2012 Dodgers Fanfest
Today was another long day of graphing involving two different events in two different cities. First up was the first annual LA Dodgers Fanfest. Benson and I went to the event with very low expectations since we all know that Dodger fans are the most passionate fans out there thus we expected large crowds, the event being unorganized since it was their first time running the event, and very difficult since it was going to be a hot day today.
The only autograph I wanted and needed is Ron Cey to complete a project i've been working on for quite some time which was to get each member of the famed "Dodger Infield" on single ROMLBs on the SS. I know they sign a lot (Lopes being the toughest one to get) but I wanted to get all the autographs for free instead of paying for the autographs when they do signings at Frank and Sons. Whenever Cey had a free signing it was always on the weekday so I was never able to make it out.
We arrived at Dodgers Fanfest around 15 minutes before they opened the gates at noon. Good thing was that we parked outside the stadium as they let us in a bit early. As expected there were already tons of fans waiting outside and it was a hot day.
The Dodgers had four autograph stations set up but they never announced which player would be at a particular line. The only info that was released was that a group of players would be signing at 30 minute intervals. Based on your luck you can pretty much get lucky and get in the Ethier line or get in the Todd Coffey line (no offense to Todd, sorry Todd). I decided to pick the shortest line first which was line four where Scott Van Slyke was signing. Since I didn't have a card of him I had him sign my 2012 Dodgers Mini helmet. He was my first signature on my helmet. Thanks Scott.
Then we went to line 3 which is where Scott Elbert and Jerry Sands were signing. I had Scott sign my mini helmet as well. Jerry was nice enough to sign two items for me. My mini helmet and my 2012 Topps Heritage Card.
Then we went over to line 2 which is where Adam Kennedy and Elian Herrera were signing. Thanks to Benson who had an extra Adam Kennedy card for me I had Adam sign a 2011 Topps Heritage Card and I had Elian sign my Dodgers mini helmet. Thanks again Benson.
Next up was Josh Lindblom and Matt Guerrier who signed my mini helmet as well. I took a picture of how bad the autograph lines were today.
Next up on the schedule was "The Infield." I was originally in line 3 and it was Bill Russell. The autograph I needed was Ron Cey who was in line 2 so I switched spots with another fan. Finally I was able to get Ron Cey's autograph. He was also nice enough to add "The Penguin" inscription. Now my collection is complete. Thanks Ron.
Afterwards there was a break in action so I went over to take pictures of Dodgers Memorabilia they had on display to kill some time.
I joined my friends back in line. We were all hoping that we'd be in the Ethier line since he was in the group that were scheduled to sign in the next half hour. Unfortunately we were in the wrong line since we were in line 3 and Ethier ended up in line 2. We ended up with Belisario and Coffey. Since we didn't want their autographs we had people go ahead of us so we'd be in prime positioning for the next group. Then one Dodger staff member noticed that most of the fans were doing this and she started to throw a fit demanding that at all the fans in line must move. The lady was completely out of line since it really didn't make a difference. When we let people go ahead of us the line was still moving. She was irate and threatened us that if we didn't move she'd kick us all out of the line. Still everyone just ignored her demands which I thought was funny. Things didn't get better. We ended up with Ted Lily and Aaron Harang. My buddy Spencer was really upset since he really wanted Bobby Abreu's autograph on his Yankees Team Logo piece that he brought and Bobby ended up being in line 2 which was the best line today since all the best players seemed to sign in line 2 today. We'll get Bobby next time Spencer. I had Harang and Lilly sign cards for me.
Benson and I had to leave early so we'd make it on time for the Harmony and Hoops Charity Basketball Event in Irvine. Plus we were already burnt out and tired from Dodgers Fanfest. We vowed never to attend this event again.
Harmony and Hoops Charity Basketball Irvine
We left Dodger Stadium and headed out to Irvine. We decided to attend the Harmony and Hoops event http://www.harmonyandhoops.org/players.html with the goal of getting Dennis Rodman's autograph. Several NBA players were scheduled to appear including Rodman, Sam Cassell, Norm Nixon, Jamaal Wilkes, and Michael Cage. There were also several celebrities who were scheduled to appear as well such as Penny Marshall, Master P, and Warren G. We arrived at Irvine a bit late due to traffic. When we arrived the arena was empty. Only about 100 fans showed up and there were none of the usual graphers there. Initially we were happy to see this since it meant that there should be no competition and the event was a relaxed environment with barely any security which meant easier access to the players. However that soon turned into disappointment as most of the scheduled guests never showed up to the event. It was either false advertising or last minute cancellations. What's shady is that during the days prior to the event the website featured Dennis Rodman on the homepage but they took it down. Rodman, Nixon, Cassell, Cage, Warren G, Master P, and Penny Marshall never showed up to the event. I was really disappointed since we drove all the way from LA for this. We might have been better off staying at Dodgers fanfest. Here is a picture of how empty the stadium was during the event.
The only bright side to all of this was that I was able to get Jamaal Wilkes on my Lakers Forum Floor piece. Surprisingly not many fans asked for his autograph since most of the people at the event where kids trying to get autographs from stars from the Disney Channel who I had no idea who they were. Even the adults there didn't even ask.
Since it was such a low key event I actually had a conversation with Jamaal Wilkes. He asked me how I heard about the event and asked if I knew anyone who had autism since this was a charity event for autism. I told him that fortunately I didn't have any family members with autism but I do know that it affects thousands of kids out there which negatively affects the quality of their life. I also thanked him for supporting such a great cause to promote awareness so that we can find a cure for the disease. He also even asked me personal stuff like what my name was, where I live, and what my profession was. When I told him I'm a dentist he referred to me as "doctor." I thought that it was cool that a HOFer referred to me as doctor and he thanked me for coming out to the event. Jamaal's a really nice guy in person and you can tell that he genuinely wanted to get to know you. Thanks for the autograph Jamaal and congrats on your induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame.