Thursday, August 30, 2012

Larry Fitzgerald Autographed Jersey!

Ok, well not yet.  I (Greg) have just entered Blake and Gavin in a contest to win 1 of 3 autographed jerseys that Larry Fitzgerald is giving away.  He made the announcement on Twitter and now I need your help.  The comment with the most "likes" will win an autographed jersey from Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald.  He is an All Pro on and off the field and the best WR in football! If you would...please...go to this link and find my comment and just hit the like button.  The contest ends at midnight Friday so please help out if you can.  Thanks in advance for your help!

Here is the link...just scroll down to the comments and my comment is in the #717 area  Also, feel free to share it with friends and family.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Game 27: Lancaster Barnstormers 17 Long Island Ducks 3

Friday night we got to watch the Lancaster Barnstormers and the Long Island Ducks with some new friends from Long Island.  Earlier in the year, I received a letter from a 7 year old boy named Kyle from Long Island.  He sent me some signed Ducks schedules and $1 for a donation to NAAF.  We knew they would be coming to Lancaster to watch a game and we were excited to meet him and his family. 

Blake, Kyle, and Gavin

As we were getting some autographs from Ducks players dad spotted a father and son in Ducks gear.  It was Kyle and his dad Brian.  They brought us a 2012 Ducks team set to get autographed as well as some pocket schedules from the Ducks and Brooklyn Cyclones.  Kyle also got 2 pocket schedules autographed while they were at a Rockland Boulders game this summer. 

Kyle's favorite player is "Mr. Ray" Ray Navarrette.  Ray is one of the greats in the league and has always been kind to Gavin and I.  The first 2 times he was in the on deck circle, Kyle went down and game him a pound.  Ray then pounded the ball out of the park for 2 home runs in his first 2 at bats.  We then had to take Kyle away to the bumper boats before Ray got up again. Sorry Ray :)

Bumper Boats

Gavin and Kyle really had fun playing in the play land and trying to soak me on the bumper boats.  We went back and had snow cones with his sisters and watched the rest of the game.  It was exciting for us because it was a huge win for the Barnstormers.  As for Kyle's family...they saw the Ducks lose Thursday night 11-0 to York and then 17-3 to Lancaster.    That probably won't matter in a few weeks as they are already in the playoffs. It was really great meeting some new friends and hopefully next year we can take in a game at Long Island.

Today's Autographs: 21
2012 Autographs: 725
2012 My donation: $36.62

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Real Good Guys

We attend many Atlantic League games during the season, but Saturday night we had the opportunity to watch one on ESPN.  The center of the baseball world has been firmly planted in Sugar Land, Texas this week with the much anticipated return to the mound of Roger Clemens.

Roger Clemens

Obviously the attention was all on Clemens.  As the lineups were given and the Skeeters took the field, the boys were cheering LOUD...but not for Clemens.  While they were excited to see him pitch like the rest of us, they were more excited to see the "other" guys...guys they know.

"Look dad, there's Vic!"  "Dad, Iggy is starting at short!"  "I can't believe Octavio gets to catch Roger Clemens". "Why is Hagen not starting?"  "There's Mr. Upshaw!"  "Mom, Luis is getting ready to bat" Those were just a few of the things Debbie and I got to hear as we were watching the game. 

While the opportunity to watch one of baseball's greatest pitchers of all time was special, we would never trade it for the impact the "other" guys have made on our boys lives.  The Atlantic League is full of these guys that we get to know and watch each summer.  While many said the Atlantic League would have a chance to shine Saturday night, it definitely did and continues to shine bright in our house...Thanks!

Luis Lopez

Octavio Martinez

Iggy Suarez

Matt Hagen

Vic Gutierrez

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Game 26: Lancaster Barnstormers 8 Sugar Land Skeeters 0

Thursday night we headed back to the ballpark after a few days at the beach.  The Sugar Land Skeeters were in town for the final time this season.  They were in the news this week with the addition of Roger ClemensMatt Hagen was the first player out and he came out early.  He began playing catch with us for about 10 minutes before his teammates came out.  He is one of the many really nice guys in the league and it will be cool to see him on ESPN tonight for Roger Clemens start.  After playing catch with Matt, we were able to get quite a few autographs of the Skeeters that we had.  It was also good to see former Barnstormers Iggy Suarez, Vic Gutierrez, and Octavio Martinez.  As for the game, the Barnstormers won 8-0 behind a complete game shutout by 40 year old John Halama.  Great game was awesome to see! All in all it was a great night back at the ballpark. 

