Spikes vs. Black Bears – Ki-Jana Carter Bobblehead Night & Autograph Signing

Last Sunday, the 2018 National Sports Collectors Convention came to an end.  But I’m still going.  This show must go on!!!

On Friday night I attended my fourth and final minor league game of the summer.  The game took place in State College, PA between the Spikes and the West Virginia Black Bears.  The Spikes went on to lose 3-2.  A local Shikellamy High School graduate, Nick Dunn, was recently drafted by the Cardinals and plays for the Spikes right now.  I got to see him score.  I suspect he’ll get his first cards in Bowman Draft later this year.

There were two reasons why I wanted to attend this game.  The main objective was to be one of the first 1,000 fans through the gate so I could obtain my Ki-Jana Carter bobblehead.  The former Penn State running back and 1994 All-American was also in attendance.  Before the game started he was down on the field giving interviews, throwing out the first pitch, and handing out additional bobbleheads to fans.  Shortly after the game began, the Spikes had a table setup for him down the first base line.  Once he started signing, the line moved fairly quickly.  I got him to autograph my Rawlings black/gold Penn State football.  Everyone was allowed (1) autograph and (1) photo.  This was the first time I had ever participated in an autograph signing during a baseball game.  It went very smoothly.

Ki-Jana Carter was the Round #1 Pick #1 in the 1995 NFL Draft.  He went on to play for the Bengals, Redskins, Packers, and Saints.  For the price of a ticket, I got a bobblehead, autograph, and photo.  Not too bad.

Penn State running back and 1994 All-American Ki-Jana Carter

Nookie Monster!

State College Spikes second baseman Nick Dunn

Harrisburg Senators vs. Altoona Curve – 5/26/18 – Strasburg Life Size Bobblehead Unveiling

Twenty-one years ago I attended my first professional baseball game on City Island to watch the Harrisburg Senators take on the New Haven Ravens.  Its a game I’ll never forget because one of the Ravens players gave me a free bat while walking by my section.  I still have that bat hanging on my wall.  I have no clue as to who the player was, but I like to imagine it was Todd Helton.

This summer I’m set to attend one minor league game per month.  All bobblehead giveaways.  My first game this summer took me back to City Island where it all began.  The Harrisburg Senators (AA of the Nationals) were taking on the Altoona Curve (AA of the Pirates).  Two Washington Nationals players, Brian Goodwin and Daniel Murphy, were down with the Senators doing some rehab work.  On Saturday night the Senators inducted Stephen Strasburg into their Life Size Bobblehead Hall of Fame.  The first 1,500 fans through the gates received a replica bobblehead.  Altoona went on to beat the Senators 10-6.

For awhile, the ballpark food at FNB Field seemed fairly normal.  Last year however, I discovered the River City Grille which is located around the backside of the stadium.  Their burgers and fries are superb.  Its become a “must-have” now when I go.  The Hershey’s ice cream next door is good too.

The Harrisburg Senators will have a card featured in 2018 Topps Pro Debut.  It will be part of the Fragments of the Farm set featuring a piece of base from FNB Field.

New video screen above the main gates

Vladimir Guerrero, Cliff Floyd, Bryce Harper, Matt Stairs, Brandon Phillips, Stephen Strasburg

Will Craig of the Altoona Curve

Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy

Harrisburg Senators vs. Akron RubberDucks – 7/9/16 – Floyd Life-Sized Bobblehead Unveiled

Its almost been twenty years since I attended my first professional baseball game on City Island.  After the Harrisburg Senators (AA of the Nationals) cancelled their Star Wars-themed bobblehead last year I wasn’t sure if I’d go back.  But given how close I am to this stadium, it doesn’t take much for me to change my mind.

On Saturday, July 9th, the Harrisburg Senators gave out Cliff Floyd bobbleheads to the first 1,500 fans.  This bobblehead is an exact replica of the life-sized bobblehead of him they unveiled before the game.  Back in April they did the same thing with Vladimir Guerrero, and next month the Senators will do it with Bryce Harper.  Guerrero, Floyd, and Harper will round out their inaugural life-sized Bobblehead Hall of Fame class.  This was the first time I had ever seen a life-sized bobblehead in person.  I wasn’t sure where they were going to be located.  It turned out that both of them were right behind my seat near the end of the walkway.  They look really cool.  Cliff Floyd was suppose to be there, but couldn’t make it.  Instead he sent a video message.  I think after the season ends, these giant bobbleheads will be moved to a more permanent location.

This was the first time I had been to a Senators game since First National Bank purchased Metro Bank.  Nothing really changed much other than the signs.  Before grabbing some dinner, I took a look around the gift shop.  I picked up a 25th and 30th anniversary pin, plus a Forever Collectibles Harrisburg Senators retro-bobblehead.  When returning to my seat with chicken fingers, fries, and ice cream, I found a baseball scout in my spot.  He was just looking for a place to sit.  I thought he wanted to sign me to a team.  For a second there I thought I might get a deal like Mickey Moniak.  Once again my athletic talent has been overlooked.

