Chasing Jeter, Day 1

Sometime late Friday I received a Facebook message from a fellow grapher telling me that Derek Jeter was to be in Scranton the next day to start rehab. I'm sure I would have read about it. But, it would have been to late. So, Thanks to Vinny for the tip.
Never wanting to spend the insane money for his autograph, I decided to take the trip. I didn't have much time to prepare. I missed out on probably a dozen players I know I have cards for. But, didn't find them in time for the trip. So, i took the scrub ball I started back in May and added to it
I took a trip up to Scranton back in May. So, I knew where and when to go. But, with it being Jeter I figured I would get there even earlier then I needed to. The game was not till 7pm on Saturday.
According to mapquest the trip should be take about 3.5 hours. But, if you have driven thru NYC. You would know that traffic is usually bad. So, I left extra early. I made great time and got there  around 9:30 am.
When I arrived there two of the local graphers were already there. I knew these 2 guys from my past trips. So, we talked for awhile. As time went on more and more people arrived. The players started to arrive around 11:30 or so and by that time they was atleast 30 graphers looking for Jeter. Most of them didn't even get any of the other players. Some players wouldn't even sign because there was to many graphers there. Then there are the players who just don't sign.
I already had 6 players on the ball from my previous trip and I added the following players:
Matt Daley, Pitched for the 
Rockies 09-11 and is from Long Island. 
David Huff, was a 1st rd pick in 2006 by the Indians. Pitched for the Yankees and Indians
Jim Miller, has had brief stints with the A's, O's and Rockies
Joe Ramirez
Josh Spence, pitched for the Padres in 2010-11
Yoshinori Tateyama, pitched for the Rangers in 2011-12
Chase Whitley, 15th rd in 2010
JR. Murphy, 2nd rd pick in 2009. There has been some talk in the NYC area newspapers that he me be brought up soon.
Addison Maruszak, 17th rd pick  in 2008
Randy Ruiz, has had short stints with the Twins 2008 and Jays 2009-10. Has also played in Japan and most recently Mexico
Fernando Martinez, former Mets prospect that turned into a bust
Thomas Neal, played briefly with the Yankees this season and the Indians in 2012. 
Corey Patterson, is a 12 yr Big League Vet who was drafted in the 1st rd, 3rd overall in 1998 by the Cubs. Has played for the Cubs, O's,  Reds, Nats, and most recently with the Jays and Cards in 2011

On there own cards before the game I got the following
Brent Lillibridge, 1 card. Has played for the Braves, White Sox, Red Sox, Indians and most recently he had a 9 game stint with the Cubs  earlier this season.
Bobby Wilson, 2 cards. Has caught for the Angels in part of  5 season 2008-2012
Josh Bell, 2 cards. Josh was a 4th rd pick in 2005 by the Dodgers. He has had shorts stints with the O's and last season played in 21 games with the D-Backs.
The Pineda I got after the game and the Bentances on sunday.

Since this was Jeter's first day ever at PNC Field. Nobody really knew who he would be brought into the stadium. 
Sometime around 1:30 while all of the players where coming in a team rep walked by us and he was in a hurry. We then noticed a grey Ford Edge driving towards the stadium. Remember Derek does Ford commercials. So, it made sense he would be driven in a Ford. The team rep was waving the Edge over to a gate that leads behind the stadium. Most of us ran over. Well in my case it was more like speed walking. But, they never stopped for us. So, our first shot on getting Jeter came and went without success. 
So, now all of the players where in and the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs bus had already arrived. Which gave me a few hours to get something to eat and drink. But, I didn't want to be away from the stadium for long. So, I just drove up to the gas station outside the stadium and grabbed a couple of drinks and a small snack and went back to the stadium. I guess everyone was hoping Jeter would come out of the stadium and surprise us. But, he never did. So, I just hung out in the car with the A/C on.
Typically the gates open 1 hour before the game. But, today there was a Kid Rock concert in the area and the start time for both the game and the concert where at 7pm. I was told that there was just one road the leads to the concert location and the stadium. So, by opening the gates early. It was thought to relieve traffic abit. The gates ended up opened at 4:50. A little sooner than what we where told.
Going inside I only was looking to get one autograph. So, I left my bag in the car and put my cargo shorts to good use. I was able to get 3 OMLB's and a few pens in 1 pocket and my camera in the other. This also made it easier to get in the stadium because I was able to get on the express line. Which is for fans without bags. As soon as the gates opened I headed over to the 3rd base side and found a spot mid way down the line. By the time everyone had gotten into the stadium the whole 3rd base line was full of people looking to get an autograph from Jeter. It alot of place it was 5 people deep and at the end of the aisles there was probably 10 deep. If i had to guess I would say there was atleast 500 fans waiting for Jeter's autograph.
Since the gates opened 1.5 hours prior to game time. It was just a wait and hope Jeter would come out sooner than later. Well he came out later and started to stretch. As soon as he came out of the dugout the crowd cheered for him.

