Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Matt Nokes Story

Unless this is your first time on my blog, you probably know how my collection works. I collect signed cards of everyone who has played for the Orioles. My preference of what autograph is in my collection goes something like this: signed Orioles card, signed Orioles postcard, signed card of player on different team, singed 3x5. Basically, if the player has an Orioles card, I want that signed for my collection.  
My regular go-to source to find out what cards are available for a player is since they have a fairly extensive listing of cards that are available. They always have base cards listed and will normally have a lot of obscure and/or low number cards as well. And they are broken down by what team the player is shown on, so I can (typically) rely on them to let me know what's available.  

Well, it looks like Matt Nokes is a player whose listing is screwed up.  You can see here on the left hand sidebar under team, it doesn't show that Matt has any Orioles cards.  But then in mid-July, I read on Kevin's Orioles Card "O" the Day blog (mentioned at the bottom of this Kris Foster post) that Matt supposedly had an Orioles card in the '95 Pinnacle set. No way, I thought. Beckett doesn't list any Orioles cards for him! But upon further inspection, I looked for the card Kevin mentioned and, sure enough, listed as a Yankees card, there was Matt's single Orioles card. There are two parallel versions of this card, so I guess he technically had 3 Orioles cards, but I'm getting off topic. Point is that there was an Orioles card of Matt and I needed to upgrade my collection.  

Luckily, Matt is currently the hitting coach for the Potomac Nationals, the single A affiliate of the Nationals, and they play in the Carolina League with the Frederick Keys. Kalina and I go to a handful of Keys games every year, so I just circled the next time the P-Nats would be in town. Matt's not much of a TTM signer, so I was happy that I could try to get him in person. I tracked down this card at my local card shop, and went to Frederick, confident that I could get the card signed.  

Harry Grove Stadium, where the Keys play, is an awesome place to get autographs of both the Keys and the visiting teams since the players & coaches have to walk through the concourse to get from their clubhouses to the dugouts. Everyone HAS to walk past the fans, and I've never been shut down, so what could go wrong? As I stood outside the visiting clubhouse and waited for Matt to come out, I started to get worried as the entire team had passed me by and was stretching or warming up on the field.  The pitching coach was down there and so was the manager. But where was Matt? Was he not on the trip? Well, it turns out that he was, and came out of the clubhouse just a few minutes before game time. He was either in a bad mood or just a jerk because when I asked if he would sign, Matt flatly said "No" and rushed past me to the field.  I struck out! So how is my card signed then?  

Well, luckily the Keys and P-Nats would meet again in the first round of the Carolina League playoffs, just over a week later (I wrote a post on Monday about that). This time Kalina was on the job.  After my middling autograph skills hadn't worked, I sent in my better half.  I think that players always prefer to sign for kids and the ladies, especially attractive ones. Not fifteen minutes after Kalina walked over there, she came back with my cards signed and even reported that Matt was a nice guy. It sounds like he was shocked to see his Orioles card, as most people either have a Yankees or Tigers card for him to sign.  I now had two signed copies of Matt's only Orioles card.  Thank you Kalina!

This is the card that was in my collection which I obtained in a trade last June.  If anyone is interested in trading for it, or the twin of his Orioles card, just let me know!


Paul said...

I'm glad that you were able to get an Orioles card signed.

I remember a few years ago, I spent way too much to have Jose Lima's one "Mets" card sent to me in time to try to get it signed at an Atlantic League game, based on the strength of Beckett's listing.

They did a better job with Lima than they did with Nokes. It did at least say "Mets" on it. But it still pictured him as a Kansas City Royal. So my collection binder still has a Norfolk Tides card in it.

Dave said...

Very interesting story.

zman40 said...

Nice work (Kalina, not you). I didn't even know that Matt ever played for the O's.

You have to love the ballparks where the players have to cross the concourse to get to the field.

Core Contrarian said...

Kalina rules!

Ryan aka Orioles Magic said...

Paul- I somehow doubt we are the only people to come across some problems in Beckett's system.

Thanks Dave

zman- I can never keep track of where veteran players end up towards the end of their careers. I can't honestly say that I remember Matt's time in Baltimore either!

Core- You're right, she's pretty cool.

Steven said...

Matt Nokes' dad, Jack Nokes, was married to my grandma, Beverly Helms for a short period around 1983 when he was in the minors. And Matt lived with them part of the time and he stole stuff from my mom who had stuff at her moms house still. What a dirtbag!

Ryan aka Orioles Magic said...

Steven-yeah, that's definitely not cool.

Unknown said...

Met Matt at a P Nats game, nice as can been signed a bat, ball and took a pic with me - awesome guy- and I'm a dude no gimic needed