Sunday, March 15, 2009

Autographs: World Baseball Classic

I mentioned yesterday that me and my wife were at Petco Park in San Diego to watch the 4 WBC teams workout. That wasn't the only reason we went. A couple of days earlier, I found out that players were going to be signing autographs. Free workout and autographs ? Sounds good to me. The first team to workout was scheduled for Mexico at 9:30 am through 11am. We left right before 7 am and drove about two hours to San Diego.

Once there, we noticed the Team Store was closed. There were signs announcing that WBC players were going to be sighing autographs at 12pm and 2pm. The bad news was that no updates were given. None at all. I had speculations that Mexico was going to sign at 12pm and Japan at 2pm. Was I right ? Read on....

Since the team store was closed, we walked towards the gate and waited till they open it. Right before 9:30 am they let us in. We walked towards the other entrance of the team store and a lady told me they are closed and will be opening around 10:30 am. I decided to go watch Team Mexico. The Padres only opened the outfield section seats for the fans to watch them workout. No other access ! Just where the seats are at in the outfield (Right Field) Sections 126, 128, 130, 132, 134 to be exact so you can understand. Check out the map here. I was little mad that they didn't open the whole stadium to the public as I was looking forward in getting some autographs.

My view.
Watching Mexico working out. They were having fun. Some of them danced to the music that was on Petco Park. Others joking around. Looked like they were having a good time. I met a reader from this blog while watching Mex. It was cool meeting you Hector.

I shot a couple of videos. Check this one out of Mexico practicing.

I didn't finished watching them practice. I left and checked if the Team Store was open. It was ! It was already 10:30 am. The sales people were busy stocking all the WBC items. I noticed a guy sitting down in a portable chair, so I asked him if he was in line for the autographs. He said he was but that the employees didn't have any information in regards to the autographs. The Padres employees were not involved in this. MLB officials arrived and handled the situation. It was run poorly in my opinion. We kept asking them who was going to sign and they always gave the same answer "We don't know" I wanted to know so I can be prepare in what to have ready with my items. I knew for sure it wasn't going to be Korea because they were working out from 11:30am/1pm. Cuba was scheduled for 1:30pm/3pm. And last was Japan, they were going to workout from 3:30pm/5pm. Finally around 11:30 am, one of the MLB workers yelled "It's going be two players but we don't know who it is. I also know that it's from Team Mexico !"

Two players ?
I'm not greedy but I was expecting like four or five players. That's the way Angel Stadium did it three years ago when they hosted the WBC. I guess not this time !

Two players arrived at 11:50 am. Who ? Oliver Perez and Joakim Soria.
I was disappointed that Perez was there because I got him at the WBC event in Anaheim ! But was happy that the All-Star pitcher Soria arrived. I didn't get a pix with Perez since I also got a pix with him three years ago. But got one with Soria.

After getting these autographs, we got back in line. Fans were saying that they may shuffle the players. I was hoping ! The line was moving fast. So fast, that we got to meet Perez and Soria again. I was hoping to meet other players. Again, we got back in line...

It was getting near 1pm and Perez and Soria were about to leave. We stayed in line and waited till 2pm when the other players were scheduled to come. Once again, we were told that they didn't know which players were going to come. We waited patiently and spoke to other fans and trying to figure out which team was going to come next. Most of us in line figured that Korea was going to come. They were going to practice from 11:30am/1pm I missed their entire practice since I was inside the store. It wasn't going to be Cuba for sure since they were practicing during that time. Japan was going to be a long shot since they were scheduled to practice at 3:30pm

Many Asians were in line. I'm sure most of them were hoping it would be a couple of players from Korea or Japan. I was hoping Japan (maybe Ichiro!) The employee announced right before 2pm and yelled "It's two players again and it's from Mexico !!"

Uhhh, say what ? Mexico..... again ! ??? I didn't expect that.

The Asians in line were gracious. I didn't hear one complaint from them. Mexicans were excited. I was a little upset. But it's all good. We were trying to figure out which players were going to come. Fernando Valenzuela ? I hope not !

