Some of Dion's 'graphs

Part of doing a blog is helping fellow collectors with information, and ways to increase their collections. It's also a way to network collectors together.

When I have the time I like to plug blogs and collectors that have helped me. 

One of the best autograph blogs and collectors is Dion Soskin of Dion's IP Auto only. Dion and I have a traded a couple times and he always goes out of his way to make a great trade. One thing he did for me a couple seasons ago was took some of my unsigned cards when I missed teams and got them signed for me and sent them back, which is pretty awesome.

Dion graphs teams in Maryland and Pennsylvania including the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, York Revolution, Lancaster Barnstormers, and Hershey Bears to name a few. He also has a pretty extensive autograph collection from musicians and bands.

Most of his posts are concise and to the point, listing what he got autographed and if he had any problems or major successes. I highly recommend checking out his blog, and emailing him for advice!
Tom Stryjewski noticed a stuffed animal taped to the New York state flag poll in front of the Ducks bullpen. I went down to the bullpen to take a look for myself and took some pictures.

Any one have any information about what this stuffed animal is? What it represents? Was it abducted? Email me
The fate of Tim Tebow was sealed when the Jets drafted Geno Smith in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

It easy to say that the Tim Tebow experiment was a failure, but it was worth a shot for the Jets who were looking for another offensive dimension to put them over the top. However, the offense regressed in 2012, and the plan to use Tebow and the "wildcat" was placed on the back burner while the Jets tried to gain consistency in a normal offense.

Fans sometimes get caught up in the personality of a player, which masks the players deficiencies in their minds. Tebow is a great human being, and a solid football player but he's far from a great quarterback.

It was inevitable that with the Jets carrying six quarterbacks on their roster, that one was going to get released. Ultimately, the distraction of Tebow was too much for a team rebuilding and trying to regain some dignity after a disastrous season.

Along with Tebow's great personality comes an ego that may be his demise. At some point he needs to come to the realization that he's not an NFL level quarterback, and that he may have a better career in the CFL or as a tight end. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but Rick Ankiel did it in baseball and became a solid major league outfielder.

Tebow could flourish in the CFL like Doug Flutie, while honing his skills as a passer and quarterback for a return to the NFL in the future. It's a decision only he can make. 

Today I received back the Mike Modano cards I sent him over a month ago. All five of the cards were signed in blue sharpie and came out perfectly.

Modano may be the greatest American born hockey player of all-time. He has 561 goals, with 813 assists during his NHL career. He is truly a legend!

These cards will make a great addition to the kids and my collection. Thanks Mike!

Here is the continuation of my 1985 Topps Ducks retro set.

***Note, These cards are made by me for my personal collection, and for artistic purposes only They are not to used or sold***

The first seven cards...

The Ducks had their first pre-game autograph sessions of the season on Sunday at Bethpage Ballpark, and it was extremely packed with fans hoping to get autographs of the 2013 Long Island Ducks.

I was able to get some pictures signed that I had taken the previous night. However, the autographs didn't come out well on the paper and matte finish from the Walmart photo machine. The sharpie was very streaky. I've decided that the rest of the season I'm going to do custom retro 1985 Topps retro cards in gloss for the Walgreen printers. The cards look more appealing in my collection, and signatures come out better

Ben Broussard autograph, very streaky from Walmart matte paper.
All the players on Sunday were pretty cool about signing the pictures, and I was able to get cards signed I didn't get signed on Friday night. Eric Niesen did 3/3, Ray Navarrete did 2/2, Rian Kiniry did 1/1, and Jesse Barfield did 2/3. What was interesting about Barfield was that he only signed 2 of mine, but signed 4/4 for the guy before me, and 3/3 for the guy after me?

As the autograph session ended I still didn't have the coaches, but I figured I could get them later in the season, so I went over to get my OMLB signed by Dontrelle Willis. An usher told me his line was closed, so I walked off the field and over to Dontrelle through the stands. Dontrelle signed my ball but seemed a little overwhelmed and annoyed with all the people asking for his autograph. I don't think he anticipated that many people and that many autograph requests. I guess you can't blame the guy.

After Dontrelle signed my ball, the public address announcer announced that Bud Harrelson would be signing autographs after the first pitch on the concourse. So I went over with Tom Stryjewski and got a Long Island Ducks baseball signed. Bud always does a nice job signing balls, but you can tell his hand was getting tired.

I didn't get my four Billy Murphy cards signed, as Billy was the starting pitcher and did not come out for the autograph signing. I gave the cards to Howie Kaplan, to see if he can get them signed at a later date.

Overall the first pre-game autograph session was successful considering the amount of people on the field.

