Sunday, August 8, 2010

My National Experience

Yesterday I was able to attend the National in Baltimore. I made the drive up I-95 and arrived about 9:30. As the gates opened about 9:45 (15 minutes early), I rushed to the autograph pavillion to purchase my tickets for Earl Weaver and Frank Robinson. This took a little longer than expected but what can you do? I decided to start browsing tables in the back and work my way back to the front entrance and maybe I'd be able to see it all. I was able to walk the entire show floor before 1pm but I only really stopped at tables that I was able to get really great deals or stuff I was specifically looking for. During this morning period I was ablt to finish off my 2010 Bowman set and knock a few more cards off my 2009 Upper Deck wantlist (I still need some if anybody wants to help me out). I was also able to get some cards for my first binder set 2009 Topps 206. I also picked up a big stack of the corresponding minis from that set. I think the minis from this set are pretty neat so I will be trying to complete it also and place it in the binder along with it's big brother.
Since Earl Weaver was to start signing at 1:15, I decided to grab a bite to eat so I had plenty of fuel for the marathon afternoon session. While eating I chatted with a couple from California who made a whole vacation out of the National. They visited Washington DC, Colonial Williamsburg, attended Nationals and Orioles games. I hurried over to the Autograph area since it was already 1:30. I did not need to rush. What a mess! There was a crowd of people waiting for a variety of Autograph guests. There was no organization, and it kind of seemed like the autograph area was an afterthought the way that it was cordoned off into a corner of the Convention Center.
As I was standing in line, I tried snapping a few pictures. NO DICE. Either the Batteries were dead or the Camera called it quits or both. Now I have no pictures to share with you guys. None!
I was finally able to get Earl Weaver's Autograph on an 8x10 that I had purchased on eBay in advance of the show. It was nearly 2:30 so Frank Robinson was SUPPOSED to start signing at this time. After the VIPs and SuperVIPs and All Access rich people got their autographs, Frank took a break to talk on the phone for about an hour. During this time I perused the show floor a little more and made some purchases. I returned to the Autograph line at 4:30 and the line had finally started to move. I finally got my autograph from him at about 5:30! I got another 8x10 that I had pre-purchased before the show. Since the show was about to close, I started to make my way toward the exit weaving in and out of tables picking up a few last minute deals.
Other than the Autograph area being a disorganized, I really had a good time at the show. I am glad I had the chance to attend a National and maybe one day I will be able to attend again. I am sorry that I was unable to meet any fellow bloggers but there's always next time!

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