I've gone a while between posts. The Phillies are no longer in first but they aren't out of it. Harper is still hitting well but Hoskins is done for the year which is a big blow to the team. Who knows still might catch the Braves!
For those that read the blog, I had the incredible fortune to get my hands on a VIP Transcendent ticket to meet Bryce Harper and go to the event in Philly. I was able to purchase the ticket in July off of a member on Blowout because he couldn't go when they changed the date a few times because of covid.
I arrived at the hotel in good time. I valeted the car and went to check in. I was hoping it was real and they had my name (Topps did confirm on an email but hey you never know). I was greeted warmly and got the room key..
My one of a kind Harper room key. I was in the heart of Philly which was cool and about a 3 minute walk to Reading Terminal Market where they were holding the event. I was up on the 17th floor, which doesn't make a difference to me can't sleep well in hotels anyway! I got ready for the event. It called for business casual so I had to wear a button down and pants and not athletic shoes. I've spent most of the last year wearing gym shorts to work since I work at home for now. I quickly realized I left my dress shoes in the car. I went back down to the valet asked them to grab them out of the front seat and then went back up.
I arrived about a half hour early cause I wanted to be sure I wasn't late. Found the place without an issue (really was a short walk). They wouldn't let anyone in until they were finished setting up. Spent that half hour talking to some of the people that were going into the event with me. It was baseball card chatter nirvana. Lots of fanatics talk since that was dominating the news cycle. Lots of stories of what was sold for crazy high prices in the pandemic. The market correction, all fun stuff.
They let us in and check your ticket and give you a wrist band. The whole place was shut down except for this event which was pretty cool. Never seen Reading Terminal so empty (for those that don't know Reading Terminal Market has a ton of different eateries that you can buy from and is a popular Philly eating destination) There was an cocktail hour where there was waiters and waitresses offering all sorts of foods. Cheesesteaks, shrimp, etc,. I love cocktail hours so I ate a good bit of it. The bar was open for any beer or non alcoholic drink you wanted.
Here's the Itinerary:
I treated myself to 3-4 or Stellas. The cocktail hour food was very good. They had about a box or 2 of random Series 2 and 2020 Update packs (Harper is on the wrapper) strewn about some tables. I grabbed 2 packs and actually hit a nice card.
A Clayton Kershaw relic! The other pack had a Jonathan Villar Rainbow foil if you are interested. After chatting with some people, they announced that Harper would be coming to the stage soon and to grab a seat.
Here is the stage --
They had about 90 chairs or so on either side of that pillar. There was not that many people there though. Blowout cards had 32 tickets and they did not send 32 reps. There was probably closer to 55-60 people there. It was very cool and very intimate setting. I sat front row. Before Harper came out, Topps raffled off 3 boxes. I didn't win but that's ok. A series 2 box, an inception box and a museum collection box. I had already hit the Kershaw relic so I was already a winner! (and I was there)
Just to give an idea, I did not zoom in --
He was maybe 15 feet or so away. The Q and A, I thought was run really well. Topps started the conversation with some questions and then opened it up to the crowd. It lasted at least an hour, maybe slightly longer. I got to ask 2 questions myself. My first question I said "Mr. Harper (everyone else was calling him Bryce) I'm not a big guy so I won't be hitting any Home runs in the major league, what does that feel like?" He was very courteous with every answer and made sure to make eye contact with whomever answered the question. The 2nd question I asked was regarding how hyped he was when he was 16 years old and how that has shaped his career. He went into pretty good detail on how that's helped him deal with different things and learn how to act as he matured. I was already a fan before the Q and A but I am more of a fan now. He really just wants to win. Someone did ask about his free agency period and the biggest thing to him was he was not interested in any opt outs. He really wanted to sign a contract and be somewhere for a long time. He said in Washington all they talked about for 6 years was where he was going to go and he didn't want that chatter anymore (paraphrasing).
After the Q and A we went back to our seats and they called each table 1 by 1 for a photo op and Harper hands you an autographed Transcendent card.
This is a 9 card rookie set made just for the party. It's numbered to 95. I haven't opened it yet.