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Group Break entries are now closed, the boxes have been ordered and secondary teams have been randomized. Follow THIS LINK for final team assignments.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Pack of Cards from a Former MLB Player

A couple of weeks ago, I was vacationing with my family in Arizona, and my wife & I went to a couple Chicago Cubs games. At each game, Cubs great Fergie Jenkins hosts an autograph signing featuring a group of 6 or 7 retired Major Leaguers. One of those was former Chicago Cub Byron Browne.



In addition to signing autographs, he was also handing out packs of baseball cards to kids who came by, after asking them a baseball trivia question. It was something nice, that he was doing on his own, to connect with the younger baseball fans.

Well, after having him sign a baseball and take a photo, he handed me a pack for myself as a bonus. So, here's what I got from my pack of 2016 Topps Opening Day, that was given to me by a former MLB player.



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bucket List Item Complete: On-the-Glass Seats at an NHL Game

My wife and I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Arizona Coyotes game Sunday night.

We are visiting from Minnesota, on our annual week-long vacation from Minnesota, and always like to go to a couple hockey games while we are here. We paid just $8 a piece for our tickets on StubHub for the game between the Coyotes and the Carolina Hurricanes. Seeing as though they are two of the worst teams in the NHL, the plan was to buy cheap tickets to get in, and then move closer to the ice in what should be a sparsely populated arena.

We were running late, because I misread the start time, and we could hear the radio commentary as we were walking around the arena to the front gate. As we were getting close to the doors, and passing the box office, someone asked us if we already had tickets. Thinking he was a scalper, I told him we already did. He told me he could get us closer, to which I informed him that while we had some seats up high, we were planning on moving closer anyway. Again, I thought he was a scalper. He then replied with, "You don't understand. We want to upgrade your seats. To the front row." I looked closer and saw that he had an Arizona Coyotes nametag on his sportscoat, and knew that this was for real, and we were getting on-the-glass seats!

We went through security, found our section, and were in our seats with 6 minutes left in the first period. The score was still 0-0, so we hadn't missed too much action, which was good. I had never sat that close to the ice before, and had always wondered if the seats were too close to really catch all of the action that happens during a hockey game.

Our seats were just a little bit off of the offensive zone faceoff circle, toward center ice, in the direction the Coyotes would shoot twice. Of course, your visibility is somewhat limited when the action is on the other side of the arena, but it is never obstructed. When it gets to your side, however, it's a completely different story. You can see the plays develop in a different way. You can see players' reactions. The players are so close, you can almost touch them. You can actually see the faces of the players, up close and personal. It's a completely different experience, and a whole new way to watch a hockey game.

The Coyotes ended up losing the game 2-1, but we both still had an amazing time. Being a hockey fan on a budget, I don't know if this is an experience we will ever have again, and we were absolutely sure to enjoy every second of this.

Here's a few photos of the evening:










(I also got a few autographs after the game, but I'll be posting those on my memorabilia blog, Not Pulled From Packs, when we get back home).