he told me Monday, which was true. I also found out about Jason Monti hurting his thumb and being place on the inactive list.

Are the Ducks going to sign another player or wait for Jason Monti to come back from his injury.

Collectors stay alert if the Ducks do sign a "new" player to fill Parisi's roster spot.
I was poking around some websites and noticed that the new team in the Atlantic League will be called the Sugar Land Skeeters.

It will be interesting to see how the league expands towards the southwestern part of the country, especially if Nassau County(Long Island) gets a team.
Mike Parisi was signed by the Dodgers and sent to AAA today

Great news for Mike, bad news for Duck fans. Mike was a great ambassador for the Ducks and awesome signer. I'm glad I got him on my custom set last week.

Best of luck to Mike.
Received back my 10th Anniversary Long Island Ducks Patrick Lennon card signed in black sharpie. Great success in only 24 days!
It's safe to say that my autograph experience last night was the best one I ever had. It was very unexpected too because I didn't think I was going to make it to this game but the lack of traffic from Albany to Long Island allowed me to get there.

After I got to Long Island I had to put a few cards on my autograph board from some cards I got in the mail, so I got to the ball park a little later than I would have liked (6ish). A line had already formed which was interesting because there wasn't a major promotional that night.

I got into the park and walked down towards ground level and noticed a few kids waiting for some autographs by the dugout. I figured that wasn't the best place to go so I walk down the foul line and waited.

The first one out was J.R. House who was catching that game. After signing for the other kids first he walked over to me and signed all six cards for me. He made a couple of comments about my custom 1985 cards, but not many as he was in a hurry to get warmed up.

Javier Colina came out a few minutes later and did the same but when he saw the custom 1985's he asked me to print him off some and give him some. He also signed all six cards for me.

Ray Navarrete came out and sat in the dugout for a while and then ran out to the field to warm up even though I asked for an autograph (he seems like one of those players who needs to get in zone before a game). After a little while he back over and signed my two customs and my 2008 Ducks team set cards. However, after the game a couple younger kids were asking about what enterance he leaves from and some older guy told us that he didn't leave through the players enterance, so it was a surprise when Ray came out. When I saw him I said "It's Ray Digmi! (Digmi is the name of his clothing company) and he looked at me a little weird and annoyed. He's still one of the best signers and also one of the nicest guys on the Ducks, I think he just had a rough game.

Freddie Thon came out soon after and I didn't recognize him because he shaved his full-man-chew. He came over and signed all five cards I had and told made some comments about the customs.

Matt Padgett followed Thon and asked me to print off some of the customs for him after he told me that the customs look better than their team issued cards. He told me that they get some cards and if I wanted he'd trade me. I told him that I'd send him the digital file and he gave me his email. Matt's probably the fan friendliest Duck.

John Rodriguez was next and he came over a few times but to talk to his wife and kids who were sitting next to us. Finally he turned to me and said "What you got?" and I showed him the customs, and some of his cards. He asked if he could take one of the customs for his kids and I said sure, so I gave him one. Then he asked if I could print some more off and he'd autograph whatever I wanted. I told him that next time I'm on the Island I would. After that he signed all five of my cards.

Mark Diaploules was walking around the dugout after having walked in from the bullpen and come over and signed both customs for me. After the game was over he came up to me and asked if he said...great guy.

Dan Lyons came out and I asked if to sign the customs and I told him I grew up in Vermont (he played for the Vermont Lake Monsters in 2007) and we started to talk about the Vermont, and how they might lose the team and he said how much of a shame it would be. He signed both customs...another great guy.

Matt Esquivel came over and also signed but didn't say much. He's always a great signer and a nice guy. He signed both customs.

As it got closer to game time Lew Ford came out and stretched but didn't sign. He finally came over and signed all six cards for me which was great. After the game I was waiting for a few other players and he came out and asked if I had anything else and I pulled out some other cards and he signed another six.

Ehren Wasserman signed my customs on the way to the bullpen. He always great with fans and signing.

I was getting ready to go to my seat when I noticed Mike Parisi standing about 10 feet from me. I asked him for an autograph and he came over and we started talking. He also asked to get a copy of the custom, and signed all six cards I had.

After the game was over I noticed that Jason Norderum was on the Road Warriors and I pulled out his 2010 Ducks card and as he left the field I got his autograph.

I left the ballpark and walked over to the players enterance and waited for some guys to come out. To my surprise Heath Philips came out who was on the inactive list. I asked him how he was doing and he told me he was going to start throwing again soon. Since he wasn't on the roster I didn't have customs for him to sign but he told me he'd get me later.

Bubbie Buzachero came out a few minutes later to move his truck so Philips could get out. Bubbie signed both customs for me.

Tom Pennino came out in his uniform and signed my two customs, team mini bat, and team photo. We talked for a while, and he asked me if I could email him a copy of the picture that is on his custom card. We also talked for a while about collecting...really nice guy.

Shane Youman, Jeremy Hill (didn't have a custom for him yet), Joselo Diaz, and Ruddy Lugo also came out and signed six cards each. Each one of them commenting about the 85's.

Bullpen Catcher Jamie Quinn came out and I was able to get him on a 2010 Ducks set card. (I didn't have a custom for him yet). I also got Chris McCoy and Kraig Binnick on two customs.

After a while Kennard Jones came out and signed my customs. He didn't sign in pregame because he was warming up, but signed for everyone waiting outside.

Finally, I noticed a few players standing by the players door and walked over. It was former Met Dave Williams and Freddie Thon. Williams and I started to talk about collecting and he told me he used to be a collector when he was kid. He also told me that it means a lot to players when fans write letters and don't use pre-printed form letters. He signed all six of my cards and told me that once I get the custom 85's of him made he'll sign them.

