I have been receiving autographs here for the past 4 years. In my time, I have gotten Jeremy Guthrie, Ivan Rodriguez, Brian Roberts, Aubrey Huff, Luke Scott, Ramon Hernandez, and many more by doing so.
Since I have been doing this for 4 years, I know 3 different locations. However, before I get to them, let me talk about the basics.
1) Have with you no matter where you are at any time during a day you are seeking autographs at the ballpark a writing utensil and something for them to sign.
- - Writing utensils vary. If you have a photo, hat, batting helmet, or bat for them to sign, use a sharpie that will show. I recommend a blue sharpie for photos, black for light colored hats, gold/silver for dark color hats, blue for a light color bat, and silver/gold for a dark colored bat. Never, ever, ever, EVER use a sharpie on an Official Major League Baseball. It runs and the autograph looks like crap after a while. Also, do not use gel pens. They smear and look terrible. Use a ball point pen that is easy to use. I like black, but blue looks good too.
I made a rookie mistake a few games ago. I went to walk down a little bit while my friend watched my stuff. I walked right passed Yankees manage Joe Girardi. By time I was able to run and get my stuff, I was too late. Don't do what I did.
2) KNOW THE PLAYERS. You don't want to be caught not knowing who the player is. If you call out "Mr. Markakis!" and it is actually Brian Roberts, you are definetly not getting an autograph.
- - If you are planning to go before a game where they are in street clothes... STUDY! Bring baseball cards or any form of picture for each player and coach. If you are going for pre-game batting practice, print out a roster the night before from the team's official team site. Batting practice uniforms do not have their names on the back, just the numbers. Also, this comes in handy for the pre-game stretches that happen about 15 minutes before the start of the game. Teams like the Yankees or the Red Sox don't always have names on the back of their jerseys.
3) What you wear could make or break your chances. If you want to stoop as low as wearing a jersey of a team just to have a better chance at an autograph. I have never done this and most likely never will.
- - However, this strategy is very affective. I have seen two Yankee fans who were KIDS get turned down from autographs from Jeremy Guthrie. The kids were wearing Yankees shirts and hats. He said "Derek Jeter and A-Rod will be here soon." I always was personally turned down because of this. Jim Thome, who is known as one of the nicest players in all of MLB, turned me down. I asked him for an autograph before a game and he turned and looked at me, then left. I believe it is because I was wearing an Orioles hat and shirt. However, I have seen this work to my benefit. The last game I went to, I was watching BP while Aubrey Huff was standing in the outfield talking to the trainers. I pulled out my "Huff Daddy" sign, and held it up. Another player saw it, threw Aubrey a ball, who threw it to me. I then asked him to sign one for me and he said yea and told me to throw it to him. I did, he signed it, then threw it back. So, signs help for individual players.
4) Make sure you ask nicely. Use your manners. "Sir, Can I have your autograph?" "Mr. __________ will you sign?" "Will you sign sir?" They all work.
Now onto the locations of where to get autographs at Camden Yards.
I will put them in the order of the time you would have to get there.
#1- Outside the front entrance of the stadium.
For this you don't even need a ticket to the game. However, for a 7:05 game, you have to get there around 10 AM. For a day game, 8 AM. Be prepared for a long day in the Baltimore summer heat. It is a major waiting game that involves fast movement. You may have to run to get the autograph you want.
^^ This is where the players must enter. You can see the people waiting for their autographs^^
- - The home team (Orioles) pulls up in their cars and park into the players' lot that is surrounded by a cage. However, if you see a player in his care through his tinted windows, run to the cage. See where he parks. If he parks by a wall of the cage, go run to that side of the catch and reach your ball over. But remember, stay OUTSIDE the cage. Doing this, I have gotten Corey Patterson and John Shelby.
