The Kershaws appeared at a Ralphs, and thankfully I have a great friend in DodgerBobble, because without him I may not have had the opportunity to meet Clayton for a second time. I had originally planned on going to the book signing at The Grove, but had decided against that due to an unknown parking situation (I hate parking with an intense passion). I was then going to hit up the appearance Clayton and Ellen were making at a church in Gardena. I received a text from DB Sunday morning informing me that Kid K's promoter was expecting 2000 people in Gardena, while the Porter Ranch appearance - scheduled from 1:00-3:00 - featured about fifteen people at eleven in the morning. Needless to say, I raced into overdrive, and left my house at 12:13. I made it all the way up the 405 and to Ralphs just after quarter to one. By the time I arrived, there were about 30-40 people in line, so I found DB and Teresa, said hey, and grabbed a copy of Clayton's book. DB and Teresa introduced me to Scott from Lasorda's Lair while I waited in line, and we chatted for a bit. It was then that I decided to grab a second copy of Arise, what with the $11.73 price tag (with the Ralphs Rewards Card discount; I was originally willing to pay $25 for the book) cheaper than I had anticipated. I struggled picking a second inscription after quickly deciding on the "2011 NL Cy Young" you see above, and debated back and forth with myself until finally settling on the below "Dodgers # 1".
Clayton was his usual kind self, and he's an extremely easy athlete to chat with. As I stepped up to the table, he commented on my shirt, which read "Once a Dirtbag, Always A Dirtbag," an homage to the great baseball team of my current educational institution, Long Beach State. I said that I was attending Grad School there, and Ellen congratulated me on that. I joked with Clayton that picking the second inscription was tough, and mentioned one I had considered, which got a rise out of him. I got a picture with the happy husband and wife, and was on my way and out of the Ralphs sometime around 1:30ish. I hung around with DB, Teresa, and Scott, as DB hoped to get outside items signed, but was unfortunately unable to as only the book was eligible for Clayton's John Hancock.
The line quickly died down, and it was criminally short the entire afternoon. I mean, it's Clayton Kershaw, for heaven's sake. Yeah, there were other events to go to, but still. It must have been nice for KKKKKKKKKershaw not to have to sign for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people, though of course you could buy as many books as you wanted, so he probably signed his name hundreds of times in the end. Waiting around after grabbing the pair of books led me to a realization: for just under twelve bucks, why not get another? I'm not going to get this opportunity handed to me on a golden platter all that often, with no one in line to meet Kersh. I bought another, and went for the inscription I had mentioned to Clayton a few minutes before, the one that got a laugh from him. And damn, was it ever worth it.
That's right. Who has two thumbs, a huge smile on his face, and is the only person on the planet with a Clayton Kershaw autograph with a sick inscription that reads "Texas Two-Step!"? This happy guy, that's who. Why this inscription, you ask? Well, Clayton is from Texas, and it was one of the first things to pop into my slightly crazed mind as I stood in line. Also, I knew it would be unique, and just thought it was funny in general.
When I went back to get the third book signed, Clayton recognized me, and I joked that I justified buying the third book because I also bought a fourth, which has a special purpose. Clayton said he couldn't Texas Two-Step, to which I replied that he still had plenty of time to learn, but certainly had more impressive and important skills to give to the world. I snagged another picture with the young couple, and was off and on my way home around 2:00-2:15. When we all departed, there was basically no line. Again, a shame, but it certainly benefited us.
All in all, a tremendous morning and early afternoon, as I was fortunate enough to meet one of my favorite players and snag three awesome autographs I will cherish forever, with three great inscriptions and a truly unique, one-of-a-kind inscription to top it off. On a side note, I just realized that Mrs. Kershaw signed "E Kershaw" twice and "Ellen Kershaw" once. There's really no point I'm making beyond the fact that it took me this long (well over a day) to realize that. Anyhoo, I need to first and foremost thank Clayton and Ellen Kershaw for all of the great work they do in Africa, and for being willing to sit down for a few hours and meet their fans. Ralphs and Clayton's promoters deserve a boatload of credit for running a smooth and extremely efficient signing. And last, but certainly not least, another huge thanks to DodgerBobble for letting me know how short the line was and how cheap the book was, because without your help my good friend, I wouldn't be able to write this here post.