February 2011

Orioles Fanfest 2011. And then some.

Orioles Fanfest 2011 was a BLAST.  To explain why this entry is so long, I’ll
just say this.  For an event scheduled
from 10 AM – 6 PM, we (Zevi and I) left my apartment at about 6:20 in the
morning and got back around 9 PM or so. 
It was one hell of a day.

 

And the reason it took me so long to post this.  Not only did editing the photos, sorting
through things, and writing this up take a while, but I have been dealing with
flu symptoms for over two weeks now, and the persistent migraines are just
killing me.  But, luckily getting over
that nonsense, and on to better things.

 

So, as I said, we left at 6:20.  My place is about a half hour walk from the
Convention Center, but we took the light rail down (about a 10 minute ride) to
avoid sketchy street corners (the sun hadn’t come out yet).  Stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a bite (knew we
wouldn’t really be eating all day) and got to Fanfest by 7.  So what if we were front of the line.  Romeo (top O’s fan you’ll ever meet) was
holding that spot since 5:30, so we joined him.

Starting at the top left going clockwise: Us standing front of the line, Zevi eating, me, Zevi, Stan, Romeo, and the look behind us with no line just yet

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We sat there.  And
stood up.  And walked around.  It was a long, yet entertaining, 3
hours.  Met lots of people.  Stan joined us (another great fan),
eventually our friends Tim and Ben came along (and Tim’s GF and some other
guy).  We heard a lot of comments on the
fact that I was wearing shorts and it was about 20 degrees outside.  Who cares. 
Friend Nick came by to get some tickets from us for him and his
beautiful family.  Brittany came up to… I
actually don’t know why, since she didn’t go in with us (I don’t think).  I don’t remember.  Todd eventually came around 9:30ish and
hopped in line with us.  I saw Dan
Connolly walk by as well.  Not the
Patriots lineman.  We know lotsa people,
and that’s barely it.

The Sun came by with a camera to interview Romeo, but Zevi,
Stan, and I hopped in.  They didn’t
include it in their Fanfest video on the website.  I WONDER WHY. *who’s your favorite Orioles
reporter?*

 

10. O. Clock.  Let’s
go.  We headed in.  Outside, they had passed out pamphlets with a
map of the setup inside along with other details.

2part2.jpg

 

Woohoo.  We were
in.  Oh, note: the first 250 people in
line got a voucher for a free autograph session with Al Bumbry, Brad Bergesen,
Mark Reynolds, and Brendan Harris.  If
you don’t know already, the Orioles charged $15 per table otherwise this year
(for “charity”), so this was a big deal (well, to most people).  After we got the voucher outside, we knew we
could run up to the memorabilia room first upon entrance then go to the line
soon after.  Buck Showalter and Andy
MacPhail spoke for season ticket holders as well at 10:10 (oh yeah, season
ticket holders got in at 10, general public at 11), but we knew everything they
are going to say.  Nothing a logical
intelligent fan doesn’t know already.

Same deal with this photo: Standing in line for the autos, Buck and Andy in their first forum, the table with Harris, Reynolds, Bergy, and Bumby, Tim waiting in line (black jacket with “O’s” on sleeve):

4part7.jpg

 

So we went to the memorabilia room.  I got a hat. 
They had tons of game used stuff there: jerseys, hats, pants, jackets,
bats, baseballs, photos, and more.  Will
share that pic later.  People got
lots.  Zevi got Ronnie Deck’s BP
jersey.  Brittany got some washed up
reliever’s shirt I assume, as always.

 

The rest of the day was a blur. SO MUCH HAPPENED.  The basic summary of the day was: we ran
around and did a lot.  I don’t know the
order of everything, so I’m just doing the rest of this in bullet point form.  It’s HOPEFULLY in order, but a few things may
be scattered.  Don’t yell at me.

 

-The line for the autos we got for free was only a hundred
people or so once we got there, and it took only a short amount of time to get
in.  I got Bumbry on one of his cards
(already have him on a ball, plus a few of his cards) along with Bergesen (same
deal).  Got Reynolds on a ball (he didn’t
have cards) and Harris on a ball and his card. 
Below are (starting top left, go clockwise): Brad Bergesen card, Mark
Reynolds baseball, Brendan Harris baseball, Brendan Harris card.

 

Al Bumbry’s card is on a 4 part photo at the end, just threw
it in there.

 

-There was a line for promotional items.  They were giving away the mini bobbleheads
from last year (when they did the trio of connecting outfielders (Reimold,
Jones, Markakis)), dugout club lunch boxes, Wieters backpacks… Basically, all
of the leftover giveaways.  The line was
at least 300 people at all times throughout the day, so I didn’t wait in it,
especially when I already have all of those items.  Well, I lie. 
I waited in it once when Stan had a spot towards the front, so I joined
him and grabbed a lunch box and a few bobbleheads.  Later, we got more.  That’s another bullet.

