Friday, October 16, 2009

Orioles Autograph Year in Review: The Bad Signers

Just so everyone knows: I am listing these players' signing habits according to what I saw in the 40 or so games I attended this season. It's possible that these players signed at every single game I didn't attend, but I somehow don't think that was the case.

There are 3 distinct categories in this post: the "stars", the veteran relievers, and the catchers.

I will start with the "Stars":

I really like having Nick Markakis on my favorite baseball team; he is an awesome and very underrated player. That said, I have yet to see him willingly sign for the fans. Every now and then, an Orioles staff member brings him over to a group of people that are standing on the field and he will sign for them and take pictures with them, but he just flat out doesn't go out of his way to sign. This card was sent my way in a trade, but I have yet to have Nick sign something for me in person.

I did see Huff Daddy sign for a few fans at road games in Tampa Bay and Washington, but only a few and I wasn't lucky enough to be one of them. I would guess that he signed for 5-10 people each of those times, and I never once saw him sign in Baltimore. He usually ignored the fans' requests completely. He signed this card TTM for me, so at least he signs that way. But you have almost no shot of getting his autograph at a home game.

Next, here are the veteran relievers who I didn't have much luck getting to sign.

I got Baez to autograph this card at the one and only game that I saw him sign at this season. Generally, the best time to get the relief pitchers to sign is Sunday games since the team doesn't take BP, and the pitchers do some stretching and long-tossing in the OF before the game. I took the picture after I got my card signed, and he seems happy enough to be signing; he just didn't do it very often.

Jamie Walker was another veteran reliever who didn't seem to sign much. Even though he was on the Orioles for 2.5 years, he never had a card produced of him in an Orioles uniform, so I got him to sign this team card for me. I got it autographed in DC when the O's were in town in May of this year. Jamie was leaning against the stands before the fans were let in and I made a bee line to him before he realized it was time to move back to the safety of the outfield. Again, that's the only time I recall seeing him sign.

Lastly, the everyday catchers can be a tough signature to get.

As some of you may remember, Gregg began the '09 season as the Orioles starting catcher. Catchers are always busy during pre-game warm-up; they work with the starting pitchers at least 6 out of every 7 games, and that doesn't leave much time for signing. I got this card autographed by Gregg one game that he stopped for the fans while walking back from the bullpen before the game started. He seemed like a nice guy.

I hate including my favorite Oriole in this category but Wiety had the same issue that Zaun did. He didn't have much time to sign for the fans between BP & warming up the starters. He signed this card for me in Toronto, and I saw him signing the other two games of the series too. So I can advocate his road signing habits. I also think the fact that every single Orioles fan in Baltimore wanted his autograph bogged down his signing this past season. He was a pretty good signer in Frederick and Bowie last season (I had to justify his non-signing somehow, didn't I?)


zman40 said...

I was able to get Zaun's autograph when the O's came to KC this summer. It might have helped that he wasn't starting that game. Also, maybe he was just happy to be signing at one of his former homes. He signed for quite a few people after BP was done.

The only other player that I can talk about from that game was Markakis. Of course he didn't sign. He even gave a couple of kids some crap for asking for his signature without saying please. I think Brian Roberts kind of egged him on for that one since Roberts got on the same kids earlier.

kasliwi said...

At least Wieters DHs enough to get him on those days. I know you know this, but for other local readers: checking Roch Kubatko's blog on before you head to the ballpark is a great idea as he posts line-ups for both teams well before the gates open...

deal said...

Weiters is busy learning the game at the major league level - and to be honest I don't see catchers sign that often. Chris Coste as an away player for the Astros visiting Philadelphia - when the Astros season was shot.

The Relievers should be better about signing especially in Baltimore where there season was gone pretty early.

Orioles Magic said...

Zach- Zaun was normally signed for everyone when he did sign. It just wasn't very often at home anyway.

Kasliwi-very good point, it's an excellent way to know who to target at any given game

Deal-I agree about the relievers but they always walk out to the bullpen together and don't venture out of the dugout until that point. They should improve on that.