Gavin playing catch with Matt Hagen

Blake playing catch with Matt Hagen

Former Astros outfielder Jason Lane

Gary Gaetti baseball

Today's Autographs: 27
2012 Autographs: 704
2012 My donation: $35.57

Friday, August 24, 2012

What's All the Buzz About?

Guest post from my dad:

There have been many big sports stories this past week with Lance Armstrong, Melky Cabrerra, Bartolo Colon, pre season NFL, and the MLB pennant races.  However, no story has been bigger than the signing of Roger Clemens by the Sugar Land Skeeters.  The same league we watch night in and night out, that the boys love to get autographs from, that we have friends playing in, is now in the national spotlight.  While on vacation, I first read tweets of the signing and was excited.  I was excited because Roger Clemens is the greatest pitcher of my generation.  I was excited because he was going to be playing in the Atlantic League where we attend many ball games.  I was excited because my boys would get to see him pitch...and I was excited because they would be able to get his autograph.

Clemens press conference in Sugar Land

So the question is...WHY?  Why would one of the best pitchers ever sign in an independent league at the age of 50?  To me there are only two possible theories.

First...Sugar Land is the first Atlantic League team outside of the north east and they are looking at expanding further into Texas.  Roger Clemens is interested in being a part of the expansion and generating  buzz in Texas about the Atlantic League.  By him signing in Sugar Land, the Atlantic League will be the center of the sports world on Saturday night.  ESPN is airing an Atlantic League baseball game!  Unless you live under a rock, you will know about the Sugar Land Skeeters and the Atlantic League.  With further expansion and the Roger Clemens name in the league as owner or consultant, it is a big WIN for the Atlantic League. 

The second theory is that he actually wants to pitch in  Major League baseball again...but WHY?  Roger Clemens is on the 2013 ballot for the Hall of Fame.  Others on the ballot this year are Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.  With all the speculation of steroids and HGH surrounding this years potential class, Clemens wants off the ballot!  If he can make a comeback and throws 1 pitch in MLB this season, his name comes off the ballot and he waits 5 more years to get back on.  So he would intentionally be delaying his possible Hall of Fame vote to be 5 more years past the "steroid era".  Clemens would separate himself from the Bonds and Sosas of baseball with the hopes of becoming a first ballot Hall of Famer.   

So what is my guess?  I think Roger Clemens throws 1 or 2 starts for the Sugar Land Skeeters and makes his way back to Major League Baseball.  There are no contenders looking at 50 year old pitchers that haven't pitched in 5 years.  There are teams like the Houston Astros struggling to fill seats and could use an end of the season spark.  Clemens relationship with the Astros is well documented so it makes sense.  He helps them sell a few tickets, and they help him delay his Hall of Fame eligibility.  When the rosters expand September 1st in Major League Baseball, look for Roger Clemens to be a pitcher once again for the Houston Astros.  In 2018 he will once again be eligible for the Hall of Fame.  Bottom line is that  Roger Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame...whether it's 2013 or 2018!

What does it mean for Autographs 4 Alopecia?  While it would have been great to have the boys see a future Hall of Famer pitch and the excitement they would get by getting his autograph, I just don't think the Atlantic League is where he will call home. 

If only for a brief time, the Sugar Land Skeeters and the Atlantic League will shine bright on Saturday night!

So what is your best guess how this all plays out?  Leave a comment, email me at, or give me a call at 717.330.2797.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back from Vacation

After a week of sun, fun, and riding the waves at Long Beach Island, we are back on the autograph scene.  My mom actually saw Teresa Giudice from Real Housewives of New Jersey and Celebrity Apprentice at the beach but she was packing up the car so I didn't get an autograph.  First game up is tonight...Barnstormers vs Skeeters.

Huge Waves!

