Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm scared of Tony Gwynn!

My experiences in meeting the great Tony Gwynn!

But first let me say the following: Gwynn is a good person. You see him on t.v. and he seems like a great person. I've heard him talk on the radio and he seems to have a great personality. But from what other fans have told me, it seems that there is two Tony Gwynn's. One is a funny, great guy. The other one is a mean spirited human being.

First time - Around 2004 at a Card Show near Knott's Berry Farm. I don't have a picture. I hardly took pictures with players back then. Let me set the scene... I payed for his autograph. I had never met Gwynn before so I was excited. A promoter of the show was sitting next to him. He grabs my item and gives it to Gwynn. He signs it and gives it back to the promoter who gives it to me. That's it. He never sees me. He doesn't even say a word. I was disappointed.

2nd Time - January 2007 at a Car Dealership. It was in the San Diego area. I woke up at 2am to make the drive to San Diego. Fast forward to 9am and Gwynn arrives. I had a bat to get it signed. When it was my turn I gave him the bat. The following is the truth. I have a friend and my wife as witnesses. I can swear on a bible!

A couple of fans were ahead of me (Thank God!). I noticed that one fan said "Put H.O.F. 2007" and Gwynn said "I'm not in the Hall of Fame yet. I was voted in but I will be elected until the Summer". Good thing I heard him say that...

I give the bat to Gwynn and he holds up the line for about two minutes to attack me. With those two minutes, he could've signed for at least 20 fans. He doesn't talk much so I'm sure he could've signed for 20/30 fans. I'm quoting Gwynn...

"What is this? You want me to sign this?" He grabs the bat and inspects it. "Terrible." He proceeds to laugh, "Insane, you brought this?" I nodded. I was surprised by his actions and I didn't know what to say. I should've just told him "Give me the damn bat and go to hell". But I didn't.

He swings the bat up in the air while he was sitting. As if he was testing it if it was good enough to hit. He continues to laugh a little. Signs it and I give him another item.

You see, on this particular event, it was only 1 item. But if you give him another item, he will sign it. He'll give you a funny look but he will sign it.

He gives me the second item and I ask him for a quick picture. My wife shoots this picture while Gwynn says "no man, you're holding up".

Tony Gwynn

I should've just pushed that bat into his chest.... :) My wife gives him 3 items. In total, he signed 5 items. The autographs were great. Believe or not, he even inscribed some of the items "H.O.F. '07". I didn't ask him to do that. Maybe he was rewarding me for being a good sport? But the experience in meeting him was bad.

3rd time

November, 2007 - I don't know why but I don't really remember the details. It was at the same location. All I know is that I was freezing outside. It was cold. Very cold. Same thing as the previous event. We woke up early. Drove to the San Diego area.

This time I took a bunch of items. I gave him 3 items. Hall of Fame ball, Sports Illustrated and another old Magazine. He was great about it, signed all 3 without making a big deal out of it. He also inscribed all the items with Hall of Fame '07. I'm not sure who shot this picture. I don't remember if it was my buddy or my wife. But I told them "shoot the picture, who cares what the outcome is, he might get mad". I asked Gwynn for a picture and he said "ah no don't do that"

I grab my ball and slap him in the face.... Just kidding. It's just that the picture looks like I'm about to slap him! :)

Tony Gwynn

4th time - Well it's my 4th time grabbing his autograph but I've seen him around several times (card shows, Dodger Stadium, etc) But I try to avoid him now. This time, like I mentioned last Wednesday {linked here} it was the at the All-Star Fan Fest. We were told he wasn't going to sign any of our items. Only a picture that was produced by State Farm Insurance. I said to myself "What heck, let's see if Gwynn blows up here". Got in line and waited for about an hour.

Now, I'm not a greedy autograph seeker. I already have many items signed by Gwynn, I don't need anything from Gwynn. I planned something while in line. I told my wife that once I get to Gwynn, I will say "I got your autograph before, I just want a picture". So while in line, I'm rehearsing my line. "Mr. Gwynn, I already have your autograph, I just want a picture". I was nervous. My heart is pounding.