After he did some stretching he turned around and made everyone think he would start to sign. But, instead he headed to the dugout for his glove and started to throw with one of his teammates. 

Around this time it was announced that at 6:55 everyone was to go to there seats. But, Jeter was still throwing. He started to go further down the line and warm up and then he made his way back towards the dugout. He stopped and headed for the railing to sign. it was 6:53 and I was in a bad spot. I thought to myself there was no way I would be able to get to the area. So, I just hung out and watched. 6:55 came and the ushers tried to get everyone to leave the area. But, he was being ignored by everyone including myself. I even said to one of them,"This is a losing battle for you" and just looked at me and shook his head.
For anyone who has gotten a chance to get an autograph from a player of Jeter's stature, would know things could get real ugly fast and what I mean is people end up having total disregard for each other and they will do anything to get that autograph. Push and shoving and then there is the idiot who starts to climb on others and that is just what happened and it didn't take long. There was a security guard on top of the dugout yelling at this one idiot. Either he did not hear the guard or he just ignored him. So, Jeter stopped signing and walked away. I'm sure he stopped for the safety of the fans. So, because of that one idiot. Things got ruined for everyone else. Vinny who had gotten the tip from, had gotten down to where he was signing and told me that he signed about 7 or so autograph before stopping and he just missed getting his ball signed.
 The game was about to start and everyone went to there seats.

I had experienced similar situations before. Once at Shea. Mike Piazza started to sign and I was at the railing and before I knew It had atleast 3 adults on my back trying to reach over me. 
In spring training 2010 at Cardinals camp I saw the worst. Mark Mcgwire was signing and kids and woman came out of the pile in tears. Mcgwire continued to sign and things just got worse. I got lucky that day. He ended up signing in another spot that had an organized line.
Also in 2010 at Braves camp, Hank Aaron started to sign and it got ugly fast. He called over a guard to try to control everyone. But, again the guard was ignored and Aaron stopped signing and walked away and I missed out and still to this day I have not gotten him. 
I just do not understand people. They act like a bunch of crack babies when it comes to autograph. I would hate to see someone get seriously hurt. 

So, now that game starts and there where reports that Jeter would play 5 innings at short and then get removed from the game. My seat was not the best. But, atleast I got a seat.

Once Jeter got removed alot of people left and it gave me the chance to watch the game from a better seat.
What I did't know is that he would hold a news conference during the game and leave by the stadium by the 7th inning. I was told there was about 200 people outside waiting. This time Vinny was one of only a few to get an autograph from Jeter outside.

What I forgot to mention was that the Railriders where playing the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs who are the Phillies AAA affiliate. I had found a hand full of there cards. So, after the game knowing I was not getting Jeter, I headed over to the visiting teams side and was able to get the following:
Justin Friend, 1 card. He was a 13th rd pick of the A's in 2007
Mike Macdougal, 1 card. He is 
 a 12 yr Big League Vet who has pitched for the Royals, White Sox, Nats, Cards and Dodgers. 
Tyler Cloyd, 1 card. He is a 1 per guy. I had 4 cards on my board for him. Tyler has had 2 brief stints with the Philles in the past 2 years. Pitching in 6 game in 2012 and 6 this season.

I did not start a scrub ball for the IronPigs because the players came out fast and I didn't was to fumble around with cards and a ball. I didn't care to much about getting these guys. But, got who I could.

After that I headed back over to the Railriders side to see if there was anyone else I could get and Michael Pineda came out. I had heard he was hit or miss. Mostly a miss. I had a couple of cards with me and he was  a 1 per.

I had a contingency plan. Not sure if I would have gotten Jeter. Earlier in the day I had bought a ticket to sundays game and booked a hotel room for the night. It had been announce he would DH on sunday. So, I headed over to the hotel around 11:30 pm.
It was along day. I was at the stadium from 9:30am till 11:30pm. Minus a couple of trips to get some drinks.
What made the day seem longer was the temps. It was in the high to mid 90's during the afternoon.

I sought of gave it away in the previous post that I was successful on Day 2. But, you will have to read about in the next post. Hopefully tomorrow I will get a chance to post about Day 2.

Thanks for Reading and check back soon!!!