Mom with Teresa Giudice

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Autograph University

I was contacted by Matt Raymond of Autograph University recently about doing an interview about Autographs 4 Alopecia.  The interview was posted in his August 14th editioin.  Thanks Matt for helping raise awareness for Alopecia Areata.  Here is the interview...

We can learn a lot from Blake Glass. The 11-year old autograph collector and founder of Autographs 4 Alopecia has turned his passion for the hobby into a platform for raising awareness about alopecia areata, the disease he was diagnosed with a decade ago. He leads fundraising efforts by donating five cents to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation for each autograph he and his brother Gavin collect throughout the year. Now closing in on 2,000 graphs since the project began in 2011, Blake’s efforts have produced considerable change.

Blake and his brother Gavin with 2012 Atlantic League All-Star MVP Fehlandt Lentini
Blake and his brother Gavin with 2012 Atlantic League All-Star MVP Fehlandt Lentini

As a reader of his blog I’m impressed with and inspired by how Blake chronicles his adventures with candor and humor while embracing his condition. I’ve learned a lot from Blake Glass.
In this interview with Autograph University, Glass discusses the Autograph 4 Alopecia project and some of his most memorable graphing experiences.

Autograph University: What is your favorite autograph-related memory?
Blake Glass: In September 2011 I was able to be the honorary bat boy for the Cleveland Indians. We were talking to Jim Thome for a few minutes and then he left and went into the clubhouse. He came out and gave me a bat signed “To Blake” and it wasn’t even a broken one. Meeting all the Indians was really awesome!

AU: As an experienced in person autograph collector, what tips would you give to fellow collectors?

BG: Make sure you have a Sharpie, always be nice and use your manners.

AU: How did you come up with the Autographs 4 Alopecia project?

BG: I saw other kids doing things to raise awareness and money for their disease and wanted to do something for mine. Since Gavin and I love to get autographs at baseball games it was a fun thing to start. Since then we’ve expanded beyond baseball. I also couldn’t do it without Gavin’s help. He is always looking for a card to get signed and telling people about alopecia.

AU: Since starting your project in 2011 you’ve amassed more than 1,800 autographs. What are the most meaningful items in your collection and who do you most want to add to it?

BG: I already mentioned my Jim Thome bat, but a few other ones were my Matt Hagen card that was our 500th autographed card and a Matt Tupman card that was #1000. I also have a couple of pictures of Charlie Villanueva from the Pistons. I met him when I was 4 and had courtside seats in his rookie year. He is one of several professionals with alopecia. It is really cool to get to know some minor league players personally and then their cards mean a lot to me too. As far as who I would like to add: I was really into the Olympics and like Missy Franklin and Gabby Douglas. Joanna Roswell is a a British cyclist that won gold and she has alopecia as well so that wold be cool. Jack Crawford is a rookie with the Raiders and has alopecia as well. I’m hoping to meet him and get and autograph too. We’re having a National Alopecia Areata Foundation day at the Nationals game on September 2nd so I’m hoping to get Strasburg, Harper and Zimmerman too. Oh yeah, I’m a huge Tim Tebow fan too! You can always dream big!

Blake shows off his Carl Everett autograph
Blake shows off his Carl Everett autograph

AU: You recently participated in the Alopecia Areata Foundation Conference in Washington, D.C. Tell me about the impact the event had on you.

BG: I got to meet a lot of people that have alopecia like me and it was fun to get to know them. We got to meet with the Pennsylvania representatives down there and I got to meet Mike Fitzpatrick and get a picture and autograph from him.

AU: How do you see the Autographs 4 Alopecia project evolving in the future?

BG: I’m not sure yet but we have some big things planned. I’ve gotten a lot of support from family, friends and people I’ve met in baseball and other sports.

AU: How can Autograph University readers support Autographs 4 Alopecia?

BG: The best way to stay informed is to follow our blog and like us on Facebook. If you see me at a game sometime, say hi and I’d love to talk to you.

