Wednesday, June 06, 2012

GO KINGS GO!!!!



Tonight is GAME 4, and I can hardly contain my joy.  We are up 3 game to 0.  Three games to zero!!!!  WooHoo!!! I can barely contain myself.

Okay... I know I shouldn't put the cart before the horse.  So, take a deep breadth, stay calm and don't celebrate before it's time.  You don't win anything for 3 wins.  It takes 4 to finish the series, and as I've heard numerous times, "the 4th one is the hardest."

Wooooo!  I've been telling myself that nearly every hour since Monday evening.  Really.  I feel like that character on SNL who stares in the mirror saying, " I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me."  I need that constant reassurance that this is no time to party, and the Kings still have a long way to go.

Anyway, I was at Game 3 on Monday and only took a couple of photos.  I was planning on taking more, but that went out the window as soon as I got to my seats.  After all, it was game time and it is my responsibility to get geared up ready to root for my boys.  There is no time to point and shoot.  There is only time to watch and cheer.

I'll try to take more photos tonight, if I can.  I expect it to be louder than Monday, and if things go our way I suspect I'll be hanging around downtown LA for hours.  BTW, if you happen to be at the game feel free to come on over to Section 315.  I'm the short, goatee bearded, Filipino dude just a few rows above the concourse opening.  You can't miss me.

Here is a view of the LA Live concourse in front of the Staples Center.  There were a ton of people there.  Below is the pristine ice with the Stanley Cup Final painted on it.

One little bit of news, Upper Deck will be giving out 20,000 sets of 6 LA Kings Stanley Cup Finals hockey cards.  Everyone gets one.  Below is an example of one of the cards in the set.

My Gretzky Autograph


What a goofy photo for a hockey player.  Come on, Wayne!  Take off those horrible glasses, grow a beard and stop smiling.  There's no smiling in hockey.

Here is an autographed advertising card (a little larger than a postcard) that I had gotten signed by the "Great One" over 20 years ago.  Let me set the stage.

I was my junior year in High School, and Wayne Gretzky had just been announced as the newest member of the Kings.  I remember being elated and torn about the news at the same time.  You see, before his arrival, I was already an avid Kings.  I religiously listened to games on the radio- even before ever going to an actual game.  I followed the exploits of players like Tiger Williams, admired the strong defensive play of Jay Wells and saw the rise of burgeoning rookies like Luc Robitaille and Bernie Nicholls.  It was Marcel Dionne, though who was my number #1 favorite player.  I loved that little stout man.  So, when he was traded away to the Rangers after the 1986-87 season I had swore that I would never listen to another game.  I was as pissed as any teenage fan could be.  Of course, that anger didn't stay long as the Gretzky signing was announced soon thereafter.  Still, the Dionne trade hurts to this day as I often wonder what it would have been like to see both Wayne and Marcel on the ice together.  I bet it would have been magic.

Anyway, a buddy of mine told me that Gretzky would be at South Coast Plaza for a free signing at a Macy's on a weekday evening.  So, since we were so close that meant I would have to be there.  We left school and went directly to the mall in order to get into the queue, and were within the first 100 people there.  An hour or so later, the line had grown to thousands.  Literally, thousands!  Heck, that line was longer than any ride at Disneyland on a busy day.  Really!!

Gretzky was late to Macy's due to traffic from LA to Orange County, and clearly looked distressed at the number of people in attendance.  No man could possibly fulfill that many autographs in the couple of hours he was slated to be there.  I'm sure he was wondering why the store didn't cut off the line because no man has the strength to sign that much.

So, we got the above ad card signed, and I also got a mini stick signed by Gretzky that hangs at my home to this day.  I had forgotten to take a pic of the stick, so when I get home from tonights' Game 4 I'll take a pic and put it below.  BTW, I had been told that Wayne Gretzky stayed all night long and fulfilled every autograph request that evening at South Coast Plaza.  At least, that's what I was told.  Besides, he's the "Great One."  Of course he stuck around.

UPDATE:  Here's a pic of the autographed mini stick of Wayne Gretzky.

A Brief Card Show Visit: LB Coin Show and My Only Purchase

I wanted to put up a brief post here covering my visit this past Saturday to the Long Beach Coin Expo.  As the name suggest, the show is mostly about coins and stamps, but for the first time in a decade there would be some sports related memorabilia available for sale.  So, I decided to head to Long Beach with a my free pass in hand and the hope that I'll have a chance to browse through table after table of cards.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. 

I don't quite know what I was thinking.  I already knew it was a coin-centric show.  Did I really believe there would be an overflow of cards and memorabilia to gaze at?  Yes, I did.  So, the inevitable letdown came on strong.

If you saw my post from last week mentioning the show and decided to visit Long Beach for the afternoon, then I want to apologize now.  It clearly was not what I expected.  There were just a handful of card tables at the show - and when I say handful I mean no more than 5.  Heck, it was more like 3 actual dealer set-ups, an auction house and PSA card grading.  That was it.  Really, just that.

Fortunately, the afternoon was not all lost.  I did see some awesome Babe Ruth memorabilia at the Memory Lane Auctions booth and picked up a Dodger vintage card to add to my collection.  Check out some photos I took below.

From Memory Lane Auctions, below is a Babe Ruth game-used bat, and a Ruth rookie card just below it.

This was pretty cool.  A kid sent a letter to Babe Ruth asking him to fill out his questionnaire, sign it, and send it back.  Ruth is asked his full name, the name of his wife, and what year he is going to hit 60 home runs- Babe wrote in 1927.  It is undated, so it isn't clear if he predicted this feat, or if he was only able to respond to the kid after he had already set the home run record.

A circa 1920's Yankees team photo.  Murderer's Row.

A Ruth autograph on a really cool card.  I'm not sure what card this is.

Here are more random Ruth photos and autographs.

More random Ruth photos and autographs.  BTW, I had to be a little sneaky when taking the pics.  I had asked permission and told that it would be OK, but was later told to be a little more inconspicuous. 

Now, on to my only purchase of the day.  Since the tables that were in attendance focused on vintage cards I was at least able to see enough to keep me interested in browsing around.  I spotted a small stack 1955 Topps Doubleheaders and decided to take a closer look.  These are fun little cards with great drawings.  It is much skinnier than a typical Baseball card, but about 25% longer.  Drawings are on both sides, and they can be folded over to complete the smaller drawing on the reverse. 

There was a graded Jim Hughes/ Karl Spooner card at (what I thought was) a lofty price.  It was, in my mind, also overgraded by PSA, so I passed on it.  There was a noticeable wrinkle/corner crease along where the card is folded, and was much worse than what you would normally see from a card that has a fold right through the middle of it.

Then I found a Don Zimmer card that looked just right.  Check out the pics above and below.  As you can see, the Zimmer is the folded smaller card while Preston Ward of the Pirates is the elongated portion of the card.  Stats for both players are also on the reverse.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

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