Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I Now Have 13 Michael Brantley Autographs (+1 Surprise)

it's become an offseason tradition for me to post recaps of all the autographs i got from Michael throughout the year once the season is over. in 2013, i wrote a blog detailing the 10 autographs i got from him between 2010 and 2013. then at the conclusion of last year, i wrote a blog telling the story of the 1 time i got his auto during that season. links to those blogs will be provided at the end of this post.

as for 2015, i got his autograph 2 times, giving me a grand total of 13 autographs from none other than Dr. Smooth in my collection. now i will recount exactly how they came about.

i obtained my 12th Brantley autograph on May 23, 2015 in the players parking lot after the game versus the Cincinnati Reds, and i wasn't even originally planning on getting it. i made the decision not to stand over by his truck because i didn't think he'd sign and i wanted to try for some other players' autographs who i knew i wouldn't get by standing over at that gate.

Michael was one of the last players to come out despite not playing in this game. Terry Francona had told him the day before that he would be getting the game off. so why did it take him so long to come out? my guess is he was probably getting treatment for his lower back and/or working with the trainers. (keep in mind, his back strain was still an issue that needed attention at this point in the season.)

Michael walked to his truck and
the small gathering of people near it yelled for him, like usual. he opened his driver's side door and leaned over the seat to put his food bag on the passenger side. then, instead of getting into his truck, he stepped back, grabbed the door, and swung it shut. he was gonna sign! i couldn't believe it. so i RACED all the way over there from my spot at the other fence (the one with the bushes). as i'm running, of course my father ran behind me, cause you know i'm 2 years old and can't go anywhere alone. and he yelled at me to hurry up and get my card out and he put his hand out like i was supposed to give him the card. i think he thought HE would be getting this autograph or something. yeah right.

so i thought, fine, since his hand it out, i'll just give him my baseball card stack and baseball to hold onto to make it easier on myself while i'm trying to get Michael's auto on my 2013 Brantley card. then some little boy ran towards us and yelled, "Brantley's signing over there!" all excitedly because he had just gotten his autograph lol

when i got over there, the crowd, which wasn't that big to begin with, had already thinned out and he was almost done signing. i stood behind some girl and my dad again yelled at me, telling me to get in there, he'll never sign for me if i'm 3 people away from him. so then i moved and cut in front of the girl and someone else, which i still feel really bad about. (and i didn't even need to because Michael did sign for every person there.) i ended up behind a little boy who was in the process of getting Michael's autograph, and after he got it, he turned and kind of banged into me as he was trying to leave. we both said sorry and then i replaced him right up against the gate.

before Michael signed for me, he signed for 2 other people to my left. during this time, my father crept up directly behind me. Michael was signing something for a girl who wanted to take a picture of him as he was signing it, and so she asked him to smile. Michael responded, "i don't have a smile." then he finished his signature and handed whatever he was signing back to her.

what occurred next is a bit of a blur. i can't recall if this happened just before, during, or immediately after Michael signed my card, but my father tried to hold my baseball through the gate to get it signed. excuse me? i gave that to him to hold onto, not get Michael's auto on. i did not tell him to get my ball signed; i'd already gotten another player's autograph on it that day and didn't want anyone else to sign it. so why would my father take it upon himself to do that? oh i don't know, maybe because he's an attention-whore. i didn't want or need him to do anything other than hold my ball and cards. he didn't even have a sharpie, yet he still tried shoving the ball through the gate. smh.

so i pushed my dad's arm down and told him to back up away. he ignored me and stretched his arm out more. i said, "don't" and "stop" as he continued to creep right next to me. he asked me, "don't you want his autograph on the ball?" i replied, "no. back up." after he asked me again and i had to say no again, he relented once and for all. while this exchange was happening, however, Michael was mere inches away inside the gate, so i know he heard me scolding my father regardless of whose item he was signing at the time. the incident ticked me off so much i forgot the specifics. i can only hope he realized why i did it and doesn't think i'm a total bitch. alas, that experience was kind of ruined and i was certainly humiliated.

