About a month ago while cruising through my Twitter feed I came across a tweet from Sports Gallery in West Chester (@ASportsGallery) stating that they were having Mat Latos in store for an autograph signing! This jumped out at me in two ways: 1. I love collecting autographs! (Duh!) and 2. Anyone who has been on twitter and follows the Reds and their fans knows that Mat’s wife Dallas (@DallasLatos) is a riot to follow and there was a good chance she would be there too. (WOO!) So I began looking into the details of the event. Not only was Sports Gallery about 5 mins drive from my work, it was only $30 for Mat to sign any item I wanted to bring! I was on this like a Spider Monkey all jacked up on Mountain Dew!
Then my dilemma began, what do I have him sign? Ball? Card? Bat? Photo? I settled on ordering an 8×10 photo which could be framed and hung in my office at work for all my co-workers to be envious of. LOL! So now I had my 8×10 in hand, perfect blue sharpie selected for the signature…and the event was over 3 weeks away! Ugh. So the waiting began.
This week finally rolled around… Monday… Tuesday… Wednesday… Finally Thursday! Latos Day as I had been calling it for a past few days was upon us! I was stoked! the hours I spent at work seemed to drag on and on! Finally it was time to go! Hopped in the car and headed over to Sports Gallery! this sign greeted me as I drove into the parking lot:
My stomach actually began to flutter! I was about to meet not just one of the starting pitchers of the Cincinnati Reds but, the #1 starter in many fans hearts! Now I have met sports figures and various other celebrities in my years of collecting autographs but I was actually a bit more excited about this one! So I got out of the car and headed up to the store to pick up my line number, good gravy I was number 132! This was going to take forever! Oh…wait…they are already on 79…maybe not as long as I thought!
I passed the time waiting by talking with other fans and checking out what they were getting signed. Saw alot of people opting for the Official Major League baseball and jerseys. Still a few more had bats and various other Reds items that were covered in signatures! I was starting to doubt my 8×10 choice but stood strong and stuck with it! After a bit my number was called! I was ushered through a set of doors of a conference hall that had been set up for the event and there they were! Ryan Hanigan and Mat Latos were about 10 feet in front of me! Mat looked to be having a great time talking with the fans in the line in front of me signing there items, taking pictures with them and thanking them for coming! He seemed particularly excited about the person that placed a limited edition bottle of Liquor in front of him to sign of course!
Then it was my turn, I got a bit flustered handing off my camera to a lady who would take a pic of Mat and I, but I managed to hand my photo to Mat and while he was signing it in bright blue sharpie I asked one request “Could you please add #TeamLatos under your signature?” to which he comically responded “Me and Twitter do not get along. I don’t want to have anything to do with Twitter, so I can’t do that for you, sorry”. While this kind of stumped me for a moment, I understood. I moved around the table and got a wonderful photo taken with Mat, He said thank you for coming out and I was on my way with my treasure in hand! I don’t think I stopped grinning all the way to the car! The event that I had been waiting for 3 weeks was complete and I had a great memory and photo to show for it!
I have no idea if the Latos family will read my little ol’ blog post but if they do I would just like to say Thank you so very much for doing the event tonight! It was so cool to be able to spend even just a moment with Mat on his day off, and I will hang my photo with pride in my office! May #TeamLatos long live in Cincinnati!!
Thanks and have a blessed day!
– Joe G –
Autograph Collector Extraordinaire
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