Bust out your peanuts and pick up your Cracker Jacks because spring training has finally made its way back to the Valley.
Baseball fans from across the country make their way to Arizona to see the teams up close. Along with watching some great matchups, some fans also head to the ballpark to get an autograph from their favorite players. From baseballs to trading cards, getting signatures from MLB's biggest stars is a hot commodity, and spring training gives fans a unique opportunity to grab a special piece of sports memorabilia.
But even though your chances of getting that autograph you're looking for are increased during spring training, there are some things you can do to improve your odds even more.
So before you head out to the stadium, take a look at these five tips help you on your autograph hunt.
If you want to improve your chances at getting that coveted autograph, don't forget your manners and be respectful. These athletes are constantly bombarded by shouting fans, crazy hecklers and inquisitive reporters, so stand out from the crowd and always use their last name.
For example, don't shout, "Paul, Paul, Paul!" Instead, go with, "Mr. Goldschmidt, can you sign my baseball?"
Get there early
The best time to try and get signatures during the Cactus League is a couple hours before the game and during pre-game warm-ups. Many of the players take a moment to chat with fans in-between drills. Players are also more accommodating and may even stop for a selfie or two.
As far as location goes, the best spot to find players are near the third- or first-base outfield lines or by the dugout.
It's very important to make sure you have everything you need to get your must-have autograph. For baseball signatures, ballpoint pens work best. If you want to get a photo, hat or jersey signed, your go-to is a Sharpie marker.
Don't forget to bring extra pens in different colors. Dark markers work best for light surfaces and vice versa. If I have a dark jersey I need signed, my preference is a gold or silver Sharpie.
Do your homework
No one enjoys doing homework on spring break, but a little research goes a long way. If you know Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Tuffy Gosewisch played baseball at Arizona State University, then chatting about the Sun Devils is a great conversation starter. Talking about little facts like this show players you're more than just a casual fan.
Have a variety
Another useful tip is to bring several different items to have the players sign. While you may only get one item signed per player, having a variety of memorabilia just in case can be a lifesaver. I try to bring along a baseball, hat, pennant, bat or trading cards whenever I head to a game.
Plus, your collection will look a lot cooler if you have a bunch of different pieces signed.
Follow these tips and you will have a great chance at going home with a new souvenir. Do you have any additional tips and tricks for getting autographs? Share them with us on our Facebook page or on our Twitter feed using #BeOn12.