the one detail i remember about Michael signing for me was when i gave him my card and click sharpie, he tried to take the cap off the sharpie before realizing it was a click sharpie and i already had it clicked open for him. that same thing happened with Michael 2 years ago. i wonder if he had a deja vu moment and remembered (me)? anyways, here's the auto he signed for me:

as he gave me my card and sharpie back, i thanked him but he didn't say anything. oh please don't let him have been ignoring me because he heard me scolding my dad AS he was signing my card. i tried to be as quiet as i could while doing it but he heard. everyone there probably did. thanks dad.

Michael signed for 2 more people after me and then left. my father asked me why didn't i ask him a question, then said he should have talked to Michael and called him a cry baby. i'm sorry, Michael, my father is an asshole. now you see why i have to berate him. and that's autograph story #1 from 2015.

my 13th Brantley autograph came by way of another last minute decision. we went to the July 25 game versus the Chicago White Sox. as always, we arrived early and i walked over to the players parking lot. i noticed that Michael's truck was parked straight into his spot as opposed to his usual backed in. that meant his driver's side door was nearest to the gate where fans stand. i didn't think much of it at the time, but that became an important factor post-game.

after the Indians lost, 10-3, i went to the players parking lot. some players came out whose autographs i didn't need. then Cody Anderson came out, and i really wanted his auto but his parents were there and he was talking to them for what seemed like forever. finally after a good 5 minutes, i committed to going over to the gate where Michael was parked because, for once, NOBODY was there. i mean, not one fan. i figured if i was the only person there when he got to his truck, he'd sign for me. so i made a run for it and of course my father followed me. again.

before Michael even came out, another guy and who i assume was his girlfriend walked over to the gate where i was. you know the "rumor" that if more than a couple people are by his truck, he won't sign? yeah, so then i thought, great, there goes that idea cause Michael probably won't sign now with 4 people here. but i quickly saw that the girl wasn't there for an autograph, just the guy was. still, 3 people being up on the gate, even though only TWO wanted an auto, had me nervous. i would have felt much better if i had been the only one there.

maybe a few minutes later, Michael appeared. he was alone, his wife and kids were not with him. he had a plastic bag of food and he put that in the front seat on the passenger's side first (the side not directly next to the gate). and my father was already starting with me, asking me if i'm gonna say something because he's gonna leave. Michael wasn't even on the right side yet. gawd!

when Michael did walk around the front of his truck to the driver's side, that guy looked at me in a 'are you gonna say something to Michael or should i' kind of way. initially, i planned to say "one quick autograph please Michael?" but with this guy there with me, that would have been rude. as i was thinking how to revise my plea, that guy just busted out with, "Smooth, how about 2 autographs?" Michael seemed surprised that we wanted his auto cause he was like "what?" and then said yeah after the guy repeated his request.

so he goes to the guy first, who was standing to my right, and before he could sign his baseball card, the guy says, "use her sharpie." i don't know if he didn't have one, or if he brought a pen but then resolved that my sharpie would be better or what. i extended my arm through the gate a little further as Michael turned to grab my sharpie, then he signed for the guy.

next i handed Michael my baseball card for him to sign, and as he took it, he looked at me. and all i could think was please don't remember me from last time when i was scolding my father for trying to get my baseball signed that i didn't want signed. but you gotta wonder, if the same person--me--continues to get a player's auto over and over, won't he eventually start to recognize that person/me? and if a player notices that the same person is getting his auto repeatedly, will they get pissed about it and think that person must be selling his auto?

as Michael was signing my 2014 Brantley card, my father, who was right up behind me, said, "i came all the way from Buffalo." Michael stopped signing for a sec to look up at my dad, then continued to sign again. when he finished, he gave me my stuff and i thanked him before he proceeded to get in his truck, back out of his parking spot, and leave. and what should have been a happy moment/memory for me, was not.