The Senators played the Akron RubberDucks on Saturday and lost 6-3.
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RubberDucks pitcher Rob Kaminsky

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Kaminsky and catcher Jeremy Lucas

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Senators pitcher Phillips Valdez

State College Spikes vs. Mahoning Valley Scrappers – 8/9/15 – The Bus Bobblehead Night

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A lot of fans came out to watch the State College Spikes take on the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Sunday night.  Good baseball wasn’t the only reason people came out though.  It was Jerome Bettis bobblehead night!!!  The first 1,000 fans through the gates received a commemorative Jerome Bettis Hall of Fame Gold Jacket bobblehead.  I think the coolest part of this specific bobblehead is that the platform he’s standing on is in the shape of a bus.  Jerome Bettis was once or still is involved with a company that owns different minor league baseball teams including the Spikes.  That’s why I think they did this.  Plus he was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame over the weekend too and is a PA favorite.

The Spikes went on to win 4-1 over the Scrappers.  Instead of having chicken fingers and fries, I went for a cheeseburger this time.  I could smell them on the grill while waiting to get in.  Everything in the gift shop was 20% off as long as it had black and/or gold on it.  So I picked myself up a new “Fear The Dear” t-shirt.

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LuCKy the Lion from Lion Country Kia.

Crosscutters vs. Muckdogs – 7/17/15 – Doubleheader – Bobbleheads

On Friday evening the Williamsport Crosscutters played a doubleheader against the Batavia Muckdogs.  Williamsport went on to win both games 4-3 and 8-0.  The first 1,000 fans through the gate for Game 1 received a Pat Borders bobblehead.  Pat Borders is the new Manager of the Crosscutters, and was the 1992 World Series MVP with the Blue Jays.

Before finding a seat, I took a stroll through the Saw Mill Gift Shop.  I was able to pickup three new pins I didn’t have.  The pins I found look to be leftover stadium giveaways they gave out last year.

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Jose Pujols at bat.

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Jesus Posso at bat.

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Gabriel Castellanos pitching for the Muckdogs.

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Missing the “N”.

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Pat Borders bobblehead given to the first 1,000 fans.

Senators Dump 7/11/15 Star Wars Bobblehead

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Fans have a bone to pick with the Harrisburg Senators (AA of the Washington Nationals).  This evening I was suppose to watch the Senators take on the Erie SeaWolves during Star Wars night.  The first 1,000 fans through the gates were to receive a Star Wars themed two-sided bobblehead.  As a bobblehead collector and Star Wars fan, I thought this would be a fun giveaway to get.  Now it doesn’t seem like that is going to happen.

I’ve been watching the Senators schedule closely in an attempt to perhaps get a look at this two-sided Star Wars bobblehead.  But no picture was ever made available.  After the season began, I noticed a t-shirt was placed on the promotional schedule for the same day as this bobblehead.  Up until last week both the bobblehead and t-shirt were listed as giveaways for Saturday, July 11th.  Teams usually don’t have two giveaways on one night, but I really didn’t think anything of it.  Near the end of last week though the information about the bobblehead had completely disappeared.  All that was left was the t-shirt.

I sent an e-mail to the Senators asking them what had happened to the bobblehead and received this response from their General Manager:

Unfortunately LucasFilms did not give us permission to do the Star Wars bobble.  We had it all designed and they pulled it.   Have to settle for the shirt.  Sorry about that.

I don’t see how you can put on the schedule that you’ll be giving away a bobblehead with this kind of popularity before obtaining permission from LucasFilms.  In their response to my Facebook post they state this change was made all the way back in April.  I don’t remember the Senators making any kind of announcement about this change either.  They just made the change, but yet left the bobblehead info on the schedule too.  This looks very sloppy from the consumer’s end.  With all that being said, I wonder what it looked like?

This isn’t the first time I’ve had problems with the Senators.  A few years ago, their Bryce Harper bobbleheads didn’t arrive in time to be given out.  Instead they handed out a redemption coupon that required you to come back at a later date to pick up your bobblehead.

Even though it still is Star Wars night at Metro Bank Park, I’ve decided not to go.  The Williamsport Crosscutters are having a bobblehead night this upcoming Friday.  I’ll be there!

I take my bobblehead giveaways very seriously.  Only Clark Griswold can describe how I felt when I heard about the cancelled bobblehead.

Lancaster Barnstormers vs. Bridgeport Bluefish – 5/30/15

Every summer I try and get to a handful of minor league games.  Specifically on days they’re giving out bobbleheads.  This year I’ve got tickets for the Williamsport Crosscutters, Harrisburg Senators, State College Spikes, and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  On the day I go see the Iron Pigs they aren’t giving out bobbleheads, but I’ve never been to Coca-Cola Park before.  So that will be a whole new experience for me.