Gwynn arrives, about 20 minutes later, it's our turn. I go first and I have no idea what the hell I said. I don't remember. I'm sure I didn't say "Mr. Gwynn".

I don't know what he said. I just posed for a picture and my wife shoots. You see where his hands are? It's as if he's protecting his pictures because I said I didn't want one. Maybe he was scared that I was still going to take one :)

Tony Gwynn
My wife goes up to him and asks for a autograph and Gwynn smiles. He says "Man, this is not for you. I know it's not for you. You don't give it to him, you hear me!?" He laughs. I laugh. He gives her one autograph picture. It was a funny moment.

I was scared. I'm scared of Tony Gwynn!

These are my encounters with Tony Gwynn. Funny, scary, sad, cool and many feelings put together. Remember, these are my personal experiences. I'm sure if you have met him before, he was "the greatest guy" you ever met. And it might be true. I'm just telling you what I have gone through with Gwynn.

He still doesn't get the award as "The worst man I have met". That goes to Jim Rice. Trust me, get away from JIM RICE! But that's another story...


DodgerJam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DodgerJam said...

GREAT story, Roberto! Shows you that we really never know about these guys. I remember hearing stories about how mean and cruel Kirby Puckett was behind the scenes. Yet, he was portrayed as a big teddy bear by the Twins fans. On a side note: I saw Jose Canseco last weekend at Steve Garvey's event and he was so cool. This was the 3rd time he signed an autograph for me, and he was also really friendly as well. Shows you how those who are thought of as "nice guys" can be some of the biggest jerks. And those who are thought of as "jerks" can really be some of the nicer ones.

Unknown said...

ROBERTO, I FINALLY FOUND A MATT KEMP MY TOWN BILLBOARD! BOO-YAH, i was going to dodger stadium to redeem some ticket vouchers and when i went i THINK it was sunset an elysian, I am positive of elysian, just not sunset, there was 3 billboards next to each other, Manny, Matt, and Andre. Sry no pic.

Unknown said...

Sry for not being clear, Sunset Ave, and Elysian Ave.

Roberto Baly said...

@ DodgerJam - Thanks. I agree about Canseco.

@ airwalker612 - Yes, there are 3 billboards. You see them when you leave Dodger Stadium. It's been there for a while now. :)

Unknown said...

does Tony Gwynn only own 1 or 2 vests? lol

Roberto Baly said...

hahahaha :)

Steve M said...

I'm sure you know better because you were there and could tell the tone he had, but from your description it sounded like he was just trying to be funny and playful (but he failed).

I know when Tommy Lasorda gets asked for an autograph, sometimes he will inspect the object and ask questions and say who is that, and stuff just to be fake grumbling to be funny to the fans.

Still sounds better than the Barry Bonds stories or when Vince Coleman was a Dodger.

cucuy catcher said...

I had a neighbor that did some landscaping work for Tony Gwynn a almost a couple of years ago in preparation of his daughter's wedding. My neighbor at first said he was the nicest guy but after a couple of months he turned into a monster. He ended up leaving after Tony wouldn't pay for some of the work that was done. At least he got me an autograph before that.

Unknown said...

I have met Tony Gwynn on numerous occasions. I live in San Diego, so that helps. To begin, when I was about 8 or 10 he was my Dad's patient for surgery. One day he comes in the office, and proceeds to sign about 20 autographs for everyone in the office. He took a picture with me (which he later signed about 15 years later) and couldn't have been nicer.

I later met him again when he played golf at a course I was working at when I was 16. He signed a golf ball for me and said "man, this is hard! it's the only golf ball I've ever signed."

I again met Tony in 1999 during a player autograph day at Qualcomm. He signed a 1998 World Series baseball for me without incident.

I plan on going to El Cajon Ford to see him next time he is there (usually November) as I have a Tony Gwynn 1984-2003 official baseball to get signed.

He's a stand-up guy, but can be funny apparently, although I've never experienced it.