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 sportlots.com 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.
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