Thursday, January 24, 2013

Orioles Fanfest Success

This past Saturday, I continued my tradition of attending the annual Orioles Fanfest with my wife and parents. Amongst all of the craziness involved in moving, it was a nice reprieve from the stress of constantly packing and unpacking boxes. I'm sure that most of you know what I'm talking about! And before I get any further into this post, I have to thank my parents and Kalina for allowing me to drag them around the event all day as well as helping me to stand in lines to get through the stations faster. I really appreciate your help!

While I know that some people had issues purchasing the specific autograph tickets they had wanted, I lucked out, and was able to buy the three sessions I was interested in, with a little help from my wonderful wife. 

I purchased the 2 pm session at station 2 with Mike Bordick, Jason Hammel, and Nate McLouth, which allowed me to upgrade my Bordick to a personalized signature,

get my dad's home-made McLouth Orioles card signed, which is, to date, the only card that pictures him in an Orioles uniform, 

as well as sign his orange uniform 2012 Norfolk Tides card, 

and to get Jason Hammel to sign his first official Orioles card, which came out in the 2012 Topps Update set  after the season ended. Getting some of the new Orioles to sign their cards from that set is going to be a recurring theme here. 

Hammel, who was seated next to Bordick commented that he didn't think Bordick couldn't jump as high as he is pictured as doing on the card at the top to which Bordick replied that the picture had been taken fifteen years ago and there's no way that he could do that anymore. 

My next two stations were both at 3:20, so I obviously had to have some help from my parents to be able to be in two places at once. 

Since one of my 3:20 stations was again at #2, where I had just been, I started there. This station was going to allow me to knock out Luis Ayala & Pedro Strop on their 12 Topps Update cards, and to hopefully have Jim Palmer personalize a card to me. But shortly before the signing was supposed to start, an Orioles employee pulled Ayala's name plaque from the table and replaced it with Ryan Flaherty. WTF? There goes my paid shot at Ayala, who another fan later told me apparently never showed up for the event at all for some unknown reason.

Things started off well with Pedro Strop who was kind enough to work past a bit of a language barrier to personalize my card, 

and I was just able to get in my quick personalization request to Palmer in between stories he was telling to the people ahead of and behind me in line, 

and while it was nice to get Flaherty to personalize a card to me, especially since we share the same first name and I always enjoy seeing how other Ryan's sign our name, it still didn't quite make up for Ayala's unexplained absence. It would have been nice for the line to at least get some sort of explanation as to why he wasn't there.

Tangent- I used some new, slightly wider 'medium' sized Staedtler markers during Fanfest. I used the 'fine' version last season, and while the results were good, I prefer the slightly larger lines. I found a pretty good website ( to buy them from online since I have had trouble finding them in person. This Flaherty card was the only one that showed any signs of bubbling.

Last up was station #1, also at 3:20, which included Kevin Gausman, Manny Machado, Ryan Minor, and Darren O'Day. Apparently the 250 tickets available for this session sold out in minutes, and I have a feeling that I might have been the only person to go after this one chiefly for O'Day. But it also allowed me to get a few upgrades, so there were multiple benefits for me in this one. Too bad the handlers at this station were enforcing a strict one signature per player limit. 

Gausman, the Orioles #1 draft pick in 2012, led off the station, and he seems like a pretty down-to-earth kid considering the amount of success and fame he's experienced in his young life. I was happy to get him to personalize his first official Orioles card, so I am covered when he inevitably makes his O's debut in the near future. 

I also was able to snag one of his postcards, which I really like as it shows his excitement during his Camden Yards introduction last year. 

Next up was Machado, who signed and personalized this great looking orange uniform/cartoon bird cap combo card.

 I was also able to grab a postcard showing Manny manning the hot corner at Camden Yards.

Ryan Minor filled the alumni role at this table and while he has signed cards for me in the past and has always been very accommodating about it, I always neglected to request a personalization. And same thing as with Flaherty, it's interesting to see another Ryan write my name. I will say that Minor's printed and signed R's look much different while Flaherty's were more similar.

Last up was the player who was the reason I had targeted this specific station, Darren O'Day, who was making his sole signing appearance of the day. He seemed either a bit distracted or annoyed but was still nice enough to add my name to his signature, and allowed me to knock out one more '12 Topps Update card.

All in all, the day was a great success, and I even got a few extra cards signed. The four below are all up for trade if anyone is interested.


Paul said...

Looks like you did well

unclemoe said...

Good job!


zman40 said...

Glad you enjoyed fanfest. Just curious as to how much the autograph line tickets cost.

I know I gave Royals Fanfest a low rating earlier this week. But, when I asked my girl's son what he thought about it, he said that he couldn't wait 'til next year. Looks like I may be going back after all.

Orioles Magic said...

Thanks guys, I did enjoy it and did pretty well.

Zach- Tickets are $15 per session, which each had 3 or 4 players. They were 250 sold for each station on a first come first served basis.

And I'm glad that you're encouraging the next generation of Royals fans!