 

-Without the ability to hop in and out of different
autograph lines all day, we had to learn more of the map and the other things
to do.  For example, we went up to the
top floor (where the memorabilia room and more was) and played bingo.  They were giving out prizes for winners, and
hell, we were tired.  So, Zevi, Todd, and
I sat down and played some bingo.  Dave
joined in a few minutes after.  They
brought old guys like Dick Hall and Scott McGregor up at times to guest-call
the numbers.  We didn’t win any.  It was rigged, for sure.

Photo: my collection of bingo cards, Zevi playing bingo, 2 shots of Dick Hall guest-calling bingo

4part8.jpg

 

-We met up with Brittany and others at the Starbucks in the
Center, and after I randomly ran off somewhere (I don’t remember), I met up
with them, and we trekked over to Oriole Park. 
As part of Fanfest, fans could take self-guided tours of Oriole Park for
free (funny, because they didn’t check tickets at the door, so technically
anybody could show up at Oriole Park and tour for free).  Best part about it was it included clubhouse
and such, parts not included on the tours during the season.  Though it didn’t include club level and press
box and other spots, I’m okay, since I go to those spots during the
season.  Since it was an open house type
atmosphere, there were only Orioles reps set up throughout the tour to point
you in the right direction under the tunnels and all, but nobody leading
us.  That meant we could go at our own
pace, which would be of course slow to take everything in.  We went all around and absorbed it all.  Pictures will be in another post.  There are a ton.  They are awesome.

 

-All day, they had forums where fans could listen in and
then ask questions.  There were forums
with coaches, media, bloggers, and players. 
And then sorted into groups of players.  One of the only two forums we listened to was one later in the day with the
outfielders (Reimold, Scott, Jones, Markakis, and Pie wasn’t there (hopefully
busy producing 18 Cent)).  It was awesome
hearing them.  Nick actually showed
Markakis that day (he’s not on my top list, kind of annoys me as some people
know).  Jonesy was hilarious as usual
(somebody asked what city he hates the most, and he said “Toronto.  I hate Toronto.  Everything about it.” Most likely in
reference to the whole border ideal last season, but who knows.  Someone brought Twitter up as well.  All in all, he was awesome.).  Luke had a cool beard, and smiled.  Reimold was depressed.  Who knows with him.

Photo: top 2 are of the outfielders talking, bottom is the crowd for that forum:

4part9.jpg

-There was a photo line upstairs where you could pose with
the player there, they would take your picture, and then print it for
free.  Pretty cool.  Too bad I was too stupid to take advantage of
it.  Though when Brittany texted me
telling me Markakis was the player up there, I ran up with Dave, we got in
line, Zevi joined quickly after, and… when there was only one family left in
front of us, Nick left.  And they said no
more players were coming.  Well, that
sucked.  And I complained.  Harassed the guy for a good 5 minutes.  Submitted my official complaint.  Not for me, but the kid in the family in
front of us started crying when Nick left, and it looked so sad, so we yelled
out for Nick to take one more with the kid, even if not us.  We felt really bad.  The time the guy spent arguing with me, Nick
could have posed with the kid and gone. 
But no.  I hope that kid met Nick
at some point.  We really tried for him.

 

-After that photo line stint, Brady Anderson was randomly
signing at this random jersey sales booth. 
So, we dove in line there.

Photo: in line waiting for Brady, Brady signing, Zevi with Brady, me with Brady:

4part10.jpg

-We heard a rumor that the used BP jerseys were on sale (amongst other things), so we ran back, and I bought Alan Dunn’s.  Picture later.

 

-At this time, I was ready to finally sit down after all of
this, so we headed back downstairs because I wanted to get to the bloggers
forum in time.  More on that in a
second.  When we got downstairs, the
forum before the bloggers was still going on, and what else did we see?  The free promos line was practically
empty.  So, we headed over, ran through
the line, and grabbed a few Nick Markakis mini bobbleheads.  Noticing that a) there was nobody left in
line and b) people were grabbing a ton and the Orioles didn’t seem to care
since nobody was in line, we grabbed two tall empty boxes, and went at it.  As I grabbed bobbleheads, Zevi stacked them
in the boxes.  We left, after the filling,
with a good 35-40 bobbleheads in hand.

 

-We headed over to the forum now.  The seating area was half empty by this time
(about 5:00).  We met up with Brittany
and her crew of bullpen-obsessive friends, and distributed bobbleheads to all
of them.  Giving a few away to some other
friends and random people, we still ended up with about 30 in the end.  As the forum ended, Jim Hunter got on stage
and said he was giving away an Orioles hoodie for the person who answered his
trivia question (supposedly, he had been giving one away between each forum
throughout the day).  He then asked, “In
what year did new Orioles reliever Jeremy Accardo lead the Toronto Blue Jays in
saves?” and I jumped up and shouted “HERE!”. 
He turned and pointed to me.  I
yelled out “2007!” and he confirmed that I was correct.  So, I got a hoodie.  Pretty sweet.