The Lancaster Barnstormers give out great bobbleheads.  They aren’t always of players, managers, and/or mascots related to the team either.  Many times their bobbleheads focus on historical or famous individuals from the Lancaster area.  On Saturday, May 30th the Barnstormers gave out bobbleheads of Robert Fulton to the first 1,000 fans.

Robert Fulton was born in Little Britain, PA which is located in the southern portion of Lancaster.  He is credited with inventing the first commercially successful steamboat called Clermont.  Fulton was also commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the Nautilus, which was one of the first usable submarines in history.  Early torpedoes used by the British Royal Navy were another invention of his.

The Barnstormers have two more bobblehead nights this year.  On July 18th they will be giving out bobbleheads of golfer Jim Furyk.  Johnny Weir bobbleheads will be given out on July 31st.  While I was there, I picked up a new pin for my collection too.  They should be getting a few more new pins in later this season.  Lancaster won 10-0 that night.

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Cylo!

The 36th Ephrata Lions Club Sports Card Show

One of the longest running sports card shows in my area is held once a year by the Ephrata Lions Club.  Its held for one day at the Ephrata Rec Center, and they always have an autograph guest.  This was their 36th annual show, and the signer was former Phillies HOF pitcher Steve Carlton.  About 40-50 dealers were setup, and they had many items for their live auction.

The show opened to the public at 8:30 am.  I left around 6:15 am in the middle of a minor unexpected snowstorm.  On the way I passed six car accidents due to the snow.  Luckily none of them slowed down traffic when I was going by.  I arrived at 8:15 am and quickly got in line.  Once the show opened the line moved very quickly.  Inside the show you needed to purchase autograph tickets for Steve Carlton.  The Ephrata Lions Club was only selling 300 tickets, and they went like hotcakes.  After the autograph tickets were obtained, it was time to dive into the show.

During this particular show I was on the lookout for Harry Kalas stuff, bobbleheads, pins, and some 2015 wax to bust.  At first glance I didn’t see too much wax.  The only boxes I saw were some 2015 Topps Series 12015 Topps Opening Day, and 2015 Topps Heritage.  Those products are great, but have way too many base cards for my taste.  My usual wax dealer wasn’t there, but then I came across VSM Sports Card Outlet.  This was the second time I’ve seen VSM Sports Card Outlet at this show.  I purchased a Harry Kalas UD Sweet Spot Auto from them last year.  In addition to some very high-end singles, they also had boxes just fit for me.  I ended up buying three boxes from them – (2) 2015 Leaf Metal Draft Football, and (1) 2015 Upper Deck Inscriptions Football.  I’ll be posting what I pulled from those boxes later, but lets just say I got some fantastic cards 🙂

While walking around a little more I found a 2009 World Series Phillies vs. Yankees pin, and a Reading Phillies Crazy Hot Dog Vendor bobblehead.  I ran into a lot of people I knew too.  That includes the owner of the first card shop I ever went to back in 1997.  I hadn’t seen him in over twelve years.

Overall, it was a great show.  I can see why its been around for thirty-six years.  Now check out the photos.

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Phillies HOF pitcher Steve Carlton

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Reading Phillies Crazy Hot Dog Vendor bobblehead.  He has to be one of the coolest mascots in all of sports.  Its a hot dog vendor riding an ostrich.  These all came unpainted as you’re suppose to paint them yourself.  I’m leaving mine like this.

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THE SHOW!!!

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THE SHOW!!!

Hershey Bears vs. Binghamton Senators – 12/13/14

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On Saturday night I went to see the Hershey Bears take on the Binghamton Senators.  It was Dane Byers bobblehead night!!!  I believe the Hershey Bears have the best chicken fingers and fries out of all the stadiums I’ve been to.  The Bears won 5-2.  There was a lot of scoring and a bunch of fights.  I checked out the gift shop, but didn’t find anything new.  I wish they would sell some more bobbleheads in their gift shop.  OYO needs to start making some AHL minifigures.

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Back-To-Back Bobblehead Nights Round Out Busy August

Well… my busy August has officially come to an end.  It all started exactly one month ago today while heading to Cleveland for the 2014 National.  Then it was on to Little League and ending this week with back-to-back bobblehead nights in State College and Williamsport.

Thursday night the State College Spikes gave out bobbleheads of Penn State’s new head coach James Franklin.  These were given to the first 1,000 fans through the gate.  I got there two hours before the gates opened.  So early I didn’t even have to pay for parking.  I wasn’t the first one in line though.  Two guys had been there since 10:30 a.m.  The gates opened at 6:00 p.m.  The Spikes won 1-0 over the Williamsport Crosscutters.

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On Friday night the Williamsport Crosscutters gave out bobbleheads of Andrew McCutchen to the first 1,000 fans.  McCutchen played for the Crosscutters when they were affiliated with the Pirates.  The Crosscutters lost 7-1 against the Jammers.

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