Brandon Inge signed my sketchbook


illustration by Samara Pearlstein, autograph by BRANDON INGE

Brandon Inge signed my sketchbook. This is a real actual thing that actually happened in the real world.

As some of you may already know, I don’t really do the whole autograph hunt bit. I REALLY don’t like bugging the players, or (for instance) fighting with little kids for prime positioning after BP or whatever. This is a small part of why I like taking photos: you get something that is as personal as an autograph, in the sense that it’s unique to you and the ballplayer, but you don’t have to bother them. Heck, they don’t even have to look directly at you.

But TODAY.

I got to the ballpark early, knowing full well that there would be no BP, but figuring that if worst came to worst I could just chill out in the seats and draw (I knew ahead of time our seats were under cover). So I got into the concourse right after the gates opened. There’s a small roped-off area near the entrance I use for these seats; sometimes player family members and whatnot are standing in there. Today, as I came in, Brandon Inge was standing there, being interviewed by Ryan Field. There were two or three fans watching this.

Naturally enough I hastily got out my camera, figuring I would take a few pictures since I was MERE FEET away from Brandon Inge. This I did. The interview ended, and one of the few fans watching came up to ask Inge to sign her jersey (a Verlander jersey, if I recall correctly). There were no small children around, there was no huge press of people, and Inge didn’t seem like he was in a terrible hurry, probably because there would be no regular BP.

HOLY CATS, thinks I, I can totally get something signed. Do I have anything he can sign? Oh yeah only THIS ENTIRE SKETCHBOOK.

It just so happened that at my last Sox game, I had some downtime before my seat buddy arrived and had used that time to start drawing the seat view. So I had a mostly-completed drawing of Fenway, with all this empty space on the infield because I hadn’t finished filling in the grass yet. IT’S BASEBALL-RELATED, IT’S PERFECT. It would have been better if it was a Tigers drawing, and not a wonky sketch of Fenway Park, but whatever.

So, yeah. He signed it. I did not behave in an embarrassing fashion, although my screamingly orange hat was probably embarrassing enough on its own. I MAY or MAY NOT have fired off some capslock text messages shortly after this occurred, but I think you will all agree that is a very restrained reaction.

Then Dave Dombrowski walked by and said, “Hi Brandon!” and even though he was not wearing a striped shirt, the moment was still full of magic and spectacular hair.

THEN I went outside and looked at the tarp and sighed sadly, but my sadness was transformed into wonder because LITTLE VICTOR WAS ON THE FIELD and he was in FULL UNIFORM. And it got even better, because Little Victor was out there playing catch. With LITTLE PAPI. Who was ALSO in full uniform! And Little Papi was wearing the home whites, while Little Victor had on his appropriate Tigers away uni. They played normal catch for a bit, then Little Victor went down into a CATCHER’S CROUCH and it was just too much. I don’t even particularly like small children, but this was so adorable that it was almost painful. I do have photos, but you are going to have to wait because I am so backed up on processing etc.

Mark Schlereth was on the field before the game and he kept making various other Tigers take photos of him with Daniel around the park. Like, hey, Mark and Daniel standing on the infield! Mark and Daniel standing in front of the Monster! DON KELLY HOLD THIS CAMERA. Wonderful. At one point Brad Penny came over and led them into the Monster, because Brad Penny was on the Sox, however briefly, and I guess he’s allowed.

What of the game itself? Well, let us put it this way: given the weather, and the pitching matchup, this could have gone far, far worse than it did. I was expecting all sorts of unpleasantness. Brutally long rain delays, Phil Coke meltdowns, people being mean to Victor, etc.

None of that happened! We had one rain delay, but it was brief, and it wasn’t even that bad for me personally because I was under cover (we did get heavily misted all game long, and it was cold, but being under cover meant that we didn’t get soaked during the one downpour). Phil Coke went toe-to-toe with Clay Buchholz and pitched not just well, but EXTREMELY well. We kept just shaking our heads and laughing, because of course tomorrow’s game is supposed to be a Verlander/Beckett match, and that should be the great pitching duel… but we got a great pitching duel TONIGHT.

Phil Coke gave up zero runs in 7 innings. Phil Coke! Phil Coke did this very thing! He threw only 78 pitches in his 7 innings, which is probably the most efficient a Tigers pitcher has been this year. He allowed only three hits (all singles), and only issued one walk. All this occurred on a cold, rainy, windy night, where the mound could not have been in great shape, the visibility was awful even over relatively short distances, and the ball probably felt like a slippery lump of granite. Phil Coke goes out in that and dominates. Scintillating, dazzling, again with the magic.

And Victor got a great big cheer his first time up to the plate. ALL AS IT SHOULD BE, even though the Tigers ultimately lost.

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21 responses to “Brandon Inge signed my sketchbook

  1. Your pregame sounds great, and Coke was tremendous. But the combination of a drenching rain and an inability to to get timely hits made for a tough night.

  2. I have this feeling that Brandon should have known who you are. Like, when he saw your sketchbook: “Oh, you are the great Samara. I am honored to meet you. Your blog is read by all the Tigers players.” That’s how it should have gone down.

  3. Yeah, following what Jen said, I’ve always wondered — do any of the players read the blog? (How couldn’t they?)

    • Oy, I don’t think so. I don’t think most of them are big on reading sports blogs, which makes sense when you think about it. Knowing what the newspapers are saying about them is potentially bad enough, they don’t need to add in the potentially grating opinions of Some Random Blogger too.

      And let’s be real, of all the Tigers on the team, if one of them WAS going to be reading blogs, it’s probably least likely to be Inge, ha ha.

      We do know that Chad Durbin was aware of all the Chad Durbin Is a Pimp stuff, so he had read it at least a little bit.

  4. amazing. You deserve it!

  5. If they’re not reading this, they should be! I can understand your point about not wanting to read more negative stuff from fans, but come on… where else are they going to see crazy cartoons of themselves?

    Tho I guess we should know they aren’t reading, because if they were, more of them would be wearing their socks up…

    • I’ve often thought that many of the cartoons would be appreciated more by the subject player’s wife/mom/grandma than by the man himself, because they’re affectionate and silly and not always completely complimentary :)

  6. I think you obviously need to skip all other editing and just upload a couple of mini-vmart and mini-papi photos for now. it’s the right thing to do.

  7. Too cool! If that was your seat view, looks like you had pretty good seats too… I know you can’t see those wall TVs from very far back.

  8. The only thing that could be more awesome about the picture was if he had signed 3rd base instead of 1st. Oh well. I still can’t believe DD was not wearing stripes, though.

    Speaking of rain delays and general silliness, have you seen Brad Penny’s clubhouse hockey video from Tuesday night yet? He’s not saying who the goalie is, but I have my theories, especially after reading this.

    • I did see that! I could buy it being Inge, but regardless of who it is… why would they have all that gear in the clubhouse?? I tried to make out the jersey but I couldn’t see it well enough.

      • Inge definitely owns hockey gear–even Mario and Rod joke about it (sharp line drive to 3rd…whoa Brandon needs his hockey gear on for that one…). Don’t tell me you haven’t seen Hockey-Inge on YouTube?

  9. I second Alli’s request…they sound so unbearably cute!
    And the park looked eerily awesome on tv with all that mist.

  10. That’s so friggin’ awesome about your encounter with Inge! Not a shabby sketch either.

  11. Pingback: Nightly Newsstand: May 19, 2011 « Paul's Random Baseball Stuff

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