- - The visiting players either come in a taxi, private SUV taxi or just come out of no where walking. If they come in taxi, they HAVE TO walk to the main doors. You can then approach them for their autographs; just give him space to walk. I have seen Ivan Rodriguez, Chase Utley, Alex Rodriguez, and Tony Pena all arrive in a taxi and walk to the doors. If they come in a private SUV taxi, they pull up to the underground area where only players are allowed. As of this year, A-Rod does that. However, regular yellow taxis are NOT allowed to do that. But, sometimes they do. I have seen players just show up out of no where on foot. Relievers Billy Traber and Brian Bruney have done so this year. Some visiting players have their own car and park in the players lot (refer to the first bullet). Mariano Rivera has done so this year.
- - A rule for this and just about any place you are getting autographs- bring a friend. You can watch each other stuff as one runs for an autograph. Also, some players pull up in the front of the warehouse. If you trust your friend enough, give him some of your stuff and take some of his and split up. One person stands by the front entrance and the other in front of the warehouse.
^^ Players also arrive here. Note, they arrive closer to the warehouse^^
- Using these methods, I have gotten autographs from Ken Singleton, John Shelby, Corey Patterson, Ivan Rodriguez, Miguel Cairo, Brian Bruney, Billy Traber, Freddie Bynum, Chase Utley, and more.
2. Batting Practice & Pre-Game
- The Baltimore Orioles begin to take batting practice at 4:30 for 7:05 games and stop at 5:30. The visiting team then takes their batting practice from 5:30 to 6:30. Entrance to the ballpark starts at 5 for a 7:05 game or 2 hours before any other start time. However, if you do not have a season ticket, you are not allowed beyond Eutaw Street into the third/first baseline. However, you can still get autographs from the bleachers from players in the outfield. However, it is much easier to get them behind home plate where they are within 5 feet of you.
^That is NOT a Season Ticket. ^
To tell if you have a season ticket, just look at the ticket. The biggest give away is that the season tickets are printed in color. The single game seats are printed in gray and black. Also, just read the ticket. It says "Season Ticket" on most. They do check if you try to go down the baselines. If you do not have a season ticket, you cannot get down there until 5:30 but you can still hang in the bleachers.
- - If you are able to go down the baselines, by all means, do so. I would say 99% of the Orioles players are very nice and love the fans. If you are down there early and there is only 10 other people in site, they will sign. All you have to do is ask. Where you stand is simple. Stand above the dugout on the first baseline. They have to walk into the dugout to get their bats, helmets, gloves, etc. Also, move to where the player is. For example, Luke Scott was talking to his family behind home plate by the protective net on a game I was there. I simply just walked up to the screen and asked. He walked over and signed it and was very nice. Since there isn't a big crowd, use it to your advantage. Move around.
- - After the Orioles finish BP, they will not be back out until the visitors finish their batting. So, go over to the opposite side of the field and do the same thing. I recommend not standing above that dugout; but standing in the front row closest to the dugout. That way, you will not have to move for the pre-game warm-ups unless you want to stand on the Orioles side then you would have to move back to the 1st baseline.
- - After their batting practice is over, they will disappear into the locker room and appear roughly 15 minutes before the game's scheduled start. They will then stretch and take some swings. Sometimes, if they have time, they will sign then. Usually by then, it's a bit more crowded.
- - Once the game starts, the players will not sign. So just sit back and enjoy the Orioles' loss.
- - Doing these methods, I have gotten autographs from Daniel Cabrera, Aubrey Huff, Luke Scott, and more.
#3- Post Game
- - The same place that was mentioned first, outside the front office, is where you will end up at the end of the day. The players must leave to go home. Orioles' autographs are what you are 99% likely to catch here. There is still that 1% chance of getting a visiting player waiting for a taxi or an opposing broadcaster. Same rules apply here as #1. However, at the pitch black of night, you can hardly see the player in his car until he is close to you. So it is hard to run down a player. However, I can just about tell you that one out of every two times you stay after, Brian Roberts will sign. He always is signing after games.
- - Using this method I have gotten autographs from Brian Roberts, Jay Gibbons, Sammy Sosa, Rodrigo Lopez, Ramon Hernandez, Larry Bigbie, and many more.
So, as you see, there is many ways to get autographs at Camden Yards. Use this as your guide anytime you go to the Yards.