Friday, August 5, 2011
1981 Topps, Jeff Jones
#687 Jeff Jones
Here is a card that I got signed at Target Field two weeks ago. The Detroit Tigers were in town that evening and Jeff is their pitching coach.
That was my first trip to Target Field since it opened and, like I do with any Major League ballpark I go to for the first time, I had to do a lap around the place just to check everything out. There really wasn't too much to see outside of the Target Plaza area behind right field. That was where most of the statues were as well the history of baseball in the twin cities. That was also the main entrance to the park, similar to Turner Field in Atlanta. The Plaza was were I started and finished my lap. By the time I had finished it, the gates were about to open and I decided to enter the park there. The only problem was that I was entering in right field and my destination was the visiting dugout on the third base side (ie, on the opposite side of the park). By the time I had made it over there, I had missed out on Austin Jackson, Carlos Guillen, and Rick Porcello.
Now, I am going to back track a bit. Just before the gates opened, my buddy and I were at the Plaza checking out the various statues of past Twins greats. I was checking out a giant bronze version of Kirby Puckett when I heard the gates opening. Naturally, I make my way to the gates to go in. When I got to the gate, I turned around to give my buddy his ticket and he was nowhere to be found. I look and look and look and I do not see him at all. I just assumed that he was right behind me since the gates were open, but that was not the case. After a few minutes of looking for him, I finally find him, hand him his ticket, and storm off to the gate. He says something to me like "it's not like you have to go in right when the gates open". But, he was obviously wrong on that assumption because if I had gone in right when the gates opened (and had entered through a different gate), I would now have autographs from Austin Jackson, Carlos Guillen, and Rick Porcello.
There is a lesson to be learned here kids. If you want to greatly enhance your likelihood of getting autographs at a professional baseball game, make sure you 1. Enter the ballpark right when it opens and 2. Go through the gate that is nearest to the area you want to 'graph from.
Back to the story.
As I was getting closer to the Tigers dugout, I saw Jeff signing for a guy. By the time I got down to the field, he was moving to the outfield where the pitchers were throwing. I was able to flag him down before he got there and he came over to sign for me. For some reason, I handed him a black pen instead of a Sharpie. Before I realize my mistake, he had started to sign this card with the pen. I quickly got him to stop, but you can still see part of a "J" from the pen. Oh well, it still came out looking alright.