Ryan,Battlin Bob and I traveled to State College,Pennsylvania yesterday for a day with the New York-Penn league as the road show known as the All Star game rolled into Nittany Lion country.
The trip up was pretty uneventful with only two real highlights-a stop at a Chili's in Altoona and passing Pirate great Kent Tekulve on the highway.
It wasn't hard to tell that it was Tekulve as I cannot think too many people have Teke on a Pennsylvania license plate driving to State College.
Ironically,the only hiccup on the trip was a wrong turn (we just turned around) that was caused by figuring Teke knew where he was going!
When I met Tekulve and told him this,his response came with a laugh and "you picked the wrong guy,I didn't know where I was going"!
What a thrill to meet a Pirate legend and one of my favorite pitchers as a kid.
We arrived at Medlar Field about 15 minutes after the gates opened,which put us at the end of a long line for the American League All-Stars.
I had a few more cards for the AL than the National Leaguers and in order to have a chance of getting what I had signed,I had to wait on getting the NYPL Top Prospects set until after all the autograph sessions were concluded.
But the worst was yet to come as a huge,wind swirling thunderstorm came blowing through and soaked me for evening.
I think the wind was messed up somewhat by the monolith that is Beaver Stadium across the street because I have never been in an average thunderboomer like that.
Ryan and Battlin' Bob did the smart thing ran for shelter.
I kept my place in line right outside cover and paid the price.
The price I pay for this hobby...
As I neared the line,a Spikes employee announced that from here on out,only one thing would be signed per player.
For the most part,that was OK,but there was a few players that I had a few cards of.
But the biggest disappointment with this policy was with AL manager and former Indian Travis Fryman.
Fryman was very nice and kind,but I was only able to get one.
I didn't really have a preferred Indian card,so I used a card from the archives.
A card from a set that I bought at the Muni when the Hagerstown Suns were in the Eastern League and Fryman was with the London Tigers.
So that was a pretty neat addition to the collection.
Former Tiger backstop Phil Clark signed a minor league card as well and Ryan got a Fleer card of Clark as well.
Fryman's cards from Ryan and the Battler went to Ryan.
The one card issue came around again when the National players were available,but I did not have as much for them.
The rest of the day autograph wise will be in the next On the Signing Front,which also catch up on the Rome Braves,Augusta Greenjackets and help from others in getting things signed.....
One of the best part of the day was seeing friends as we got to talk and spend time with two of my favorite people in the hobby in Bill Cover and Tom O'brien.
But the highlight was the appearance of the "Superfan" and his showdown with the Battler.
The Battler went toe to toe with the "Superfan" on issues that ranged from line cutting to our nations health care debate to religion and politics,where the "SF" called Battlin Bob a left wing liberal.
I thought for a brief second that Battlin Bob was going to show his left wing up close and personal to "SF",but luckily things didnt come to that and the humor that Bob usually shows continued on as always...
However,Battlin' Bob did have a thought or two on the "Superfan" when pressed for a comment later in the evening from the bleachers looking down on right field in the picture snapped to your right.
The game was interesting and fun as the American League won 4-2 behind a three run seventh inning paced by Staten Island Yankee teammates Zoilo Almonte and Jimmy Paredes.
Paredes smacked a two run homer for his part in the rally.
We moved around a lot and didn't sit in our seats at all as we enjoyed the game and good company.
Give lots of credit to the State College organization,many fields would not have withstood the downpour that hit Nittany Country and yet through an excellent drainage system and hard work,the game was able to be played.
All and all,a good day and got some things finished as well.
Tekulve and some guy,Battlin' Bob-Ryan Heimberger
Fans and the AL All Stars (check the 8th guy down)-Centre County Times