By Pedro Maicazo aka metsmagic18

One of my earliest memories of getting autographs was in San Diego in the summer of 2009, when I first got serious about collecting. The exact date was August 29th I believe…I was a visitor in San Diego which by all means is a very nice city. It has some fun features including a sandbox in right field that is open early on game days, and non-game days. Fan-friendly, and maybe if you’re lucky you’ll see a good game. Nonetheless, it’s a fun place to be.

At that time, San Diego was dead, they were out of the hunt, down Jake Peavy, and had minor leaguers starting (similar to now). Pre-game, I caught a home run ball from Kyle Blanks, and had a nice conversation with Heath Bell about San Diego. Some other guys were saying that it’s a great city, but they have so little fan support that’s it’s hard to stay positive in these rough times (referring to their team’s state). I thought about Adrian Gonzalez, and how he should be pulling the team together.
After venturing down to my seat right behind the dugout, a kid looked at me and said, out of the blue,
“Do you want Adrian Gonzalez’s autograph?” I looked at him incredulously and responded,
“We all want things, kid. It’s a matter of what we actually get.” (I was trying to sound like a wise old man, pretty lame huh?) In those days, Adrian Gonzalez was the Elvis of San Diego. He never signed EVER. It was like Albert Pujols signing. I also noticed that this kid was the only one trying for autographs. The Padres dugout was like a ghost town.

“No, really! I bet he’ll sign today. He hasn’t signed one for me this whole season though…” Out of respect, I said good luck, but what was going through my head was; “Is this kid nuts? He thinks Gonzalez  is going to sign for a random guy at a crowded Padres game!” I didn’t have anything to do but to keep this kid company and watch the end of batting practice so I sat with him. He proceeded to tell me about how much he loves Adrian, Adrian this, Adrian that, blah, blah, blah. As batting practice concluded, and it didn’t appear A-Gonz would be doing any signing, he sprinted for the dugout. He had hit a truckload of home runs and had the fans on their toes even though it was only batting practice.

The kid yelled out:
“Could you sign a few Adrian? It would mean a lot!”

Adrian squinted through the afternoon sun, and nodded. He placed his bat down and signed a baseball for me and the kid. When the kid yelled thanks, he replied that he doesn’t sign a lot because he always gets crowded. Immediately after, every kid, man, woman, dog, (maybe not) came rushing to Adrian with requests. He quickly sprinted back into the dugout. They all stared at me wide-eyed and all heck broke loose. People screamed and shouted, whined and pouted, as their hero passed them up for 2 random Joes in the crowd who ASKED.

“You got Adrian!?”
“How! That’s impossible!”
“I’ll buy that off you for 50 dollars!”
“Could you give that to my son? He’s a big fan.”
“I’m Adrian’s cousin! He wants me to have that baseball!”

The kid stared at his baseball beaming and looked back up at me: “Positive attitude sir. That’s all it takes. You have to believe in yourself and keep your confidence high. Anything can be achieved with hard work and a good effort. Don’t give up.”

I thanked him, nodded, and went back to my seat, having learned an important lesson about positivity. I NEVER give up on an autograph. No matter how tough. Whenever I miss out on someone good, I see the kid smiling and giving me a positive lecture. Johan Santana took time, Jimmy Rollins took time, Pudge Rodriguez took time. Effort, my friends is the key to autographs, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” as Wayne Gretzky once said. I take the shots, sometimes I hit and sometimes I miss, but you don’t know until you try.