As Williams finished up signing for me he noticed that I hadn't got Bob Zimmerman yet so he went and asked Bob to come out and sign for me. About a minute later Zimmerman came out and signed all three of my cards.

Overall it was probably the best autograph night ever (I didn't get Jason Monti who was hurt). Now I understand why the Ducks pull in so many fans. It's because of the character of the players they sign. All of the players were awesome.

The Retro 1985 Custom set was a huge success!

Here's the overall stats:
Lew Ford 12/12
Bob Zimmerman 3/3
Freddie Thon 5/5
Javier Colina 5/5
Shane Youman 6/6
Mike Parisi 6/6
Kennard Jones 2/2
Dave Williams 6/6
J.R. House 6/6
Bubbie Buzachero 2/2
John Rodriguez 5/5 (took one of my customs)
Jeremy Hill 6/6
Joselo Diaz 6/6
Ruddy Lugo 6/6
Ray Navarrete 3/3
Tom Pennino 4/4 (mini-bat, and team photo)
Matt Padgett 2/2
Ehren Wasserman 2/2
Dan Lyons 2/2
Mark Diapoules 2/2
Matt Esquivel 2/2
Kraig Binnick 2/2
Jaime Quinn 1/1
Jason Norderum 1/1 (member of Road Warriors)

99 Total Autographs!
Tonight & tomorrow I'll be on Long Island doing some autograph hounding.

Tonight I'll be doing a post game autographs, and tomorrow I'll be doing pregame from the stands and a post game.
Today it was announced that Frank Boulton, Owner of the Long Island Ducks was awarded the rights to put another Atlantic League team on Long Island in Nassau County.

This is great news for Atlantic League fans and autograph hounds.

I can't imagine that they'll have these teams play home games on the same days, so many people will be able to attend both teams games. This means more opportunities to get autographs of former MLBers.
Yesterday I got my Doug Jennings cards back signed. He signed all 4/4, however my daughter spilled a cup of water ruining 3 of the cards. The only cards I could salvage was the Ducks 10th Anniversary Team set card. Still and awesome success and another card down for the set.
I thought it would be cool to make a custom Long Island Ducks team set with a retro look. I'm trying to get all the former players to sign their Duck team issued cards but also a overall team set card.

Well here it is 1985 Ducks Retro...designed by Drew

Should be interesting getting this set signed. Many players usually comment on custom stuff. I may nee to bring a couple extras.
Paul's Random Stuff has noticed that the Newark Bears have again been sold.

First, it's extremely disappointing that the Bears left the Atlantic League. They were always a good place to get autographs of former MLBers.

Second, It's disappointing to see any team struggle financially and have to move leagues, but as Paul mentioned on his blog their attendance is dismal so it's understandable they would leagues and try a better fit. Yet, I'm left to wonder if their is a league dues to the league and if that's the reason they left the Atlantic. The Cam-Am League is a far cry from the Atlantic League and you'd think they'd try and exposure through the AL.

Hopefully the Bears can get their act together so that we can see them bring back some more form MLBers and see some decent baseball.
It was extremely weird standing outside Bethpage Ball Park in June waiting to get autographs. I realized how unprepared I was to do it, but I soon used some old knowledge to get back into it.

- A little research goes a long way. Take a look at a teams roster and do a search to see if the player has a major issued baseball card. You'll be surprised what comes up. Many players never made it to the majors in Independent leagues but had major issued cards, especially from companies like Bowman. Websites like have a huge selection of cards from sellers all over the United States.

- Make the cards easy to sign, and try to minimize any hassle involved in signing. Most collectors will use photo corners and display their cards so that players and just go down the road of cards signing. I've seen binder used but I prefer to use a 11x14 tri-fold display board. This allows me to put cards on the board, but also pictures and other flat items.

- Knowing the players is always important. I can't tell you how many times I called a player the wrong name. Bring a roster with you, or if you are going to a pregame autograph signing; then label your cards with post-its and jersey numbers. This way you can get through the autograph line as soon as possible. Also, most players have done interviews which are on You Tube. Check a few of those out if you are unsure about who a player is.
Sent Randy a Facebook message and he replied back with a business address to send these cards to get autographed too. True to his word he autographed both of them nicely with blue sharpie to go with the rest of the set signed in blue sharpie (didn't even ask him t00). Unfortunately, at the time I send these I didn't have the other cards of his from other Duck sets. Great success!

2/2 - 2010 Long Island Ducks team set, 10th Anniversary Ducks set
Received 4/4 cards signed by Bud Harrelson today. Although I go to Duck games I needed a lot of Bud Harrelson autographs for the team sets. I thought it would be easier to send TTM. Oddly enough he signed all with different pens. Still a nice success!
Today I received my DVD "Centennial" case back from Alex Karras signed. Alex was notably known for playing football, Monday Night Football, Blazing Saddles, and Webster. However, he had a major role in one of my favorite min-series "Centennial."

I didn't have any other cards to send along, so I sent a couple of blank cards which he also signed and to my surprise he included his own photo!

Great player, Great Actor, and Great Signer!
I collected sports memorabilia my whole like but after I met my wife I stopped for a while, but when my son Jake was born I decided to get back into it. First, I started to collect fan packs which is has taken off like crazy. Every day we continue to receive things in the mail from teams and colleges all over the country.

The second is a custom index card autograph collection of all the former UVM(University of Vermont) hockey players in the NHL.

And finally a collection of Long Island Ducks memorabilia including pocket schedules, autograph major issued cards, team sets, and team photos.

Hopefully, my site can help people with their collecting. Obviously, you'll see some time lapses from when I stopped collecting until I got back into collecting.
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