-For the last event of Fanfest, and one I was looking
forward to, was the bloggers forum.  I am
a writer for Baltimore Sports Report, and our staff was being represented on
the lineup by writer Jeff Pilson, so that was exciting.  It was also nice to hear the views of the
bloggers, who are not affiliated with the Orioles officially, so they can be
brutally honest with negativity if they so please.

Photo: video board showing the forum title, Jeff Pilson of BSR talking, the line of bloggers on stage (in the wrong order: Chris Stoner from Batimore Sports and Life, Daniel Moroz from Camden Crazies, Neal Shaffer from The Loss Column, James Baker from Orioles Post, Stacey Long from Camden Chat, and Pete Kerzel from MASN Sports), bloggers leaving:

4part11.jpg

-And that was it.  Day.  Over.  And the center emptied out.

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-Did I mention that we got back around 9?  Oh yeah, after Fanfest, and a hike to the
parking lot and some funny happenings (long story), we ended up at the
Baltimore Blast game.  Since our friend
runs the scoreboard, we were able to leave all of our bags and boxes of stuff
with him behind the scenes, and we enjoyed the game from the front row seats we
had.

4part12.jpg

 

We only stayed for the 1st half.  I was dying (4 hours of sleep) and we still
had to carry all the stuff back up to my apartment.  So, with the Blast up like 9 or 10, we headed
out (they ended up winning by 1).

 

We made it back, Zevi got picked up and went home, and I
crashed.

 

And that’s it.  The
day was over.  We brought everything
back, Zevi went home, and I crashed.

 

Spectacular day.

 

Here’s the stuff:

Bergy signed card, Reynolds signed baseball, Harris signed baseball, Harris signed card:

4Part1.jpg

Brady Anderson signed card, Brady signed ball, 2 pics of the new Cal baseballs I bought (the ones with orange stitching):

 

4part2.jpg

Alan Dunn game used jersey (front and back), Ronnie Deck game used hat (inside and front):

4part3.jpg

Lanyard from MASN (for some picture thing), 2 of the Dugout Club lunch boxes, the bobbleheads, Orioles 2010 Yearbook:

4part4.jpg

Al Bumbry signed card, raffle voucher tickets for Family Feud (don’t wanna talk about it), a stack of O’s logo and team schedule magnets, 2011 pocket schedules:

4part5.jpg

Oh, and a recurring theme throughout the day was people
saying “hey, I’m @soandso from Twitter!”. 
It was funny.  Most likely
recognized me because I told people I’d be wearing the ridiculous outfit of my
Hawaiian O’s shirt, O’s shorts (in Winter), and O’s Santa hat.  So, it was cool meeting:

 

@nickneagle and @natashaneagle, who came to me pre-event for
tickets.  Glad to know that people use me
even when it is the first time meeting them :D Beautiful family.

@oriolefan0321, who I met upstairs by the photo thing, and
asked me where something was after introducing himself.  I don’t really remember.

@joepappa, who introduced himself to me in the tunnel
underground at OPACY.  Very cool
dude.  He is the first guy in this video
on MASN.

@johnson652 and @trueblue4163 who decided to tweet about me
but not say hello. Sadface.

 

 

And I hope to see y’all more this season at some games.

 

The Pro Bowl was the next day.  Woohoo.

 

And since then, it has been a dull life of classes and
sickness for me.  That’s about it.

 

Expect more posts this week and after on some good
stuff.  I have ideas.  I have stuff ready to put together, but couldn’t post it since this was priority.  So look for a lot.  This one only took a while because of
sickness, plus it’s gargantuan length.

 

Twitter.  Follow these
people.  If I didn’t already plug them in
the article, that is:

 

Zevi. @magicon33rd

Romeo. @romeobaltimore

Stan. @b_morefanatic

Brittany. @beatlefnatic

Todd. @seemsuncertain

Dave. @flavadave10

Tim. @sportsnickeltim

 

 

 

Since I took so long to get this out, in the mean time,
Opening Day tickets arrived that I ordered. 
Very exciting:

openingdaytix.jpg

 

Since then, Spring Training has begun.  Pitchers and catchers reported.  Catch all of your Orioles news at
BaltimoreSportsReport.com and Orioles-Nation.com.

Speaking of which, I did a review of Fanfest on BSR.  Check that out.

Lots of links to plug, but will do that in another post.

And I leave you with this:

jewyorkjets.jpg

 

And remember to follow ME on Twitter!

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