GLENDALE, Ariz. – A linked chain of metal fences line the dirt paths at Camelback Ranch, separating fans from the players and coaches who walk from field to field. Most of the players probably don’t need the protection. Demand for autographs is high but the fervor is usually calm. Remember, there are 61 players in camp. Most won’t start the season in the majors, and none of them are Matt Kemp. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly gets his share of autograph requests too, but he’s not exactly fending off the pens and baseballs and hats.
The man who needs the metal fences the most is a slender 79-year-old who lives in rural Pennsylvania. Sandy Koufax, the Hall of Fame pitcher-turned-”special advisor,” is here all week — advising, watching, chatting. Sometimes he signs autographs.
Koufax is not expected to arrive today until later in the morning, maybe noon local time. That — and intermittent rain throughout the morning — did not stop Koufax fans from lining up behind the fence at 5 a.m.
Here’s what the line looked like by 9:30:
We think this story ends with Koufax signing autographs for some of those people, and not signing for others.
That’s how it usually ends at least. If not … updates throughout the day.