Ah, yes. The large bubble mailer. This bad boy was waiting for me at home a couple weeks back:
"Through The Mail" autograph requests are one of those parts of life where size really does matter. Okay, I betcha TTMs aren't exactly the first topic up for debate when the discussion arises, but we're talkin' baseball today, folks!
You see, the size of a TTM matters for several reasons. There's the cost. It simply costs more to send more to our favorite athletes. Yes, thank you Captain Obvious. But there's also the awkwardness of the large-sized, bulky packages. Envelopes with cards and letters can be stacked and piled and slipped in lockers rather easily. It doesn't guarantee anything, but at least the logistics are in your favor. Our heroes are busy, and toting around large packages from their fans (or asking someone from their entourage to do so) just isn't probably on their list of favorite things to do. Ever. And over-sized, over-achieving autograph requests, whether in person or through the mail, can sometime completely backfire and leave a well-intentioned fan empty-handed with a bitter memory of a particular athlete.
I get that. And I respect that. And I even fear that when I send a baseball. But I still try, sometimes!
And sometimes..........you get lucky. Very lucky.
Earlier this spring, I started a new spring training tradition of TTM quests that I colorfully called: "Spring TTM 2012". I know........amazingly pithy, yes?!?! A bunch of cards, in small TTM envelopes, went out to a bunch of players. A few baseballs went out to a few, select players. Mostly because the balls simply cost more and so I have to be selective about who I would like to send them to. After all - they might not come back. However, they weren't necessarily sent to the most popular players (which is usually a lost cause anyways) but my personal favorites or the ones that would mean the most to me.
One of them was a ROMLB (previously discussed here) and a couple of cards to my current, favorite player from my favorite team - David Robertson of the New York Yankees. That's right, a middle reliever. The Bombers' 8th inning guy. Mo's set-up man and, right now, heir apparent. Not the most exciting idea for most collectors, probably - but I was stoked to give David a try.
Yeah. I just called him David.
I returned to the hobby last year and, admittedly, returned to baseball as well. I have always tuned in for the post season every year but I had really been a poor excuse for a baseball fan since I left the hobby and the sport for [girls, my HS sports, college, wife, job, family, etc.] back around '94/'95. It was time for a change early last year though, when I found out I was going to have a son. A boy's Dad has to know what's going on in baseball, now, come one! As Homer Simpson would say, "the boy" is now here and so is my addiction to the game. I tuned in whenever I could to catch a game last season and, as luck and the law$ of marketing would have it, a lot of those games were glorious Yankees games. And in a lot of those Yankees games that ended with a W for New York, I was mesmerized by the 8th inning pitching machine that is David Robertson.
He often got himself into trouble with a hit there or a walk here......but he always pitched himself out of it, earning the nickname of "Houdini" by many fans. He earned a spot on the All-Star roster last year where he retired the side in the 2nd inning with, appropriately, one hit and one strikeout.
Ironically, Michael Pineda struck out TWO NL batters in the 3rd inning......but I digress. Sorry, the "Jay Buhner Part Deux" horror show is still too fresh on my mind!
Back to Mr. Robertson....
I also have a vivid memory of catching an inter-league game between the Rockies and the Yanks and watching Robertson strike out Tulowitzki with runners in scoring position to end the inning. It was epic! The guy has a 7-foot stride when he steps towards home plate in his delivery. This enables him to serve up some strong pitches while minimizing the reaction time for the batters he's facing.
Great stuff. Good baseball! Size matters.
Plus.....he sports the 'high socks' look which is just flat out cool. Even cooler is that Robertson (a University of Alabama alum) set up his charity, "High Socks for Hope" in order to raise money for disaster relief in the tornado-ravaged town of Tuscaloosa, AL. They were hit pretty hard last year and David wanted to help out. He also guest-celebrity-bartended at a watering hole in New York City at some point and donated all tips from that night to charity. A great pitcher for my team and, by all accounts, a great guy.
So, he easily earned a spot on my "Player Collections" roster and has become one of my favorite players. If you have any Robertson's, especially the parallels that I just can't seem to find.....let me know and I'll be more than happy to work up a swap!
Which brings me to the purpose of the whole post............David responded to my autograph request and was kind enough to sign and return the mementos I had sent! I couldn't have been more excited to chalk up another success from Spring TTM 2012 with my favorite current Yankee, David Robertson:
I like to think he may have shuffled through my fan mail and some others while sipping a cold brewskie and nursing his bizarre foot injury during spring training. He seems to have recovered nicely since his apartment-moving mishap though, as he currently sports a 0.00 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 8 K's in 11 innings pitched. And I'll certainly be cheering him on during every inning to come.
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my request, Mr. Robertson and good luck as the 2012 season unfolds!
Thanks for reading!