I often look down my nose at autograph hounds, as a good many of them tend to be grown men who deal in autographs professionally. Plus, they’re sad. You see them hanging out outside of hotels and near player entrances to ballparks, their backpacks bulging, talking to one another about whether the guy coming around the corner is Sanchez or Gonzalez, Smith or Jones. They often don’t know themselves. It’s so divorced from fandom and memory-making that calling the product of their endeavors “memorabilia” borders on false advertising.
But not all autograph seekers fit this description. Kids are an exception, of course, and I have no problem with kids shoving a ball and a Sharpie in the face of a ballplayer. They’ll remember that stuff their entire lives.
Another exception? Ballplayers themselves. Like Hector Santiago, who Pedro Moura of the OC Register reports, has a MASSIVE autograph collection. Hall of Famers and current players. Big stars and some not so big. Mostly on jerseys. And he’s not at all shy about asking for them.
His motivation: a love and appreciation of baseball history and a seeming acknowledgement that he won’t be young and active forever and, one day, he’s going to want to have memories of his time around the game.
Such a nice story about a guy who really loves baseball. Which, as Santiago himself says in the story, isn’t necessarily the norm among major leaguers. Go check the story out.
Today the Angels introduced their newest big star, Anthony Rendon, who just signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to play in Orange County.
And it is Orange County, not Los Angeles, Rendon stressed at the press conference. When asked about the Dodgers, who had also been reported to be courting him, Rendon said he preferred the Angels because, “the Hollywood lifestyle . . . didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family.”
What “the Hollywood Lifestyle” means in that context could mean a lot of things I suppose. It could be about the greater media scrutiny Dodgers players are under compared to Angels players. It could mean that he’d simply prefer to live in Newport Beach than, I dunno, wherever Dodgers players live. Pasadena? Pasadena is more convenient to Dodger Stadium than the beach. Who knows. They never did let Yasiel Puig get that helicopter he wanted, so traffic could’ve been a consideration.
But maybe it’s a subtle allusion to political/cultural stuff. Orange County has trended to the left in some recent elections but it is, historically speaking, a conservative stronghold in Southern California. And, based on something else he said in his press conference, Rendon seems to be pretty conscious of geographical/political matters:
A shoutout to the notion of Texas being Trump country and an askance glance at “the Hollywood Lifestyle” of Los Angeles all in the same press conference. That’s a lot of culture war ground covered in one press conference. So much so that I can’t decide if I should warn Rendon that both Texas and Orange County are trending leftward or if I should tell him to stick to sports.