Part of the fun of following baseball is getting to know the players — at least at the fan level and one hobby that has grown up around the game is collecting autographs from favorite team members.
If you want an autograph, first and foremost remember that the players are there to play a game. They are not walking around with pen in hand or something to sign and hand to you. As crazy as it sounds, some fans forget the simplest of tools — a permanent marker. When my daughter was getting autographs before a Cincinnati Reds game we brought two markers (and actually ended up giving one to another young fan).
Get There Early
Find out how early your team’s park opens and get there even earlier. We arrived at the park more than two hours early and asked the ticket scanner if we could go in with season ticket holders, surprisingly they said yes. Once inside we approached an usher to point us in the general vicinity of where to stand.
Know Where to Stand
Regardless of the team, some players sign autographs while others do not. But, at least in the case of the Reds, the players that do give autographs tend to approach the same area when they are ready to sign. If you want the signature of a particular player, get there early enough to position yourself in that player’s preferred signing spot.
Know Who Signs
Some players do not sign autographs before a game. An easy way to find out is to talk with others who have gotten player autographs and talk to the ushers and officials at the ballpark. Most of the individuals who assist in security or even seating can tell you which players will or will not sign. If a particular player does not sign, then regardless of where you stand, you will not entice them to sign your memorabilia.
Be Persistent, Courteous
When players begin signing autographs hats, baseballs, baseball cards and other items are thrust toward them with fans asking for signatures. Being persistent, but courteous will go a long way in getting a signature. But, to keep the spirit of the game alive, don’t be afraid to help someone else when you’ve received your autograph. My daughter was standing next to a boy celebrating his birthday while at the park. The boy was reticent to ask Reds shortstop Zack Cozart for an autograph so my daughter took the boy’s baseball and handed it to Cozart asking him if he would sign it since it was the boy’s birthday.
Cozart did — making the boy’s day.
There’s Always Next Time
Last, but not least, accept the fact you may not get the signature you want. My daughter wore her Brandon Phillips’ shirt hoping to get Brandon’s autograph and even though Phillips signed for quite awhile that day due to where she stood, she was unable to get it. However, she was able to get Todd Frazier’s autograph and several other Reds players she wanted.