August 12, 2011. This was the day that Vernon Wells was to make his first trip back to Toronto.
On January 21 of this year, the long-time Blue Jay was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera.
If I remember correctly, Napoli only lasted a matter of hours, before being dealt to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Frank Francisco. Here is an interesting tidbit of information on Mr. Fransicso:
Francisco is best known for participating in one of the ugliest incidents of fan violence. On September 13, 2004, he threw a folding chair into the crowd in a game against the Oakland Athletics. The incident initially escalated when Rangers pitcher Doug Brocail charged from the Rangers’ bullpen to confront a fan, Craig Bueno, who, members of the Rangers later claimed, had been heckling the Rangers pitcher about his stillborn child. The chair thrown by Francisco hit Jennifer Bueno in the face and caused a cut, which required stitches. Francisco was arrested and on June 30, 2005, he pleaded no contest to the charges. He was sentenced to anger management classes and a work program. A civil suit brought by the woman hit with the chair was settled on January 12, 2007. Terms of the settlement included an undisclosed payment and a public apology.
Francisco was suspended for the balance of the 2004 season, and missed the entire 2005 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. After two years away from the Rangers, Francisco rejoined the club on September 8, 2006.
Unfortunately due to work, I had to miss last nights game.
The first pitch Wells saw last night, he parked for a home run. Welcome back! A well deserved standing ovation was given. I really wanted to go. Now just to see his return home. No, I have something else planned.
You see, I have a ball that I would like to get signed by Mr. Wells. Not just any ball though. This ball has a bit of a story.
On July 16 and 17 2011, the Lady Jays held a Food Drive. On top of collecting non-perishable food items, they were also giving away Mystery Bags with a $25 cash donation.
Inside those bags, was a hat, autographed by one of the Jays, and a MLB Authenticated game used baseball. SWEET!
Over the course of Saturday, I bought 5 Mystery bags. Inside one of the bags, was this ball.
If you visit the Authentication website, there is a section where you can type in the serial number on the ball to find out a little more information on that particular ball. Here is what it states:
Session Name: NYY AT TOR
Session Date: September 04, 2009
Authenticator: AUTHENTICATORS, INC.
Additional Information: 3RD INNING PITCH FROM, JOBA CHAMBERLAIN TO VERNON WELLS. WELLS STRUCK BY PITCH – GIVEN 1ST BASE , BALL TAKEN OUT OF PLAY.
Now you know why I want to get it signed! Pretty cool I think, and adding Vernon’s signature to it, just adds to the coolness.
I will not be at today’s game, but I am heading down, bright and early tomorrow. I will report back if I am able to get it signed. If I don’t, I still have one more chance before the season ends. Wish me luck!