For a while now I've been on a personalization kick. I love the idea of in person and through the mail autographs because for that brief interaction, it was a one-on-one request between you and a baseball player (or whoever you asked for an autograph). Personalizations add more to the experience because that card and autograph is now yours (or whoever you had it personalized to). At least to me.
Which brings me to the latest Staten Island Yankees game that I went to (yesterday).
Last time I was too caught up in getting a Wilkerman Garcia autograph to really focus on much else. This time I really tried to nail down this inscription. I've been doing these inscribed Bowman Chrome autograph things for a while now and I'm starting to like them. Anyone can just buy a Bowman Chrome autograph, but unless your name is Kenny, this one won't be worth much to you. I asked Wilkerman Garcia to inscribe this to me and he was nice enough to comply. This is the refractor version too. I love it. An inscribed Bowman Chrome refractor autograph of a top Yankees shortstop prospect. Wilkerman was the leadoff hitter for the SI Yankees in this game and did a pretty good job. Notching a hit and later recording an RBI.
Here's a personalization that went wrong. I tried asking Gomez for an inscription but my fourth grade command of Spanish failed me and he ended up just signing an autograph on an autograph card :P. I still love how this looks, and at least now I know that the original signature was clearly a Nelson Gomez autograph, and yet, I never thought that my very first autograph on autograph card experience would happen like this. Nelson Gomez had himself a great game for the record, going 2-4 with a home run.
One more inscription for me. This one courtesy of Jeff Degano. Luckily my college grad level English didn't fail me and I was able to get an inscription on this Asia exclusive Bowman Chrome black refractor autograph. It's the lowest numbered autograph I have addressed to me so far.
I also asked Jeff to sign one of the base black refractors for me. I had three so I gave him the other two along with a base BoChro auto that I no longer had a use for thanks to the black ref above. Degano made an appearance in the game in the seventh. Relieving starter Jorge Guzman (who we'll talk about later), and going 0.1 innings pitched with a walk and a strike out. Very encouraging to see.
Okay, my haul wasn't just inscriptions and failed inscriptions, it also included regular IPs like this Leonardo Molina. A good three years after picking this card up on eBay, I finally met Leo and got his signature on this beautiful blue ref. I love how it looks now. The blue ink, the blue border, the blue helmet, everything. Leonardo Molina's been overshadowed in recent times by newer and better outfield prospects but he was still one of the top international free agent picks not too long ago. The Yankees have aggressively pushed Molina (who is still 19 years old) by assigning him to Charleston, a level usually for players at least a year or two older than he is now. It's been a mixed bag but Molina has since been able to breathe and develop regularly at age appropriate levels like Pulaski last year and Staten Island this year. Hopefully he really rakes this year and shows massive improvement in Charleston next year.
As for Leonardo in the game, he went 2-4 and knocked in two RBI in the first to put the Yankees in the lead. Another fun start for the blazing hot Staten Island Yankees.
Last up is the only player who didn't participate in yesterday's game, Drew Finley.
Drew Finley is the highest rated pitching prospect on the Staten Island Yankees this year (although Guzman is not too far behind). The SoCal third rounder is armed with a fastball, changeup and wipeout curveball. He was signed overslot for the curveball basically. Drafted out of high school there's still some ways to go for Finley but so far what he's shown in his time as a pro has been pretty good and promising. Finley was shut down early last year due to elbow fatigue but looks ready to go this year.
I got lucky with Finley being one of the autograph subjects on the concourse at today's game. Usually he's behind home plate charting.
I managed to get all three cards I wanted signed, signed. I gave him some cards for him to keep too (of course).
And those were my autographs. Kinda lighter this time, still need some more, but at this point most of the key ones have been nailed down and I've very happy with my progress so far.
Alright, so discussing the rest of game is largely centered around just how good Jorge Guzman was.
Guzman was one of the pitchers who came over to the Yankees in the Brian McCann deal. Guzman's key feature is his fastball which has been clocked at 100+ mph. In fact he went 102 mph in this very game.
Guzman was on cruise control for most of the game but his bid at a perfecto and no-no ended in the fifth. All told Guzman went 6.2 IP with 10 strike outs and only allowed two hits (no runs). All against his former organization, the Houston Astros' affiliate, too.
Jeff Degano and big leaguer Branden Pinder finished off the game after Guzman left and the Yankees went on to win 5-0. Key hits by the big bats like Wilkerman, Leonardo, Cabrera and Nelson backed what was a very fun night for the Staten Island Yankees from a prospecting angle.
With the win the Yankees improve to 10-2 on the season and are on a three game winning streak. Sidenote, they also swept the Tri-City ValleyCats (the Houston affiliate) with those three wins as well. In a short-season, a hot start like this is what can make your entire run to the postseason. Looking forward to the next few weeks of baseball.
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).
2017 IP Auto Count: 17