My excitement and anxiousness that lasted for an entire month had finally come to an end. Today was time for the third annual off season FanFest for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unlike in years past, my autograph experience was not going to be limited. In 2013, I had to leave with the disappointment that a long atrocious line killed my dream of obtaining autographs while my rookie mistake last year with online vouchers limited me to just two signing sessions. This year around, I was completely prepared and realistic about my choices. Funny thing about it, I purchased all my vouchers while I was in college, but was still able to get my top priorities.
The entrance was easy sailing. My family and I had an easy access through the left field gate near Academy Road in order to get to the stadium. I was really intrigued with how the Dodgers went with having the event in the vicinity of the ballpark. I had an hour to myself before getting an autograph at 11:10, so I went straight to turn in my waiver for a wristband. I had a nice stint in the batting cage going five - for - five while batting as a lefty.
I took notice of where all the vendors were at during my walk around the park. However, I did not really take the time to visit them all as the hour was passing by for me to start getting in line for the autographs. One thing that I can confirm is that I will be attending the Kershaw bobblehead game on May 12 versus the Marlins as I did buy my tickets in advance.
As the clock was nearing 11 on my phone, I proceeded to get in line for my first session. I must comment from a fellow grapher that it was sort of dumb in part of the Dodgers that the lines were extremely close to the walk way entrance for fans to get into the field. Nevertheless, as I finished one session, I still had precious time to hop onto another within the same hour. My first session was Howie Kendrick with Chris Hatcher.
My next signing, which was still within the same hour, was Ron Cey with Mike Bolsinger. This was no doubt the most important autograph session of the day for me simply because Ron Cey's autograph was the last one that I needed for my 1981 World Series MVP's 8x10 photograph. I gave Mr. Cey my photograph and had him sign the photograph in black marker because I already had Steve Yeager sign it with the same color in order to stand out from Pedro Guerrero.
As for Bolsinger, I had that batting helmet ready for him to sign rather than something boring like a company manufactured card.
Here is a look on the project that took me 8 months to complete.
My first signers for the 12:10 session was Scott Van Slyke and Joel Peralta. However, something was different as I was approaching the tent. More on that in a bit. I purchased an 8x10 of Scott at Frank and Son in order for him to sign. Scott was very welcoming as I happily gave him my photograph to get signed in silver sharpie.
He was also very nice to take a selfie with me. I am glad that I had him on my list of top signers to acquire.
Back to what I said about this particular signing that was different than was promoted through my voucher. Joel Peralta was nowhere to be found and in his place was Juan Nicasio. Despite the voucher and web site exclaiming for graphers to be aware of any changes, this still took me by surprise. Nevertheless, I was a bit excited to add a far younger pitcher that still has potential to my collection. I gave Nicasio my batting helmet to sign and, like Van Slyke, welcomed me with a warm heart.
He also took the time to oblige for a selfie.
The next session that was within the same hour was Brandon McCarty with Zach Lee. I personally think of this signing as a low risk high reward kind of deal. After all, McCarthy is a part of the Dodgers rotation while Lee is a prospect that has yet to be given the experience to shed out his full potential. Think about it, McCarthy's only obstacle is his health, while Lee had trouble in the not so pitcher friendly Pacific Coast AAA League. Therefore, I have high hopes for them to be successful in some way.
Like all the other signings, I gave them both my batting helmet to get signed. They were extremely grateful for my visit and I was just as glad to add them to my collection. I wish them the best of luck for the season, especially Lee whose debut I've been waiting for quite a while now.
Now here are pictures containing all the autographs I got from FanFest. Howie Kendrick's autograph below the logo.
Chris Hatcher and Mike Bolsinger.
Brandon McCarthy's autograph is right on the left while Juan Nicasio's signature is on the far right.
Here is a better view of Nicasio's autograph.
Finally, here is Zach Lee.
I had a great time at FanFest considering how I had far more signing opportunities to rack up for my collection. Unlike last year, I did not take the time to do things like purchasing a mystery bag or eating a Dodger Dog. Could you believe that? I went through FanFest without eating a Dodger Dog! Oh well. The reason was that I had to leave with my family as early as possible in order to attend my grandfather's birthday party. I was just glad that I did not leave a FanFest empty handed or as miserable as compared to the horrible 2013 edition. With that in mind I bid you all farewell, drifting off into the sunset, with this amazing picture of Bobby Crosby and Deep Left that my younger brother took. I did bump into them myself, but the picture we posed for came out blinded by the light reflecting from the field. At least I have an entire year to take more.