So I’ve been on Twitter, and I follow a few sports writers. My friend Aaron also follows a couple of the same sportswriters, and we’ve been keeping unrecorded score of who gets responses from the sportswriters. I think unofficially I’m in the lead because I notched Peter King, but everything is unrecorded. Monday the heavily twittering duo of ESPN (Mortensen and Schefter) were concluding their training camp bus tour with the Saints. My grand plan involved somehow meeting them and persuading them to tweet to my friend Aaron. It didn’t matter what it was really, just that he got it. In my scheming mind it would be a photo of me with one of them with “wish you were here @am_mgmt” or something.
Since I was going to training camp, I took along my copies of the books from Sean Payton and Drew Brees that I just received last week. Players and coaches sign autographs after practice, and even though I’m not a big autograph guy, it would be cool to have them sign their books. I figured if for some reason they signed after practice, I’d give it a shot. I got there about 20 minutes after practice started and snapped a few photos. After practice was over, I stood over where the players were signing autographs. Other players like Reggie Bush signed, but no Brees or Payton. I waited around, but no results, so I started walking back to my car.
The ESPN buses were parked outside of the practice fields on the way to my car. Since I had shown up later, I had to park in a Zephyr Field lot. It wasn’t a big deal, it was better than parking across Airline Hwy. I saw there were about 15 people waiting at the buses, so I figured maybe Mort and Schefter would come out and talk to people. Here was my chance! People were walking around the buses, taking pictures, holding the ESPN mic that had been left on one of the chairs, etc. Then some sheriff’s deputies showed up and shooed us back away from the buses. Good thing I had already taken a few pictures.
It was cool seeing the stickers and what people had signed in person after seeing it on TV and reading about it.
So I’m in this group of people who have been herded a safe distance away from the broadcasting equipment, when all of a sudden Drew Brees comes walking out of the Saints office building with some PR people. He comes right over to the group of people, but I didn’t have my book or Sharpie ready. By the time I had my book ready he was on a bus to film an interview. Then, Sean Payton gets off a bus, and walks across the parking lot. Luckily I was standing with people who are REALLY into autographs, so they were the ones yelling “Coach! HEY COACH, could we get an autograph, there’s only a few of us over here!” Sure enough, my buddy Sean came over and signed autographs. I figured, I was standing there, I might as well get my book signed. Someone had brought a gold Sharpie to get his poster or something signed, so then that pen ended up being used for all 8 or 10 things, including my book, so I have my book signed by Sean Payton in gold Sharpie. What up.
So back to the waiting. A lot of the people left, and there were only three other guys and me waiting. I still figured Brees would come off the bus, and the ESPN guys would be available to shoot the breeze (HA!). I stood under a tree in the shade while the others stood in the middle of the parking lot. All of a sudden, Brees exits the bus and walks over to the few people left. I had my book ready and he signed it. We all thanked him. I figured, NOW is the time, but no. After Brees left the bus, then Saints owner Tom Benson and a couple of other people got on to do interviews or something. ‘That’s it!’, I thought, and I walked back to my car. On my way back to my car, I called Aaron and left a VM telling him what all happened. I genuinely went over to the buses to talk to the ESPN guys, but walked away with two autographed books. It ended up being a pretty incredible Monday morning.