Story of an 11-year-old autograph hunter
Dylan Jacobsen stood by the security gate looking down the ramp leading into the Philadelphia Phillies players' parking lot. Anytime he sees one of the fancy cars, the 11-year-old makes sure his ballpoint pen is ready. Jacobsen wants an autograph from one his favorite players and hopes this time one will stop.
Jacobsen, who grew up in southern New Jersey, has a growing collection. He doesn't pick one of the World Champions as his favorite, he likes anyone that puts on the red pinstripes.
Some nights, no one stops. The Mercedes, BMW and Lexus just drive off without rolling down their dark tinted window. However, Jacobsen has been out here so often, he knows who is what car and who is most likely to stop.
“I got Jayson Werth the other night," he said. “The announcers like to stop. That was cool the first time, but I want to get Howard or Utley."
Jacobsen's father Mark stands behind a nearby railing smoking a cigarette.
“It's all for him," says the dad who has season tickets in the upper deck. “We stood out here one night on a whim and Pat Burrell signed for him. Apparently, that doesn't happen often, but you can't tell him that."
For three years, they have been standing outside of stadium. It doesn't happen every time they are at a game though because Dylan has school in the early and late part of the season, and sometimes Mark has to work early in the morning.
Right now, Utley is high on his list of players Dylan wants to get. But it's hard to get the All-Star second baseman because not everyone aiming for an autograph is sincere.
Dylan goes home and puts the autograph he got on his baseball card in a binder. He said others try to get pictures or baseballs. He knows those are going to end up on eBay.
“That's not fun," Dylan said. “Why would someone pay for that when you just come out here and get one?"
On this muggy night in Philadelphia, no player stopped for the 15 children waiting with pens and balls clutched in their hands. The Phillies lost their fourth straight in a 7-2 snoozer to the Baltimore Orioles. With some O's fans out there, the players probably found it difficult to be at the ballpark any longer.
Not everyone thought standing outside for the prospect of an autograph was thrilling. One mother complained she spent lots of money on tickets and the least the Phillies could do was stop and sign. Another father lamented that he just wanted to go home and wished his son would give up.
However, little Dylan didn't think about any of that because he has better stories to tell when his patience pays off.