Friday, January 28, 2011
SMALLS TALK: The Art of the Autograph
I have been practicing my autograph since 6th grade science class. It wasn't so much because I thought I was going to be famous or have adoring fans to please, I just appreciated the look of a consistent and clean signature. I saw how my Dad signed his checks, how my Mom signed a note- it was the same every time. I was in awe of this stamp-like script they were able to reproduce to exact specifications time after time- I couldn't do that. In the hundreds of signatures that filled my science notebook, maybe three of them looked somewhat similar. But I spent hours of class time practicing, searching for that perfect mix of visual appeal, legibility, and easiness to repeat. I hated science.
I never really imagined there'd come a time when I was asked for my autograph on a consistent basis. Sure, the majority of the fans asking don't know my name or position- but I'm wearing a professional baseball uniform, and if that's good enough for them, then it's good enough for me.
The autograph is a bond between player and fan- a moment in time when a piece of apparel or equipment changes hands and serves as the focal point of a quick one-on-one connection. The autographs of most players won't wind up on Ebay as potential nest eggs, but will be placed on shelves or in scrapbooks- a memory of a great day at the ballpark.
Just as my swing has improved since becoming a pro, my autograph has flourished as well. I toyed with several variations in Rookie Ball, and finally landed on what I feel is a winner. Through repetition, I have been able to master this signature and transplant it onto even the oddest of surfaces- balls, T-shirts, hat brims, gloves, and my personal favorite, biceps, to name a few.
They say a person's signature is as unique to them as a fingerprint- perhaps that's why forging my Dad's name on a sick note in middle school was so rarely successful. But as defining as it is, you get to pick it. So don't be a scribbler- we've all gotten autographs in the past that we now look back on without any idea whose name is written. Much like a walkout song, find an autograph that's 'you' and share it with whoever asks. After baseball, you're not going to have fans hanging over your desk, pleading for a signature and a moment of interaction- but for now, you're a hero. Enjoy it.
And whatever you do, please do not write a number sign (#) - you're a pro now.
SMALLS TALK Series
Greensboro's 'Bat Dogs'
Tim Kurkjian is a Man Among Boys
Baseball Movie All-Star Game: Starting Lineups
Pre-Draft Medical Questionnaires
The Ryan Howard Namesake
The Magic of the Rally
Jeter and A-Rod, How Times Have Changed
Summer Leagues - Cape Still Cream of the Crop?
SportsCenter Commercials are Better Than Most Shows
Schilling's Bloody Sock
Red Sox Nation Goes Crazy, JD Drew Can't Be Bothered
Minor League Hats are the Way to Go
Who Has the Best Uniforms in College Baseball?