Saturday, August 31, 2013

Montgomery Biscuits Game/Autographs: What I did and who I got

A week before preparing to leave for Harvard, I was in Montgomery, Alabama with my family. We stayed with cousins, and found time to go to a Montgomery Biscuits game. I was also able to check out a card shop and visit the man cave of a friend who owns this sports memorabilia site, which you should really check out sometime.

First, the Biscuits game. I don't think I ever sat down for more than a few minutes. The ballpark is laid out so that my doing that was perfectly okay, too. There are basically no outfield seats, so you can hang out there as long as you want. Here's a photo from the Biscuits' website giving you an idea of the park layout:

When players weren't busy you know, playing, I went after them to ask for autos, or was recruiting my relatives to help me accomplish this. Here were some of the signatures I got:

Austin Hubbard was one of the Biscuits' relievers warming up that night. I caught him talking to some other fans and he tried signing an old ball, then said, "Let me just replace this one." The result was the official MiLB ball above.
Yes, that's John Kruk's biography in the background.
Two visiting pitchers with the Jacksonville Suns, Grant Dayton and Scott McGough, signed a panel on the same ball. Dayton is actually an Auburn alumnus, and worked out with Tim Hudson in the offseason. I didn't get the chance to ask him what he thought about Huddy's injury/hopeful return, though.

So why is this ball in the nice case (purchased at the Biscuit Basket team store)? Biscuits RF Todd Glaesmann made a catch near the wall in an early inning of the second game we saw. He flipped the ball up into the outfield, where only a handful of people were standing. And my brother caught it! This is the same ball, and though not evident in the photo, the pitch had some movement, as the ball is scarred in multiple places. After the game, my bro and uncle got the ball signed by Glaesmann. Pretty sweet!

The rest of the second game, I watched prospect Enny Romero (the only 40-man roster member on the Biscuits) pitch a good game against the Suns. We sat behind home plate, and once a Romero pitch flashed "100 mph" on the scoreboard. The relief pitcher with the radar gun, however, informed me it was only 96. Still some gas. I also chatted some with an A's scout (who told me he scouted Paul Konerko back in the day).

One prospect the Biscuits reliever with the radar gun mentioned was Kyle Hendricks, a Dartmouth alum. At last check, Hendricks was in Triple A with the Cubs affiliate. Might want to keep an eye on the guy-he went 10-3 with the Smokies. 

Where better to close than with my last autograph? On the ball from Austin Hubbard, I got 1B Cameron Seitzer, who was signing for a bunch of little kids on his way to the locker room. 

All in all, it was a great trip. Next post, I'll cover where I went the next day. Look for a quickie review of Capitol City Comics and sports memorabilia lessons from a seller.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Blog Look

Let me know what you think about the white space! :) Harvard post 2 is below.

What I learned at Harvard, pt. 2: Tour of Fenway

Don't look now, but the Braves are leading the NL East, with the Nationals 13 games out at the time of this posting. Can they hold the lead? Poor Chipper Jones quit Twitter a couple of weeks ago-what a fine last season this might have been for him!


Let me start with a P.S. of sorts to my last post. There were a lot of talented writers at the Harvard Journalism Academy; the vast majority were from the greater Boston area. One other writer was not, however, and wrote three articles, one on the front page of our print product. I've added her blog to my blogroll. Give it a look sometime!


While at Cambridge, I had the chance to visit the park of another first-place Eastern Division team: Fenway Park of the Red Sox. Previously, the closest I had gotten to Fenway was those little bags of outfield dirt they send in their team fan packs. And that dirt's of dubious authenticity too. So what better way to spend a Saturday morning than trying to catch a glimpse of the actual park? Not to mention I hadn't been to an MLB stadium before then....

Rather than taking shots of the stadium facade, I contented myself during the wait for the tour to start by photographing the t-shirt jerseys for sale. At the time I was in town, Peavy was the new pick-up. He'll be starting for the fourth time as a Red Sock tonight, with a 1-1, 5.00 line since the trade.
 I eyed these for a second. But $10 for 17 cards? Meh.
This was amusing. A wall of green monsters!

Most baseball followers have probably seen the Boston bombing memorial jersey on the road with the Sox this season. It's twin is the first display you see walking down into the stadium. As the tour guide we had said, though, it's the kind of memorial you never wanted to see. I thought it was great to see the Red Sox find what I consider a classy way to pay tribute to the lives lost in April.