Game Photos: Sugar Land Skeeters @ Long Island Ducks, April 28, 2013

Michael Nix with the delivery

Bryant Nelson

Bryant Nelson and Dan Lyons taking ground balls between innings

Former New York Met, Ramon Castro

Billy Murphy

Ryan Strieby

Anthony Granato fouls one off

Josh Pressley

Gabe Suarez

Ryan Strieby connects

Dan Lyons connects

Dan Lyons

Josh Lansford

Aaron Bates

Ramon Castro

Dontrelle Willis as first base coach

Danny Perales

Koby Clemens pops one up

Ducks bullpen, and stuffed animal?

Here are the game photos from the Sugar Land Skeeters @ Long Island Ducks on April 27, 2013.

Joash Brodin with a flip to Nick DeBarr

Joash Brodin

Koby Clemens waves at a pitch

Buddy Harrelson

Chase Lambin makes a throw to first

Ray Navarrete

Sean Gallagher with the delivery

Nick DeBarr

Dan Lyons

Ralph Henriquez

Dominic Ramos connects

Joash Brodin

Ryan Strieby

Adam Bailey takes a hack

Adam Bailey talks to Matt Fleischman

Adam Bailey with a take out slide
I thought my days of getting autographs were over, but this past winter I decided to get back into the hobby but concentrate on only specific teams, and players. I will be doing only the Long Island Ducks this season in terms of Atlantic League teams.

Last season I didn't get any autographs of the Ducks, so it was back to square one. I didn't know many of the players on the roster, so it was going to be tough to identify guys.

After the game was over I walked to the Ducks clubhouse door and waited outside with a few other collectors. Fellow collector Howie Kaplan went to the visitors clubhouse to get his Koby Clemens bat signed, so I was own me own for a little while.

First one out of was former Mets prospect Eric Neisen. He had a hoodie on, and walked by a few us. No one recognized him until he was past us, and no one ended up getting him. Hopefully I'll get him on Sunday during the pre-game autograph session.

Former Mets catcher, Ramon Castro kept on poking his head out looking for something. He told us he'd sign later on. Then Dontrelle Willis came out and walked in the opposite direction toward a car. We asked him to sign and he did 8/8 for me, which was funny because most of the cards I intended to give to some kids at the Sunday pre-game autograph session.  I could tell Dontrelle was a little tired, so I didn't push the issue by asking him to sign my OMLB. I'll hopefully get it done Sunday.

As we stood and waited, a player walked down the path and came over to us without hesitation.  One of the guys said it was Joash Brodin, so I asked him to sign a 2012 Ducks set card for me which he did. I asked him about his time in Canada with the London Rippers (now defunct), and we had a nice little conversation. Really nice guy!

Ben Broussard, and Ryan Strieby came down from the locker room toward a car a few minutes later. Strieby got right in the car. While Broussard introduced himself to someone, so I knew it was him. He politely said to us "Guys, I have a ride, so I need to go. I'll sign a few, and I'll do whatever you want to tomorrow." He signed two cards for me. One will go into my collection, the other will go to Drew Pelto.

After that many of the players started to come down in pairs. Ian Snell did 6/6 for me including a Game-Used jersey card. He was pretty funny when asked, "How do you like it here?" He replied, "I like it, but the real question is how do you guys like it here?" What was great about about Ian is took his time signing each card, and didn't rush. After he left, I noticed a guy standing in the doorway and realized it was former Duck Matt Esquivel. Matt was there for the championship ring ceremony. Matt and I talked for a few minutes, and he signed three cards for me including his 2012 Ducks set card.

Ramon Castro came out a few minutes later, and he told us to follow him to his car and he signed 3/3 for me in pretty much complete darkness. He actually signed the cards perfectly.

Adam Bailey and Rian Kiniry came down a couple minutes later. Bailey did 6/6 for me, and spent some time signing each card. He signed each card with the jersey number he was wearing on each card. He was also a nice guy to talk to. At the time I didn't realize the other guy that was with him was Kiniry, so I missed out on getting him.

 James Houser did 3/3 for me, including two Topps Chrome cards which came out fantastic. While he was signing I missed getting former Arizona Diamondback, Billy Murphy.

As it got late, Conor Graham, Josh Lansford, Jared Lansford, Dan Lyons, and Bryant Nelson came down and all signed 2012 team set cards for me.

Overall, it was a great night. I ended up with only 13 player cards unsigned. 3 of which were Josh Barfield who was deactivated from the roster, but was there. I'm hoping to get the rest signed Sunday.

Here's a breakdown of what I got:

Dontrelle Willis - 8/8
Ian Snell - 6/6 (including GU Jersey card)
Adam Bailey - 6/6
Ramon Castro - 3/3
James Houser - 3/3
Ben Broussard - 2/2
**Matt Esquivel - 3/3 (not on roster)
Jared Lansford - 1/1
Josh Lansford - 1/1
Conor Graham - 1/1
Joash Brodin - 1/1
Bryant Nelson - 1/1
Dan Lyons 1/1

Total - 37 Cards
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