April 22nd, 2013…a date that will live in infamy

Monday, April 22nd, 2013… a date that will live in infamy…the Cincinnati Reds and all of Great American Ballpark was suddenly and deliberately visited by 4 of the Bloggers of http://headfirstslide.mlblogs.com/.

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When I got the email from Richard on Saturday asking if I would be interested in going on a Tour of GABP and watch the game that night, it took less than a minute to quickly punch out a message back and say: Yes, of course! Please take me! I wanna go!

Then the planning began…as an avid autograph collector I had to bring SOMETHING with me in case we had a chance meeting with Joey Votto in a hallway (HAH!) or some other once in a lifetime chance! Pen. Check. Red Sharpie. Check. Blue Sharpie. Check. then it was time to decide wether to bring cards or a ball? Both have pros and cons too numerous to mention here, but I decided to go with cards because I could easily slide them in my pocket! Okay…All set. Oh man I still had the most part of 3 DAYS before the game! Can you say Longest Weekend Ever!??! HAH!

Finally Monday rolls around and We meet up at the ballpark and are greeted by the wonderful Lisa Braun (@lisabraun) who was our guide on a tour of GABP. After a quick stop in her office (loads of cool stuff in there!) we were on our way to get FIELD PASSES!! Whoa! Now, I have posted before about the joy I have getting autographs and even made fun of my wife when she got her first one. I have to say walking down the hallway that led to the very 1st Major League ball field I have ever stood on is a feeling that can not be easily put into words. It just caused me to grin like an idiot, say things like “Wow!”, “There’s Latos!”, “Cingrani!” and other goofy things that I just mumbled.  I was in complete awe of seeing the action so very close!

Once the clouds lifted and I came back to reality, I started trying to figure out how I might be able to obtain a couple of signatures to remember this day by. With cards and Sharpies in hand I stood there watching, waiting and hunting! (LOL!) All of the sudden, the clouds parted…the sun beamed down…and lo’ and behold Todd Frazier (@FlavaFraz21) was walking our way! I scrambled to find a card of “The Toddfather” and when he was in front of me I was able to mumble “Can you sign this?”. He replied “Sure!” Quickly signed my card, thanked us for coming out and moved on to the next person. I was stunned. Speechless. A little giddy…okay ALOT giddy.

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The Toddfather & I

Todd Frazier

Signed in Reds red!

 Then as batting practice was wrapping up my luck doubled! Who should we see coming our way but Zack Cozart! He stopped by to thank us for coming out. Asked if we were having a good time? (All of us were ecstatic of course) He then explained he had a meeting to attend right away but wanted to be sure to say Hi! I took a chance and asked him if he would mind signing a card for me as well? He said “No problem!” BAZINGA!

Zack Cozart

I was 2 for 2!! I was so ecstatic we could have left then and I would have been happy! But NO, there was more to see! We headed over to the Reds Hall Of Fame to see the exhibits there. On the way there it was mentioned that they had a new exhibit called “Signature Reds: A Century of Reds Autographs”. This was AMAZING!!! Worth the price of admission by itself! This is how the Reds explained it:

“In 2013, the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum examines the extraordinary history of autographs in “Signature Reds” presented by Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, a special exhibit that explores the autograph phenomenon through the prism of Reds baseball. Highlighted by the display of autographs from virtually every player to wear a Reds uniform since 1920, “Signature Reds” will immerse visitors in the world of autograph collecting while taking them on an unforgettable journey through the last eight decades of Reds history. From superstars to journeymen to players whose careers were measured in single games rather than seasons, “Signature Reds” will include them all. “Signature Reds” will present the largest assemblage of Reds autographs ever made available for public display.”

I went into an autograph coma…there were autographs from almost all of the past Reds and LOADS of other famous sports players, Celebrities, Star Wars actors, Astronauts and so much more. I was stunned once again, it was so cool the way that everything was displayed. I couldn’t think of a better way of organizing and displaying the collection shown there!

After we left that exhibit and moved on through the Hall of Fame I saw many cool things and loved every moment of it. By the time we were done with the Hall it was time to head into the game and enjoy the rest of the night. The rest of the night was so much fun hanging out with the guys from HFS, cheering the Reds, Booing the Cubs and don’t forget WOOING too! LOL! What an amazing day!

As I wrap up this post about a the day that I will not soon forget, I want to thank HFS Richard, HFS Greg, Geoff, Lisa Braun and the entire Reds organization without all of you I would not have had the chance at such a wonderful experience! 

God Bless you all.
– Joe –

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @garpike28

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