This was what I saw after walking through the tunnel into the seating section. The field, as you can see, was being prepared for a Justin Timberlake concert later that evening. (Okay, you probably can't tell it was Justin Timberlake know what I mean.)
The decades-old grandstand seats were pretty cool, and seemed to be in pretty good condition notwithstanding. That said, the view was a bit worse off than in the other seats.
Okay, the view wasn't that bad.
The next stop? Top of the left-field wall.
The view from there...
And the Green Monster seats! It was a fantastic section, but a bit sour to learn that waiting lists and prices for these are ridiculous.
This was in the Red Sox mini-hall of fame. I overheard more than one person ask if this was the real one, as we walked by plaques of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and company.
And the press box! This was the assigned seating chart. I found it interesting that the Japanese media in particular had several assigned reporters, but I guess it takes a team to cover the life and career of Koji Uehara. If I were a Japanese sportswriter, I know I'd enjoy hanging out at Fenway, though.
Random chairs above the left field-level seats (?). I thought the little ladder was a nice touch.
Speaking of which, here's a shot of the only MLB ladder in fair territory. If a ball hits it, it's still in play.
And a final photo of the field, as seen from the press box.


All in all, it was a great trip-I enjoyed Cambridge/Boston, and I know I'll jump at the next chance I get to come back!

Friday, August 16, 2013

What I learned at Harvard: My Summer Journalism Camp Highlights

The week before school started back (ugh), I attended the Harvard Crimson's Summer Journalism Academy. The Harvard Crimson is the main student newspaper at the College, and they put on a week-long journalism workshop for high school students like myself each year.
Here's hoping I don't get in trouble for using this image from Wikipedia

In the week that I was there, not only did I take more public transportation that in any prior week of my life, but I was also able to work at one of the oldest newspapers at the oldest College in the country. So old, I heard, that some of the dorms are in pretty poor condition. You'd think, with that endowment....

The building where I went to camp every day. I hadn't been to Boston/Cambridge before, and one of my biggest takeaways was that traffic squares can have more (or fewer) than four sides. Harvard College forms a semi-circle around Harvard Square, which is a few blocks away from this building. I really can't describe the Square in words that make sense; suffice it to say it's the main hub of the College, and maybe of Cambridge. I don't really know, I was only there a week.

This was the room where work was done. Along with 21 students, I concocted two stories and got a website going for our articles. You can see the finished result here-trying to learn something new, I used wicked Wordpress for the template.

I did not touch this man's foot on our tour of Harvard College. This statue, an artist's rendering of John Harvard, is one of the prime attractions of summer tourists such as myself, many of whom slap his left foot for good luck. This practice, I was told, was rather unsanitary for a number of reasons, and I had no GermX to slather it with at the time. Google this to learn more, but be careful!

We toured the Boston Globe as part of the camp, as well as the Harvard campus. Interestingly, the Globe was recently sold to the owner of the Red Sox for $70 million, which sounds like a lot until you realize that Dustin Pedroia's contract is for $110 million. No word on whether the Globe had any contract incentives included in the buyout.

It took a Harvard education for one to learn how to spell "college."
I said we toured the Harvard campus-Harvard University, of which Harvard College is the undergraduate school, has taken over much of Cambridge. The Harvard Law School is not on the same plot of land as the library, for example-it's a half a mile down Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge's main drag.

I'll close with a photo of  The Harvard Lampoon, which I was told is a semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine. If you look closely, you can see an ibis on the top of the tower, which I was also told is occasionally stolen for fun by Harvard students. Crazy Ivy league kids! The soaking wet flag, by the way, is the official one for my birthstate, California. Why this was hanging here, I shall perhaps never know. 

For the next post, I hope to write about Fenway Park, the first and only major league ballpark I've visited. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

URLs are such a goofy business

What is Klout?
This past week I've been at Harvard College for a journalism camp. One of the tasks I took on was spearheading the camp website, which I'll link to once we have it fully up. Coming up with the URL for this website (which I actually used Wordpress to create) made be wonder a little bit about the silliness I've seen of websites and their respective URLs in general. Examples?

According to my Blogger stats, something called has generated a bunch of hits for this here blog lately. After clicking on what first appears to be a misspelling of Roger Federer's name, you get some sort of E-Book listing for a publication about basics of Blogger. Whaaaa???

Another hit generator is, which isn't quite what it sounds like (it's Google for the Bahamans).

This contest post, for a contest I wasn't having, is the most-viewed post on the blog, due to an unexpected flood of searches for "angry nick saban" into the search engines. I mean, the photo wasn't even that great...


I'm no Bama fan, but even I know the Nick-tator's not to be messed with. He barely cracked a smile with the championship trophy on this card!

And by the way, is for sale. Are there any odd URLs or website links you've come across in blogging?

[Update: I promise to put up a 'real' post soon. I'm separated from my computer pictures of both cards from trades and shots from Harvard/Boston.]