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Mat Latos’s Wife Stirs Emotions with Comments on Autograph Collectors

A post on Dallas Latos’s So I Married a Baseball Player… blog in which she shares her perspective on autograph collectors has sparked an emotional dialogue with the autograph community. In the article, the wife of Reds pitcher Mat Latos is critical of “eBayers” and those who obtain autographs outside visiting teams hotels.

The response from collectors has been spirited but mixed. Most share Dallas’s annoyance with the aggressive behavior of those who obtain autographs for financial gain and agree with her call for better etiquette among autograph seekers (myself included).

However, I’ve observed three points of contention in the post. The first is Dallas’s categorization of in person collectors who wait at hotels for autograph opportunities as “yucky” and identifies “almost all” of them as eBayers. The validity of her opinion can’t be argued—it’s her own and she gives examples of negative experiences which would lead most anyone to label these individuals as such. In my experience, however, most in person collectors act with civility and respect. Like many hobbyists who wait on public sidewalks in front of hotels and do not sell autographs, I deal with the frustration of being stereotyped unfairly as a dealer based on the actions of the loud minority Dallas describes.

Next, many collectors’ experiences attempting to get Mat Latos’s autograph appear to be at odds with how Dallas positions her husband as a willing signer. I can’t comment on this from first-hand experience as I’ve never met Mat but the perception of him as a very difficult signature to obtain is overwhelming. I would love the opportunity to interview Mat about his signing rules and experiences with autograph collectors.

The third point that has sparked debate is the issue of privacy in public settings. There will forever be a variance in the definition of what constitutes private time when a ballplayer is away from the park. There are some universal rules like approaching players with family or while eating dinner, but other situations fall into a grey area. Many fans and collectors alike think that being approached for an autograph in public spaces comes with choosing a public profession (e.g., professional athlete). Again, Dallas’ perspective as a family member is understandable and, to her credit, she outlines an example of when it is ok to approach a ballplayer in public.

Comments on Dallas’s blog are being moderated by a member of the Cincinnati Reds organization and it’s yet to be approved so I’m posting it below:

Dallas, you make some valid observations here and I appreciate your perspective. No one can argue that the commercialization of autographs has had a negative impact on the hobby of autograph collecting and strained the relationships between players and fans.

Autograph collecting is permission-based (unlike, say the paparazzi) and every celebrity has a right to decline while still being treated with a level of courtesy we would extend to anyone in our daily lives. In the wake of being turned down, collectors are only endangering subsequent opportunities (for themselves and others) by being disrespectful.

As an autograph collector and someone who does obtain them outside hotels (NOTE: I have never sold an autograph), I was glad to see that you qualified your comments by saying “almost all” of those outside hotels were eBayers. While I think that percentage is high, I understand where the perception comes from. That said, it is frustrating to many collectors to be stereotyped as dealers by celebrities and those around them. While it’s difficult to differentiate oneself from another based purely on appearance, I think the true hobbyists can make progress through their actions. My own “rules” include often asking for personalizations, getting one item signed at a time, and behaving in a civil manner (it seems obvious, doesn’t it?).

On the flip side, I think players such as Mat can encourage this behavior not by refusing to sign, but by limiting their signing to one item per person and/or personalizing. In 6+ years of in person autograph collecting, my experience is that dealers react to being denied by being even more aggressive and creative in how they create opportunities which, from your perspective, leads to situations that can be even more uncomfortable. Remember that their motives are financial which can produce acts of desperation.

I hope the symbiotic relationship between players and fans can improve and lead to increasingly positive experiences for both parties.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Matt Raymond
Autograph University

I encourage you to leave a comment on my post and contribute your thoughts to the discussion.

About the author: is the founder of Autograph University. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons. Connect with him on Twitter at @mattraymond.

10 comments… add one

  • Sal March 20, 2012, 9:39 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IHwifw8OTU

    This was at the park not the hotel

  • Matt Raymond March 20, 2012, 9:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing Sal, hadn’t seen that before.

  • Sal March 22, 2012, 10:35 pm

    i saw on twitter u got a signed dirk hayhurst book how did u get it

  • Matt Raymond March 23, 2012, 9:08 am

    Hey Sal, Dirk signed a bunch of books at The Learned Owl Book Shop (http://www.learnedowl.com/). Give them a call–they may have some left.

  • Quang September 3, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Mat’s notorious out here in the bay area. There were incidents of him mumbling under his lips about how graphers here in San Francisco are “fags” and how he doesn’t sign for “fags”. I don’t know if knocking the Padres out of the postseason in 2010 left a sour after taste but its never an excuse-no matter what level of competition you’re on. I’ve lost all respect for this guy.

  • Edmund July 22, 2013, 6:59 am

    I know I’m a little late to the party here, and Latos has apparently come back down to earth since going to the Reds, but he is easily the rudest and most immature player I’ve ever seen. I live in San Antonio, and he played AA here for one season. The whole season, he signed one thing for me, which would have been fine, but a few weeks later when i asked him again to sign the only other card of him i had, he cussed me out saying he’s “already signed 20 things” for me. I never tried for or even spoke to him again, but the next week he was charting a game in the stands (very small crowd) and i was sitting the next section over. During the second inning i briefly made eye contact with him and then looked away. He finished writing something down, jumped up, and disappeared into the clubhouse. A few minutes later i was approached by 3 police officers and told to leave the stadium or I’d be arrested for harassing him.

    And that’s not even the worst of it.

    One night after game ashe was walking to the parking lot, 4 or 5 very young kids (8 years old at the most) asked him to sign their tickets. He signed, but stood there cussing at each and every one of them. Bad enough the parents called team management (who did nothing). I actually had a talk with manager Terry Kennedy about this, and he told me I’m not the first and he’d do something about him.

    I never met Dallas, but i did meet Mat’s parents. And, lets just say, I know where he gets it from.

  • liza October 22, 2013, 5:15 pm

    just curious, where did you meet them at?

  • jacobp October 2, 2013, 9:51 am

    this is video from him signing out side at nats park

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CLwj5vKxRQ

    went on for about 3 mins was kinda funny

  • Matt Raymond October 3, 2013, 9:42 am

    Glad to see he’s signing.

  • liza October 22, 2013, 5:16 pm

    just curious, where did you meet them at?

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