Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Old Orioles Fan Fest Memories

As I was writing about the 2011 Orioles Fan Fest yesterday, it made me think back to all the Fan Fests that I attended with my dad over the years. As far as I can recall, we have been to most of them since it's inception, possibly skipping a few of them in my high school/college years when baseball wasn't as high on my list of priorities. I tried to do some online research about the history of Orioles Fan Fest, but there is not much information out there. Almost all of the links I found directed me towards this season's edition.

Some of you might remember better than I can, but I think that the Orioles began holding Fan Fest offseason celebrations around the time that they moved from Memorial Stadium to Camden Yards in 1992. My first Fan Fest memories involve them being held on the club level at Camden Yards and I don't remember too many people showing up. I don't think that the current team members were there to sign autographs, but a few alumni were at stations around the concourse to sign for fans.


The one player that I remember meeting at a back-in-the-day Fan Fest is Randy "Moose" Milligan. Randy's last season in baseball was 1994 (he played with the O's from 1989-92) so I would guess that he signed at the '95 Fan Fest. Like I said, I don't remember many people being around, so Randy was able to personalize my card. I think that he was a nice guy, and I somewhat remember my dad and I spending a few minutes talking with him. Fifteen years later, my memories have obviously faded. Are there any other Orioles fans out there, that can share some of their Fan Fest memories? I'm really interested to hear what everyone else might remember.

Before I wrap this up, I want to thank my dad for always being there to take me to so many Orioles games and Fan Fests over the years; I really owe a lot of my love of baseball to him. So, thanks dad! And thanks mom for tagging along and putting up with my/our autographing over the years.


SAinPA said...

Nice Post. Brings back lots of fond & fun memories.

unclemoe said...

Good stuff man. Dads are cool.


Carl Crawford Cards said...

Dude, I'll say I'm genuinely jealous of Charm City BB culture.

I think I was at Fan Fest in 2002. I wasn't into cards then or even autos but I remember just kind of walking around, taking it all in, and being impressed by the dedication of the fans who were there. Granted, the O's weren't headed in the right direction at the time but people were upbeat, positive, and looking forward to the season.

I've also had several GREAT experiences with O's fans at Camden Yards, but that's a different story. I will share this, though: at a Rays/O's day-night doubleheader about three years ago I was wandering around the park with my Durham Bulls jersey on when two women stopped me. They asked me about the jersey and when I told them Durham was the Rays' AAA affiliate they said, "Yeah, that's what we figured." Long story short, I've never had a better conversation with "opposing" fans about minor league teams. Very knowledgeable fan base!

Orioles Magic said...

Sals & Moe- Thanks!

CCC-Thanks for the compliments to the fan base. I would say that the few hardcore fans that are left are fairly knowledgeable and friendly. There just aren't nearly enough of us!

And the eternal optimism has been necessary to combat the thirteen consecutive losing seasons. As a Rays fan, I know that you can somewhat relate, I just hope the O's can "pull a Rays" and become relevant sometime soon!