my father thinks telling players he's from Buffalo is impressive because he believes they'll think that's such a long way and he wants to get a "wow!" reaction from them. unfortunately, my father doesn't realize that these guys all used to play in Triple A, so they've played the Buffalo Bisons before (some while with the Columbus Clippers) and are well aware that Buffalo and Cleveland aren't that far apart. i've told him before not to say this, but his desperation for attention is endless. oh and fun (sad) fact: we aren't even from Buffalo!!!

when my dad said that, my hands were tied because i knew if i reprimanded him in front of Michael AGAIN, that FOR SURE would have triggered Michael's memory of us from the last time we were there. so i had to just ignore my dad and act like i didn't know who this person at the gate was. not sure if Michael bought it though. i mean, as a player, if some guy who wasn't getting an autograph was just standing at the gate and saying random things like "i'm from Buffalo," what would you think? (other than that guy's nuts?) you'd probably think that guy was with one of the people getting your auto. and obviously he wasn't with the guy at the fence cause he was near me. so yeah. Michael must think he's my boyfriend or husband because why would my father be there with me like i'm a little kid incapable of going somewhere alone? no other parents do this shit. all the parents normally stand back and wait while their sons and daughters who are old enough attempt to get the autographs themselves. Michael must recognize us, probably thinks we're lunatics, and hates signing for me =(

now let's take a look at the autograph and analyze it:

it looks kind of sloppy compared to the first one, right? was that a result of my father interrupting his signing with that unnecessary and dumb comment? Michael could have been distracted by that, stopped writing to see who this weirdo was, and then when he went back to sign again, wasn't able to perfectly pick it up where he left off. that's one theory. either that or as i speculated above, he could be starting to recognize my face and be mad that i keep wanting his auto. or worse, he might think i'm one of those asshole collectors who gets players' sigs to sell them online. ugh. idk.

what do you guys think? am i reading too much into it (very likely lol), or does that auto look different from a "regular" Michael auto? maybe he just wanted to sign quickly and then get home. but this actually reminds me of another "rumor" i once heard from some parking lot regulars. the hardcore autograph collectors once said that every player has 2 different signatures--a nice one, and a shittier one that "won't sell." i worry that i got the latter because he doesn't want to sign for me specifically anymore.

i know it sounds crazy to think, that with all the fans Michael is surrounded by every day, he would remember me when i only see him a few times a season. BUT, if some girl constantly had an older guy with her who said random stuff to you or acted a fool every time she got your autograph, that's probably something you'd remember. and be irritated by. either way, thanks dad for embarrassing me in front of Michael for the umpteenth time. grrr.

but wait! those 2 encounters were not the only Brantley interactions i experienced this season. something really cool happened when i went to the August 8 game versus the Minnesota Twins. while i was waiting outside the gates for the ballpark to open, i noticed Michael's dad, Mickey Brantley, walking around inside the park prior to the game. i've seen him at a couple games in the past talking with Michael, so that's why i recognized him. i thought he might be at this particular game, considering it was Michael Brantley bobblehead giveaway night. i pointed him out to my mom and she also confirmed it was him. (last year after a game, she actually walked next to him on her way to the Horseshoe Casino and they chatted for a few minutes. yeah, i was jealous.) we did not tell my dad, or embarrassment would have ensued and he would have told everyone around us that Michael's dad was there.

so shortly before the gates opened, i spotted Mickey sitting in the section i had seats in--171--but a few rows back watching Indians batting practice. it couldn't have been more perfect. i decided i would ask him for his autograph as soon as i got into the ballpark. i was nervous, but determined. i thought about possibly asking for a photo with him too, but i knew i'd have to ask my father to take the pic and i did not trust him to act like a normal human being in front of Mickey. the auto alone then would have to do.

