Monday, January 28, 2013
2013 Dodgers Fan Fest
This past Saturday the Dodgers held their first ever pre-season Fan fest and even though I was one of the fortunate ones compared to what most people have reported on the Dodgers have a lot to learn and they still were doing mistakes from last year's in season fan fest.
As stated from many sources the gates to the stadium were supposed to open up around 10:00 in the morning to start the line for the Fan Fest. The wife decided to come along and spend time with her crazy autograph hunting husband since I wasn't planning to show up any earlier than 9:45. Well once we arrived we noticed that the gates were already open and that a line had already formed and from our estimate it was about 800 or so deep with people. Talking to some people, a lot of people that were allowed to come into the park early to get tickets for the upcoming season just used that reason and started a line for the Fan Fest and skipped the tickets. Had my wife stay in line and decided to go to the front and talk to someone in authority and this is were I was one of the fortunate few. As a season ticket holder we were allowed to jump out of the 800 line to a much smaller line that was no more than 45 deep once we got there. Even with that good luck things still turned ugly as no one knew exactly how this was going to be run once in the actual autograph area. Like last year there were 8 tables lined up and no one knew were anyone was going to sit and sign. Unlike most I didn't need Kemp so I didn't have to deal with that line but I wanted Zach Greinke, Mark McGwire and Ryu the most. Luckly Greinke and McGwire were in the first session and being 45th in line and only 5 players signing to start out the day I thought I had a good chance of getting both and for sure at least one. I split from my wife and had her go the other side of the stage and I stayed in line 2 on the other side. Geinke came out and went to line 1 and I found from her that she was in the Ethier line. Didn't really need him but I would take him on a team ball. There was no one signing in my line and even though I was 10th in line I jumped out and went to line 1 as I really wanted Greinke and I went from 10th in line to about 75 but knowing how many autographs a player can do in a hour I didn't worry about not getting it. Once in line I was informed that McGwire was the signer in the line that I left to get into Greinke's line. D A M N I T.... That's what I get for moving. So I texted the wife and had her move to McGwire's line so I can get two of the three I really wanted for the day. She made it over to the line but she was at least 60 deep and it was 11:30ish which meant he was only on stage for another 30 minutes or so. I was getting close to Greinke and I had noticed he was side paneling some people. Nothing more annoying that side paneling when you don't want it. Got up to him and said hello and welcome to the team. Didn't even look up to me and didn't acknowledge my greeting or presence. He did sign on the sweet spot though which is a plus. I have heard from many reports that Zack is an "interesting" person so to speak and I was half expecting some non traditional response from him. I don't need someone to bend over backwards for me but a pleasant thank you or hi would have been appreciated. Obviously he is nothing like Kemp. Well at least I got the ball signed and don't have to worry about getting another from him.
Well I hopped out of the line and looked for my wife as it was now give or take 11:45 and noticed she was about 10 from the the front and thought no problem and thankfully that was true. What was funny is that I was standing off to the side waiting for her and once she walked up and gave him the ball McGwire asked her "anywhere" and I am yelling from the side "sweet spot" just when he said "sweet spot" and she said yes.
So I got two of the ones I really wanted but looked around and it was just a major clusterf***. I heard that people now had to have wristbands to get autographs and season ticket holders had to leave and come back. There was no way I was going to do that and I looked around and the lines were just getting crazy. I thought about staying a little longer but my wife was a great trooper and helped me acquire an autograph I wanted. She is not really into the craziness of all this and I can understand that. I said thank you to her and said let's roll. I had my two autographs, people were getting crazier and I am heading out to AZ in 3 weeks so I will get more there.
As we left to go over the the Food Truck Circle and do a food crawl the Dodgers GM Ned Colletti was milling around so I thought why not and get one more autograph and this one I wouldn't have to stand in line for 3 hours to get. Walked over and he had a crowd of about 30 people and he was very cordial and took pictures with anyone that wanted one. Had him sign my Dodger bat and we moved on to the Food Trucks. We tried a few trucks and we were happy and full and it was time to call it a day. As we left I glanced over and saw the line was still at least a mile long and noticed it was 1:30. I couldn't believe the turn out and people still standing in line and then as we walked towards my car noticed people were still arriving for an event that ended at 5.
Again, thank you Dodgers for putting on a free Fan Fest but the next time you do this it needs to be a lot better organized and run. I'm sure you are happy that 21,000+ people showed up for an off season event but other than people that do this a lot like I do there were too many people that left disappointed and no autographs to show for their time.