So, the second weekend in a row, the Rangers had some players in Frisco. This time at that Dr Pepper Ball Park, which is just a few miles down the road. Also this time 6 players were in attendance but they were broken into three groups of 2. You got to stand in line for one group at a time.
Last year I arrived about 2 ½ before the signings and was way way way in the back. I was so far back I was likely not to get a signature. Luckily I bumped into a few friends as I wandered to the back of the line and they offered to let me cut in with them.
I have mixed feeling about cutting in. For some collectors, it’s the ultimate sin. For others, it is normal operating procedure. I prefer not to do it when it means someone else might not get a signature. If it’s just a question of saving time, which I can use to move onto another signing, I’m less squeamish.
I also know the first 20 people or so in line are often holding places for another 20 or so people. So others cutting in line really doesn’t affect the scheme of things that much. Is that a rationalization? Yes. Do I get upset when others cut in front of me? I‘ll admit I used to get very upset. Now it depends on my mood. And my mood is often being driven by how tired I am or how poorly I’ve eaten. If I’m full of empty carbs and sugar and caffeine and I’ve been on my feet for several hours, I get irritated. If I’m awake and have some protein and water in me, I can go with the flow without a blip in the blood pressure.
This year, I wanted to take better control of my destiny and I got to the ballpark at 6:45AM.
It was still very dark. I didn’t see a line. So I drove around the place making sure the line wasn’t somewhere else. I’ll admit, I have queued up in the wrong place before. Besides being embarrassed, you also lose time and opportunities.
After I confirmed the line wasn’t somewhere else, I parked and sat in my car. As time crept by a few other cars arrived and people started placing their camping chairs in front of the gate to save their place.
The empty camping chair is a common practice. This way you are ‘there’ but just not in your seat. You can stay warm in the car and listen to music and not bother anyone. I wasn’t too concerned about being first or fifth or tenth so I just stayed where I was and enjoyed being warm.
I got to listen to the birds wake at false dawn. I watched the sun come up. I watched the car’s thermometer rise from 37 degrees to 45 degrees. And around 9 AM the street started getting busier and a few more cars parked and people were getting in line.
While there were still 4 more hours before the signing, I figured it was time to leave the comfort of the car and join the others. Luckily they were friendly and enjoyable people. We passed at least 2 hours chatting before we broke up and went our separate ways. I read and they drifted off to make new friends.
My goal for being so early was to get done quickly and then get back in line to see if I could get into a different group and get more signatures. Best laid plans…it didn’t happen. By the time I was done with my line the rest of the lines were capped and I couldn’t get in for any other signings. It happens. I moved on.
I did get David Murphy. I got him for a friend’s grandson. The kid will be thrilled. Murphy was paired with Steve Buechele, someone I already had. So this Buechele will go to another friend.
Only 30 minutes passed once the doors were opened and I was done. After 7 hours (6 ½ in line) I got what I came for, even if it wasn’t for me.
And that is how it works sometimes. A full day spent to get 2 autographs I won’t even keep.