when the whistle blew signifying the gates were open, i was the first one through the metal detector. i got my ticket scanned, got my bobblehead, grabbed some Batter Ups, and then headed down to the seating area to get organized. i handed off my bobble to my mom so she could put it in the big bag she brought, flipped through the BU until i found a semi-blank page for Mickey to sign, located my sharpie in my backpack, and off i went.

i walked down to my section and picked the row in front of where Mickey was sitting to walk across (cause he was at the opposite end). once i got near him i said, "Mickey?" and he looked towards me and nicely replied, "yes." then before i could freeze up, i blurted, "can i have your autograph?" and i held out my BU and sharpie. he seriously seemed shocked, asking "you want my autograph?" and i enthusiastically proclaimed, "yeah!" so he said okay and put the cell phone that he was holding in his hand down on his lap and then took my BU and sharpie. as he signed i also told him, "i'm a huge fan of your son." i'm not even sure if he responded to that because i was standing there feeling jittery yet also proud that this was actually happening. i don't know why i was so anxious, something about those Brantleys just brings the nerves out of me lol

after Mickey finished writing his signature, he paused for a second and then added his number, 14, underneath it. and that officially gave me my 1st Mickey Brantley autograph! he has nice, legible handwriting, don't ya think?

as he handed my sharpie and BU back to me, i cheerfully told him, "thank you!" then i turned around, walked all the way down the aisle and took my seat in Row A. i don't know if Mickey noticed but i had a pink Brantley t-shirt on with "Brantley" and "23" on its back... i put the BU and sharpie in my backpack before my parents came down to our seats. i didn't want my father to know anything about it or that that was Mickey a few rows behind us. i knew better.

but then i got to thinking i really, really wanted a pic with him too, and might never have this opportunity again. so i asked my mom and she maintained that she couldn't take pictures without her glasses because she can't see and whatnot. that forced me to do the unthinkable--ask my dad. mom had my back though and told him not to say anything, just follow me and take the picture and that's it. he said okay and asked where we were going, but i wasn't born yesterday and knew my dad was gonna say something. he's too much of an attention-whore show-off.

so i walked back up the aisle, with my father in tow, to where Mickey was sitting. he saw the camera in my hand and before i could even get the words out, he was already smile-laughing. guess he knew what i was up to. i asked, "can i get a picture, too?" Mickey was astonished that i was so interested in him but he obliged. he was extremely nice and amicable, even asking, "do you want to sit down by me or do you want me to stand up?" i didn't want to have to crawl over him to sit with him, though that picture probably would have been BOMB. as i was going to answer to him, he already volunteered to stand up.

Mickey stood, put his arm around me, and we posed for the photo. my father was standing like 2 rows down, which immediately disappointed me because i knew that angle was going to be bad for me. he took not one, but two pictures because he's not very digicam-savvy. (i'm not uploading that pic unless people request to see it because i don't look my best in it.) after the picture was taken, shocker! my father started a conversation that, because i got Mickey's auto earlier, made him look silly and made me (and possibly Mickey as well) feel awkward. but i'm not going into those details cause my father has gotten enough attention here as it is, and i want to end this on a happy note for you guys. i got my pic taken with Mickey Brantley! =D

disclaimer: these stories are not dramatizations in any way. however, i did leave out several additional things regarding what else my father did/said during these encounters, if you can believe it. i literally could have titled this blog "How My Father Ruined My 3 Brantley Encounters This Year," but the focus was NOT supposed to be about him (as much as it sadly already is). i hate that these stories have some negative connotations attached to them because when i look back, i'm always going to be upset over the crap my father pulled. such is my life.

i cannot and will not be held accountable if the retelling of my father's past actions embarrass him now. maybe next time, he won't act this way. fingers crossed.

to read the more pleasant stories about my previous 11 autographs from Michael, refer to:
My 10 Michael Brantley Autographs and
I Now Have 11 Michael Brantley Autographs.

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