Monday, July 23, 2012

Time Out My Contest - Playing In Another Contest

hey everybody,

time for me to take a quick break from the 10,000 More Hits contest so that i can participate in fuji's contest as well.  fuji asked about our best or worst autograph experience.

i'm not really an auto collector, so i dont have a lot of times that i dashed out to an event in order to get an auto of a player.  i did have good luck to pick up a few autos on baseballs over the years while roaming around Dodger stadium from Tommy, Ron Cey, Rick Monday and Dodgers WS hero, Sweet Lou Johnson. 

the best experience i had with sports autos was connected through and through with the blogoworlds.  first of all, i got the tip through roberto, vin scully's homeboy, that former Dodger catcher, Steve Yeager was gonna be signing for free at a local sports bar. BANG ! i was there. Yeager was super cool, posed for a pic - which my brother never sent me !! - and talked to me for a couple minutes.  i was even able to get an extra auto that i shipped off to my fellow Dodger fan buddy over on the least coast.  glad to help a fellow blogger who just doesn't get a chance to catch these auto opportunities. i sent that card off to ol' night owl, and this is the one i kept...

THANKS, Boomer !

but that wasn't my favorite experience.  my fave involved a book signing, an 8+ hours long wait in line, and an all around great experience.  it was none other than howard stern signing his first book 'private parts' at a local pasadena bookstore.

before stern made the jump to satellite radio, i was a HUGE fan.  i listened and laughed most every morning, and when he was coming to LA to sign, i absolutely hadda be there.  i dragged my old lady along with me, and we arrived early, like 6 or 7 a.m.   the line was already totally around the block and into the rear parking lots.  wow !

it was a long wait, but everyone in that line was a certified stern fan, so we all had that in common and everyone was cool and friendly.  stern was supposed to stop  signing around 1 pm or so, and as 1 pm neared, we were nowhere near the front of the door.  there was just no way i could see us making the cut off time.

i got larry miller, owner of 'sit and sleep' - a major stern sponsor at the time. his commercials always ended with him saying.."or it's freeeeeee". he was cool enough to sign that for me.

1 pm came and went, 2 pm came and went and they hadn't tossed us out of line. stern was still signing !  finally we got into the bookstore about 2:30, and it still took another hour to get to the the front.

this is stuttering john's auto.  click this link for a classic interview between stuttering john and Tommy Lasorda.

by this time EVERYONE is tired, including stern.  they were supposed to stop signing over 2 hours ago, and he's still going !  finally we get to the front.  by this point it's a mad assembly line with assistants taking everyone's books from them before they reach the front,  piling them on the table in front of howard, which he promptly scribbled on and shoved to the other side of the table.  everyone just kind of shuffled quietly in front of stern as he scribbled autos and kind of mumbled 'thanks'.

i was totally bummed that after all that waiting, this is it ?  i passed in fornt of howard, he mumbled thanks, and i was handed a signed book by an assistant.  jeez, it wasnt even mine, there was just a pile and the assistants grabbed whichever one and handed it to you.  on one hand i could understand, he was there 2 1/2 hours past the scheduled time and probably barely stopped for a quick lunch or some water.   i should have been really appreciative, but it all felt anticlimactic.

howard must have sensed i was handed my - someone else's autographed book -  he stopped and looked up at me.  he looked me right in the eyes...yeh, i could see he was tired.  he looked me right in the eyes and extended his hand.  in an absolute sincere voice, he said to me "thanks alot for coming and waiting so long. i really appreciate it."  i couldn't believe it !  i thanked him for staying so long for us too...and then i was hustled along by assistants.  that moment of sincerity and true gratitude has stuck with me to this day.  THANKS, Howard !  you're the best !


  1. Stern is the king! I was also a dedicated fan pre-Sirius/XM days. I also felt the show lost a little steam when Jackie left. I still laugh my butt off listening to his bits and interviews from the '90s that people have posted on YouTube. Anyhow, great story -- thanks for sharing!

  2. yeh - i never wanted to see the jokeman go. the show definitely lost some of its prime magic when he left.

    thank's for commenting that you were a fan too. i loved all those old about when they pranked peter jennings from abc on the OJ chase? al michaels had to butt in and inform him ! that was hilarious.

    clueless peter jennings: "can u tell us what you see, mr. huggens?"
    maybe captain jenks(?): "ah see oh jaaay, and he's just lookin' around. and he's lookin' scared"
    LOL !! CLASSIC !