They came to our house late in the afternoon just to meet up, and I got to show them a bit of the highlights in my collection. While William's already seen most of them either over Skype or just on scans, I thought it was cool for them to get to hold some of my favorite cards in their hands. After that, we bought 5 tickets to go to the Batavia Muckdogs vs. Hudson Valley Renegades doubleheader that night. The game was originally scheduled to be one game, but the previous night's game was rained out so they put 2 games on the next day, causing a little bit of confusion. We went out to eat some New York style pizza, and then left for the game.
We arrived at the game just minutes before the first game ended, as was our goal for the most part. In minor league doubleheaders, they only play 7 innings a game, so by this time it was coming close to 7:00 by the end of Game 1. The Gades' took Game 1 by a score of 3-2, and following the game, William, being the prepared guy he is, gave us all a baseball to get signed, including my dad and sister as well! I ended up with about 11 signatures on my baseball, and while none of the players will probably ever make it big, you never know, and it was a lot of fun to graph with a fellow blogger!
Here's just a look of the baseball I got signed last night. While I don't know many of the players, they inscribed their numbers on each of them, so I was able to research and find most of them on the Renegades team website. Some of the names I've confirmed were: Charlie Cononie, Justin Woodall, Raymond Church, Kes Carter, Drew Leary, Andy Bass, and Leonardo Reginatto. I wasn't sure about the others.
So, we watched up until the 6th inning, where the game was tied at 1-1. We didn't really pay a whole lot of attention to the game, but more just talked about baseball and other stuff. Since we both have had long weeks this week, we left right after the 6th inning, and the Gades' went on to lose the game 2-1.
I'll always remember last night for the great time that everybody had, and how cool it was to share with them the field that I've played and been to camp on, and have been to every since I was really little. William as expected turned out to be just as awesome as the guy I met over email and the blogs a couple years back, which was great. Sometimes the internet can really get you far in life, while other times, well, not so much. All I know now though is that William is a great friend and a great person, and I'm so happy I got an opportunity to get to meet him, as well as his very nice cousin Andreas. The game turned out to be "German Night" at Dutchess Stadium, which, even with the "German" (American) food, it might've made him feel closer to home. This will definitely be the first of many visits between us in the future, not so sure how soon, but I'm sure we will get to it eventually.
While this would normally be about where I'd wrap up this post, I can't really wrap it up just yet! William found some stuff for me while he was in Cooperstown and gave them to me yesterday. Check some of this out:
First, he got me this golden baseball with gold stitches and seams, highlighting this year's Hall of Fame Induction ceremony! The baseball contains facsimile autographs from this years inductees: Pat Gillick, Roberto Alomar, and Bert Blyleven. It looks really cool in person, but the best part about it is something he didn't even realize when he bought it. The date on the ball is my birthday! A lot of times, the Hall of Fame induction turns out on my birthday, and it's cool that I have a ball with my birthday on it!
Next, he got me a postcard of one of our personal favorites, Bob Feller! Before Feller's passing last year, we both received several autographs of his and began to research him more and more. He is an American hero and legend, for not only fighting for us in World War II, but for being one of the greatest pitchers of all time. I really like the looks of these postcards, and I'd like to slowly add more of them to my collection. They definitely would look nice with an auto on them!
Also, when he visited Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, he picked up some of the dirt from the infield and gave it to me. I've always been sort of into stuff like this, as like a keepsake of places you've been to. I remember visiting Doubleday Field when I went to Cooperstown in Spring 2009, and it was a beautiful field. I definitely hope to visit Cooperstown again, as it is always worth the trip for a major baseball fan like me.
Lastly, he brought up some Don Mattingly cards for me for my growing collection of his, that he found one day. It added a little over 30 cards to my collection, bringing me to 185 total so far. Some of these cards are definitely pretty neat, and I'm glad he could help me knock off some needed cards.
The final thing he gave me, right on top of the stack, was a 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Curtis Granderson card. I really like this card, and it's my first sampling of Allen & Ginter so far this year. There's been a lot of mixed reviews for Allen & Ginter this year, which has kept me away from buying another box, but I'll hopefully soon be able to at least buy a few packs or a blaster to just try it out.
Anyways, thank you so much William for making the trip up to New York and for all the awesome things! You're the best man!