After only getting a few hours of sleep the night before due to graphing all day at the stadium I arrived at Angels Fanfest around 7:20am. I was a bit late since they started letting fans into the Fanfest at 7am. For the first time even Benson was late and he arrived around 7:30. Compared to last year Fanfest drew more fans this year. There were already a ton of people waiting in front of the autograph lines. They had five autograph stations with each station having two players sign. Luckily I had friends in each line which helped me maximize my autograph opportunities throughout the day. Throughout the morning rumors circulated that only the bench would sign and none of the starters. Also they informed us that the players would begin signing around 9:45 am which meant that there was going to be a lot of down time. That discouraged most of the fans and I expected the worst since the Angels had a game at noon today.
When I arrived Scotty, Ken and Ken Jr who were in adjacent lines next to each other were first in line. They actually camped out at the stadium last night so they would be in prime position to maximize their autograph opportunities. They are hardcore graphers and I respect their passion for the game.
During the week a bunch of fellow graphers and I had this discussion whether Fanfest would be the best time to wait for Albert Pujols at the players parking lot. Since it is Fanfest most fans would be waiting inside Fanfest and thus not many people would consider waiting for the players at the parking lot. I guess it was me being lazy or too busy mingling with fellow graphers that I didn't take this opportunity during the downtime to head out to the players parking lot. Scotty and Ken Jr did and they ended up getting Albert's autograph before the fanfest autograph line even started. Since there were only three kids waiting at the players parking lot Albert stopped and signed for them. Another missed opportunity. However I figured that if me and a couple of other graphers went Albert would have probably never stopped for the adults so good job to Scotty and Ken Jr on their success.
Before the autograph session they interviewed Albert Pujols, Ervin Santana, and Howie Kendrick on stage. I took a few photos. Unfortunately none of them signed for the fans.
As soon as the autograph session started there was chaos as people were changing places in line. My buddy Benson switched places with my friend Ryan from http://rbicollecting.blogspot.com/. Ryan was in the Abreu line and Benson and I were originally in the Aybar line. Ryan had a Spring Training Aybar Game Used Jersey that he was dying to get signed so they switched spots. I went after Kendrys.
There were a total of five autograph stations each with two players. One autograph station had Alberto Callaspo and Kendrys Morales; Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis; Chris Iannetta and Vernon Wells; Jordan Walden and Scott Downs; Bobby Abreu and LaTroy Hawkins.
Out of all the players I needed Kendrys and Abreu the most. I decided to go after Kendrys and Callaspo first. I initally asked Alberto Callaspo to sign my Topps Heritage 2012 card. If you look closely it's an error card since the name is correct but the player pictured is not Callaspo. I really wanted Callaspo to sign this card for me since it would be a unique item to add to my collection. Callaspo refused to sign saying that the player pictured isn't him. I was a bit embarrassed but Callaspo was cool about it. Here is a picture of the unsigned card. Can anyone identify the player pictured on the Callaspo card? If so let me know.
Since I was shot down by Callaspo from getting his card signed I had him sign my mini helmet.
I had Kendrys sign my ROMLB on the SS. I was stoked to get Kendrys finally since we've missed out on him at Tunnel B all season long. He's also a tough autograph to get in person.
The next stop was the Bobby Abreu and LaTroy Hawkins line. I really need to thank Josh from http://www.dodgerbobble.com/ for this one since he held a spot for me. Bobby Abreu is notorious for not signing and when he does he side panels every baseball. He even side paneled baseballs for fans at Angels Fanfest last year saying he doesn't sweetspot baseballs. For some reason I've never gotten Bobby's autograph before and since he is on the trade block this might have been my last chance this season to get his autograph. I was hoping for any signature from him. When it was my turn to get his autograph I asked him politely if he could sign the baseball on the sweet spot. Sure enough Bobby obliged and signed my ROMLB on the SS.
Afterwards I got LaTroy Hawkins to sign my mini helmet. When I met LaTroy I thanked him for tossing me the baseball during BP yesterday since it was my first baseball of the year. I told him he overthrew it a few rows back and he laughed saying "you had to work for it huh." LaTroy was cool as can be.
Next up was Scott Downs and Jordan Walden. Luckily again my buddy Matt and his mom saved a spot for me in line. Thanks Matt. I had Scott sign my Topps Heritage card and Jordan sign a ROMLB on the SS.
Afterwards I ran into my friends Nancy and Keith who were in the Iannetta and Wells line. Thanks Nancy and Keith for holding a spot for me. I had Chris Iannetta sign my Topps Heritage Card and Vernon sign my Angels Mini Helmet and also his Topps Heritage card. Vernon was nice enough to sign two items for me.
Next up was Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar. I had Maicer sign my mini helmet and Erick sign a Topps Heritage 2012 card.
There was a big break in action as they had some of the Angel Alumni on stage for an interview. They interviewed Clyde Wright, Chuck Finley, Garret Anderson, Jim Abbott, and Mike Witt. After the interviews on stage ended each Angel Alumni were seated signing autographs at the five autograph stations in random order.
We lucked out and was in the Garret Anderson line. Garret Anderson is notoriously known for being a tough autograph to get. I want to thank Steve http://zimsautographs.blogspot.com/ for holding down the spot for us. I still needed Garret on a single signed ROMLB on the SS since I am trying to build a set of single signed ROMLBs of any major player from the Angels 2002 Championship team. The rules of the signing was no personalization and inscriptions. Steve was bold enough and asked Garret to inscribe 2003 All Star Game MVP and he ended up getting the inscription from Garret. You can check out the scan of his baseball on his blog. Good job as usual Steve. Here is a picture of my signed Garret Anderson baseball.
Next up was Jim Abbott. Again it is good to be well connected in the autographing game. My friend Marty was holding down a spot for me. Thanks Marty. Jim is another autograph I was missing in my collection of legendary Angels. I had Jim sign a ROMLB on the SS. I asked Jim when his next book signing was and he told me that it would be in the last week of May during the Angels vs Yankees series at the stadium. Be on the lookout for that one.
The last autograph was Mike Witt who is best known for pitching a perfect game. I was surprised how short this line was. I ended up passing on the Clyde Wright line since i've gotten him in the past and he signs all the time. I also passed on the Finley line since I got everything I wanted signed by him at Living Spaces a few months ago. I asked Mr. Witt to inscribe "Perfect Game" but his handler said "no inscriptions." It was still worth a try. I had Mike sign my ROMLB on the SS.
Another super day of signings but very tiring since I didn't get much rest this weekend. Time to sleep.