I have been having a debate with a friend and fellow baseball enthusiast about whether or not adults should ask for autographs from professional athletes.
This year was my sixth year going to Spring Training. Each year I get a little more annoyed with adults hounding players for autographs, specially grown men. Maybe it’s because of the easier access to players and the higher level of passion from fans that make the mini pilgrimage out to Tempe. In the end I just think it’s kind of lame for a grown adult to ask another grown adult for his autograph. To be sure I am guilty of letting my passion and enthusiasm for the team and favorite players go a little over the top. I enjoying yelling player’s names as the walk by, and cheering loudly. But for some reason I draw the line at asking for autographs. I won’t do it. I specifically have little patience for grown men nudging aside kids to ask for a ball player’s autograph.
In the vein of full disclosure my first and only player autograph was during spring training 2007. It was after a Friday home game. My wife and I were walking around the Stadium enjoying the atmosphere. Brandon Wood was by the outfield railing signing autographs for a small group of fans still at the ballpark. Since this was during the peak of the Brandon Wood hysteria I joined the crowd and asked him to autograph my program. Just like B. Wood’s Angel career the experience was a little awkward and left me unsatisfied.
I think many players find signing autographs annoying, which is why many players “Big League” the fans by barley giving a small smile and wave. This year after Saturday’s game my wife and I were sitting in our seats a few rows from the railing on the first base side, towards the outfield. Those of you who have been to Tempe Diablo Stadium know this is where the players walk from the dugout to the locker room after the game. Of course large groups of people crowd the railing begging for autographs. I liked the way Mike Scioscia handled the crowed. He walked up to the railing and said “Let me get the little guys” and proceeded to sign the hats and baseballs of all the young fans. I think more players should sign autographs this way. I think an autograph for a young kid means a lot more to the player and the fan then it does to an adult who will probably just sell the merchandise on ebay.