Scott Hairston and Jorge Campillo arrived.

I told Hairston that my mom is from Hermosillo, Sonora and he said "My mom too"
Le dije a Campillo que tiene que chingar a los Koreanos ! lol

I didn't get back in line. I wanted to watch the Cuban team workout. We left and took out my Cuba Hat from my backpack and wore it. The Big Red Machine has arrived ! Notice those two guys with blue pants ? I'll have more on that later.
Video of the Cuban team

While watching them workout, I noticed two guys wearing Cuban Jerseys and hats. One of them had a autographed jersey of Yulieski Gourriel. I thought it was cool and I was wondering where he got the jersey autographed. Gourriel is considered by many to be the best player from Cuba. So I came up to them and started to chat with them.
I asked about the jersey and he said "I got it in Cuba" and I said "I figured" We talked for about 20 minutes. I noticed their accent and asked them where they came from. They said "Montreal, Canada" They are big fans of the Cuban team and often go to Cuba. They asked me if I'm cuban and where I got the hat. I told them my Dad is from Cuba and got the hat in the stadium. I noticed a Cuban Player signing from the Center Field. I told them I was going to try to snag some autographs from the Cubans.

Pitcher Aroldis (Albertin) Chapman signing autographs...
Video of Chapman signing. People (including myself lol) made the mistake of telling Chapman to stay in San Diego (1:02)

I didn't get his autograph. Chapman was called by one of the guys in the blue pants. Who are those guys ? Apparently, Fidel Castro's "security" Check out this video of these fans (they are Cubans living in the U.S.) getting mad because Chapman was called to stop signing. They feel it was one of the guys in the blue pants. They are saying that the Cuban team is being followed at all times and watched at all times.

Up next, Frederich Cepeda. He was cool. Talking to the fans (in english and spanish)
The only negative was that I was getting pushed from behind. Very difficult to give him a item to sign but I was able to get him a WBC program for him to sign. Thanks Frederich ! Check out this video of Cepeda signing autographs and interacting with us.

After this, we left. I had to head back home. I didn't stay for the Japan team to practice. I wish we could of seen Ichiro, but I had to leave. Overall, it was a good day. Nice meeting some of you and getting autographs. Good luck to Mexico and Cuba ! I wish they would do this tournament every two years. :)



Chris said...

What a great post. I feel bad for those Cuban players. Like yourself, enjoying the wbc.

Antonio said...

Vamos Mexico ! A chingar !

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert, great videos. Chapman lost the game today. Cepeda is a funny guy. Cool that he talk to you guys.

Michael said...

Rob, great stuff man. I went to the Kareem's event. It was terrible !

Pepe said...

Conoces Angel Torres ?

pm said...

This sounds amazingly fun! Any idea if they'll be doing open to the public workouts in Los Angles or where I could find out? I've already got tickets for all three games.

Freddie said...

Cuba lost today. If Mexico looses today, they will face Cuba, who would you root for ? lol

Roberto said...

@ Chris - Hopefully they will have freedom one day and they can decide where they want to play.

@ Antonio - Espero que si lol

@ Anonymous - Thanks

@ Michael - A friend went and he told me the same thing. People cutting into lines and him showing up late. That sucks dude.

@ Pepe - El que escribe en 20 de Mayo ? Si una vez lo salude en Angel Stadium. Le dije que tenia su libro que escribio sobre la pelota en Cuba

@ pm - I hope so ! A MLB Official at Petco Park told me that they might do one this coming Friday. I suggest to check later this week. I'm also going to all three games. Should be fun :)

@ Freddie - I don't know... Maybe Mex. I'm watching the Mex/Korea game right now. It's a tie. I'm hoping Mex wins. I don't want to see a Mex/Cuba game yet ! I just hope both can advance to Dodger Stadium. That would be sweet.

David said...

Why not Valenzuela ?

Roberto said...

@ David - Only because I already got him several times. The fans there wanted Valenzuela.