When I attended the Lehigh Valley IronPigs game last month, I also made an attempt to get some autographs. I decided to try the Rochester Red Wings side since I had more cards from their players, which is how I usually decide which team to solicit for autographs. It was a fun experience there with other autograph seekers because they all seemed very friendly and willing to help each other. There was a fan there that seemed to know all of the stadium personnel, the outgoing type of person who was friends with everyone. At one point he was asking the group that had gathered for Red Wings autographs that if they see LaMonte Wade to let him know because his mom was there looking for him.
A few players had come out for early warmups, including the Twins #5 prospect Pitcher Stephen Gonsalves, who I was able to get an autograph from. As players came out, I was able to get autographs from Gregorio Petit and Pitching Coach Stu Cliburn. I also got to hear Cliburn tell a story about the baseball glove that he had which was made in Japan especially for him. It’s pretty interesting to hear those kinds of tales from people that had been in the game for so long.
I was also able to get an autograph from OF Byron Buxton. Buxton was considered the #1 overall prospect in 2015, but the Twins had him back at AAA as he was only batting .156 this season. I was actually pretty lucky with this one, only because when I was first searching for cards I didn’t find any Buxton cards, but that morning it was bothering me so much that I couldn’t find one that I checked again. I realized that I had missed looking through a set and I did find one.
Around 20 minutes before the game was to start, the ushers told the fans they had to clear the area and stop asking for autographs by the tunnel that the players use to enter the field. I thought that was fairly unreasonable because the fans weren’t blocking anyone and the game wasn’t starting anytime soon. I went over to the other side of the dugout and stood by the field and was able to get an autograph from OF Zack Granite. The ushers decided to clear fans from the fence about 10 minutes before game time. I can’t think of another stadium that doesn’t let fans try to get autographs that close to the start of the game.
I had a seat behind home plate and had another instance where I saw a pitcher in the stands charting pitches. I wasn’t going to let it be one more time where I didn’t miss an autograph opportunity because I didn’t know who the player was. So I did my internet sleuthing looking through pictures of the Twins pitchers until I realized that it was Stephen Gonsalves who I had met before the game.
Following the game, I decided that even though the Red Wings blew their lead and lost in 10 innings that I would try to get some more autographs. This decision was mainly because they had the uniform numbers visible from the front so I could see which player it was before they walked past me. The strategy didn’t work as none of the players signed for anyone. I did however see that a handful of the IronPigs players had yet to leave the field, so I went to the other side and got an autograph from Pitcher Pedro Beato, who had pitched two innings and got the win.
So overall, it was a great experience and Lehigh Valley is another good place to get autographs.