Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Friday Foto, a few days early

After a whole lot of stress finding a place to park downtown today while I was at work, I did manage to make it down to IKEA in time for the kickoff Mariners Caravan autograph session.

George. JJ, and Jamie
George Sherrill, J.J. Putz, and Jamie Moyer

The flier had advertised "Mariners players and broadcasters answering questions" and "the Mariner Moose taking pictures", but in reality, there were no broadcasters, and there were just the three players, and no Mariner Moose. Ah well.

They had us wait in line in the cold parking garage for a while -- the actual autograph session was in a little space adjoining the cafeteria. While we were outdoors, a lady came by with raffle tickets for everyone. It was pretty chilly out there, but once we got indoors, there was this IKEA guy with a microphone who was rambling out really dorky things along with some trivia. The trivia wasn't so bad ("One of these three guys at the table went to the University of Michigan. Do you know which one?") but the dorky stuff was. ("Ladies and gentlemen, we have another Mariners celebrity here tonight -- Edgar Martinez! Well, that is, we have a little kid wearing an Edgar jersey. But he looks JUST LIKE HIM!")

After waiting in line for quite a while, I finally got up to the table. They were giving out these cute IKEA Mariners Caravan mini-posters, which are basically 8.5"x11" pictures of Safeco Field printed on poster paper with the 2006 schedule at the bottom and a lot of wide open space that's just perfect for signatures on the field part of the picture. However, I'd say over half the people there had actually brought things to be signed, from baseballs to gloves to bats to photos to baseball cards. Me, I brought baseball cards just in case the posters were lame, and decided to get the cards signed anyway. The lady in front of me in line had brought cards for her son to be signed too -- an '89 Donruss Moyer card, a recent Putz card but I forget which manufacturer, and a 2005 Rainiers Sherrill card. I had brought a 1987 Topps Moyer card, which is his rookie card, and a 2004 Rainiers Putz card, and the same 2005 Rainiers Sherrill card.

I get up to the table, and I first hand my Moyer card to Jamie Moyer. Having just signed the '89 card for the lady in front of me, he looks at my card and his face lights up like "Hey J.J., take a look at this one, now THIS is my first baseball card!" and he signs it and hands it back to me grinning. Then I hand my Putz card to Putz, who just sort of signs it ambivalently, and then I give my Sherrill card to Sherrill, who's been looking awfully bored at the end of the table since a lot of people get stuck at the Moyer bottleneck getting pictures taken with him and whatnot.

Well, since the person behind me is, infact, still taking pictures of his kids with Jamie Moyer, as Sherrill hands my card back to me, I say to him, "By the way, I had a question for you.. umm... do you have a brother who posts to the Mariners blogs and websites sometimes? Goes by El Sid or something?" And he looks at me blankly for a second and then goes "Huh? Oh yeah! Yeah, Sid's my brother. Heh." And I just stammer out "Oh cool. Uh, thanks!" and walk off feeling like a dork.

After that, there was only like 5 minutes left until the IKEA people were doing their raffle thingy, so I hung out a few more minutes. They raffled off a Mariners baseball cap, a Mariners t-shirt, one of the new batting practice jerseys (Dorky IKEA guy was like "If you win this, you can take batting practice with the Mariners at Safeco Field! And I am *totally* making that up! By the Mariners I mean uh the IKEA store employees and by Safeco Field I mean uh our parking garage!"), four tickets to a Mariners game, and a $350 IKEA store gift certificate. Needless to say, I didn't win anything. I left shortly after that.

I did wear my Vote For Felix shirt, but I don't think anyone actually noticed it.

The upshot is, I'm not sure it was worth the effort to go to this, especially the part that involved parking downtown during work and then driving to IKEA at rush hour. But if you're in one of the other cities they're going to and it's convenient for you, hey, free autograph session. Unfortunately, most of the other ones don't look nearly as cool -- the schedule shows Sherrill and Putz (no Moyer) for the rest of this week, Morse and Rivera next week, and Dobbs and Rick Rizzs (!?) the week after that, and then there's Fan Fest. I still don't know if I'm going to go to Fan Fest -- mostly depends on whether I can find other dorks people to go with. If there are any current blogizen gangs planning to rampage through, feel free to let me know.

Oh, and PositivePaul is totally going to make fun of me for this, but the one thing I did notice at the autograph session is that George Sherrill is pretty cute. And now that Chad Bradford moved to the NL, I'm thinking Sherrill may be a reasonable candidate to make the 2006 All-Cute team in the category of cute AL relief pitchers. I'd never really seen him close up before, and he's got this look of... I'm not sure what to call it, but he reminds me of Ben Affleck, almost. Here's another picture I took tonight of Sherrill and Putz that might illustrate it a little bit better. See what I mean?

EDIT> Paul had a much better adventure the following night in Olympia, and even ended up in the newspaper. You can read about his adventure here.

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