The day finally came! I waited patiently for a month for this day, on which I would get a chance to meet two of the greatest current players that the Brewers can put in the outfield. Nori Aoki and Ryan Braun did a public signing in Mequon at Legends of the Field, and the turnout was HUGE! Aoki was scheduled for 10AM, but with Legends opening at 8, I figured I should get there early just in case. I’m glad I did. I hung out in the shop with Nick Lantz, the Store Director for the Mequon location. Nick was busy, but kept the line flowing. People were still coming in to buy new tickets, to pick up merch bought off the internet and over the phone, and to peruse the hundreds of autographed pieces in the shop. Tables were set out with baseballs, pictures, helmets and display cases, and all would be gone by the end of the day. Cookies and coffee were provided, however this would not be the place to be in a while. As pictured, the lines were formed in a huge open vacant retail space, next door to Legends. This was the best way to accommodate the masses coming to spend a minute with their Brewers baseball heroes.
Aoki was up first, and I had a ball I wanted signed pretty badly. It was a 2009 WBC game-used ball from the USA vs Japan game in which he played. Nori was very courteous to the fans, and graciously signed everything we brought to him. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of pictures of Nori, for I was meeting up with Superfan Handy Jay Scott Mack Jr who was deciding what to get signed. He settled on a Big Stick bat he bought from Nick at the store. Nice choice, Handy Jay! People were already waiting for Braun before Aoki was done, as were we. Sandwiches were provided for a light snack in between signings, but the buzz of excitement was still in the air. When Braun showed up, there was some applause and the signing was underway. I bounced back and forth in line between Jay (who was getting a mini cutout of Braun signed) and other folks with unique canvases and other pieces. Everyone leaving that table was beaming, happy as can be with meeting the all-star in person. Some of the better pieces of memorabilia would be bases, helmets, and life-size canvases. What really excited me was how Braun was interacting with the fans. He took time to shake EVERYONE’S hand, regardless of age or who was getting what signed, was very polite, and said thank you with a smile after every signature. I even saw him leave a voicemail for a girl who was having a birthday and couldn’t make it to the signing. Now THAT, in my book, is a class act!
During the signing I kept noticing Jason Sarchet going in and out of the back room, so I went to do some investigating. He showed me the stuff that people sent in to get signed because they couldn’t make it in person. All I can say is WOW! Check out the pictures from the room posted below:
It makes you realize that what you see up front is only half of what Braun is here to do. Interacting with fans in person is paramount, but he makes sure those less fortunate can get that coveted scribble with the little #8 after it as well. I myself didn’t have the chance to get my 2009 All-Star ball signed, but plan on talking to Ryan at the ballpark to see if he will still take care of me. All in all, this was a huge success for Legends of the Field, and I pray that they will be able to get Ryan and Aoki back again next year! Next up: Jim Gantner and Scooter Gennett will be at Legends in Greenfield on June 24th. Check out a few more pics from the Braun signing below, and thank you everyone for coming out. Most of all, thank you to Legends of the Field and their staff including Nick, Jason, and Joe Palmisano for giving fans this opportunity. You guys got it figured out!