The USA Baseball facility is a great little gem for local baseball fans in the Raleigh-Durham area. Surprisingly not many people seem to go there, or even know that the facility exists in Cary which is in between the two largest points in the triangle. It's about a ten minute drive from my house in Apex depending on the traffic lights on NC-55. This is a look at the gates to the stadium where you can catch some great amateur baseball. UNC actually used this facility a few years back when they were remodeling their baseball stadium on campus.
I recently saw a promotion on the USA Baseball Facebook page for an autograph appearance for Rays pitcher and local good guy Chris Archer. I saw Archer pitch earlier during the baseball season for the Durham Bulls, but he spent a large portion of the season with the Rays winning 9 games and garnering consideration for the American League Rookie of the Year award. I managed to convince my wife to come along for the ride to snag an autograph for her brother, which also meant that I got to bring my three year old son too. I came with two baseballs and a Durham Bulls baseball card in-hand for Archer to autograph.
Archer arrived promptly and was really friendly with the fans who turned out to wait in line for his autograph. We arrived about fifteen minutes ahead of the scheduled time and were about tenth in line. Archer has a great signature and personalized the items for each person. He asked for names and favorite teams and fans came away with some great autographs. Here's my autograph:
Archer signed my baseball in blue pen on the sweet spot. He asked for my name when I got to the table and he personalized the side signing a note: "Thanks for the support" I mentioned I was a Durham Bulls fan.
Since my son came along I gave him a card so he could be apart of the action. He's a pretty busy three year old, so waiting in line at the beginning was a little bit rough. However, once we started moving he did alright. When he got up to the table he handed Chris Archer his card and told him his name. He gave him a good autograph on a Pro Debut Durham Bulls card and Cooper (my son) managed to give him a "Thank (Sounds like Kank) you Mr Archer". He ended up with a little finger in the sharpie marker afterwards, but it's a great story for his first autograph.
The best autograph of the bunch however went to my wife who tagged along to pick up an autograph for her brother who is starting out in the world of baseball memorabilia. She was happy to get the ball personalized to him, but also dropped in that he might be a Tigers fan. Archer signed the ball on the sweet spot in blue ink.....
and then also gave him a great inscription on the side of the ball.....
Overall, this was a great signing to attend. USA Baseball did a great job of hosting the event and I was really happy that Chris Archer took time out of his off season to spend some time signing for fans. My Chris Archer ball is proudly going to find a good spot somewhere on my shelf of Durham Bulls goodies in my man cave and will be a treasured keepsake in my collection. Really cool event and well worth the time to meet Mr. Archer. Thank you!