A huge thanks to Blake for participating in this interview. Follow his adventures at Autographs 4 Alopecia.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Game 25: Reading Phillies 5 Trenton Thunder 6

Wednesday night we headed back up to Baseballtown (Reading, PA) to watch the future Phillies take on the future Yankees.  Luke Murton is my friend and he plays 1B and DH for the Trenton Thunder.  We got there early to get to talk to Luke before the game.  We also got to see JR Murphy who we met earlier at the Atlantic League All Star Game.  I had his card, but we left it on the table at home. Oh well, the weather was perfect and the Phillie Phanatic was in town to entertain the crowd.  The Thunder beat the Phillies 6-5.

Luke Murton

JR Murphy warming up

Philly Phanatic entertaining the crowd

Luke at bat

Blake and Gavin enjoying the game

Gavin trying pull ups with the Marines

Blake trying pull ups with the Marines

Blake and Gavin with Change Up

Today's Autographs: 5
2012 Autographs: 677
2012 My donation: $34.22

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What is Your Favorite Toy?

Earlier in the season Buzz and Woody made a trip to Lancaster to catch a Barnstormers game.  While they are very popular toys now, I asked the Barnstormers what their favorite toy was growing up...check it out.

My favorite toy is my nerf gun and my baseball glove. So, what was your favorite toy?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eagles Training Camp

Sunday afternoon we went to Lehigh University to watch the Philadelphia Eagles training camp with my cousin Chad and Uncle Rick.  It was the first time that I was ever there.  Besides watching practice, they have lots of activities for the kids.  We watched practice for a while and then went to the kids zone.  They had and obstacle course, inflatable rock wall, and flag football games.  Gavin and I played there for a little bit and then Uncle Rick, Chad, and I went back to watch practice while dad and Gavin stayed to play. 

They give out tickets for autographs after practice and Sunday was the linebackers and running backs.  We didn't have a winning ticket, so we didn't get any autographs but it was still a really fun day.

Uncle Rick, Chad, Blake, Gavin, dad

Chad, Gavin, and Blake with Lesean McCoy

"Time's Yours"
Vick in the huddle

Direct snap to Lesean McCoy

Back to Football with Desean Jackson

Blake with a pass to Jeremy Maclin

Gavin at the obstacle course

Flag football...Blake on red, Gavin on yellow

Today's Autographs: 0
2012 Autographs: 672
2012 My donation: $33.97

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Game 25: Lancaster Barnstormers 6 York Revolution 9

Back to the ballpark on Wednesday night to watch the War of the Roses between the Lancaster Barnstormers and York Revolution.  It seems like we haven't seen York much this season, but it is starting to look like this will be the first round playoff match up again this season.  This would be the last home game for a little while because the Stormers were headed to Texas beginning a 10 game road trip.  Even though the Barnstormers came up short tonight, we were able to see some friends and get some autographs.

Revolution Ace Corey Thurman

War of the Roses

Today's Autographs: 15
2012 Autographs: 672
2012 My donation: $33.97

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Game 24: Lancaster Barnstormers 7 Somerset Patriots 1

Sunday we planned on heading back to the ballpark to watch the Barnstormers and the Somerset Patriots.  We didn't think they would end up playing because all of the rain on Sunday.  After a rain delay of a little over and hour there was baseball.  It was another card strip giveaway so we went to get the Barnstormers signatures.  It was a great night for baseball as the Barnstormers went on to win again 7-1 and Alan Johnson pitched a complete game.  They are now 25 games over .500 as they gear up for the playoffs. 

Today's Autographs: 14
2012 Autographs: 657
2012 My donation: $33.22

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What is Your Favorite Olympic Sport?

Well, we are a little over a week into the 2012 Summer Olympics and we've been up late every night watching until we fall asleep.  There have been so many cool stories of Olympians not just from the USA, but from around the world.  Here are some of my favorites from the 2012 games:

Gabby Douglas Gold Medal USA Gymnastics

Missy Franklin Gold Medal USA Swimming

USA Women's Soccer

Oscar Pistorius, didn't medal but didn't need to...inspiring South Africa Runner

Joanna Roswell, Gold Medal Cyclist for Great Britain with Alopecia

To go along with the Olympics, Gavin asked the Barnstomers what their favorite Olympic sport was...check out their answers.

So, my favorite sports are swimming, gymnastics, and soccer...What is yours?