We arrived at Petco Park at around 8am and there were already a massive number of fans waiting in line. There were two separate lines, one for season ticket holders who were able to enter at 8:30am and another line for us who had early entry passes at 9:30am.
The Padres set up four different lines as you entered the stadium and distributed autograph vouchers for each autograph session. Each autograph session was limited to the first 250 fans. This was the same protocol from last year which made the event very organized. I wish every organization would run fanfest like the Padres do. Here is a photo below of the entire autograph schedule.
Since the Padres aren't stocked with a ton of stars like the Angels or Dodgers I had small goals today. My first goal was to get Carlos Quentin (since he rarely signs) and Chase Headley's autograph on baseballs. I printed out 15 photos of different Padres and I wanted to get every one of them signed as well. I love getting photos signed over cards but I did bring cards to get signed as well.
The first autograph station I went to was for Cameron Maybin and Tommy Lane both of which I had photos for. Cameron was interactive with the fans and posed for pictures and was nice in person. He really liked my photo and mentioned that it would have been the catch of the year if he caught the ball. I think the photo was from Dodger Stadium when Matt Kemp hit a homerun which almost got robbed by Cameron Maybin. The photo itself displays how athletic Cameron is. He can probably dunk a basketball with the hops he has.
Since it took a long time to get Cameron Maybin and Tommy Layne we hurried over to the Cory Luebke and Nick Vincent autograph station in Section 113. The session ended but Cory was nice enough to stay back and sign a few more for the fans. I was lucky enough to get two cards signed.
Afterwards we went to the Casey Kelly and Carlos Quentin autograph station. I had a photo for Casey Kelly to sign and a baseball for Carlos Quentin who is a tough autograph to get in person. When Casey saw my photo he really liked it but said the photo but mentioned he was a bit embarrassed since the photo was a closeup shot of his face.
If you look above the autograph looks great but here is where I made a rookie mistake. After Casey signed my photo I didn't give enough time for the autograph to dry on the photo so as I put it back inside my photo sleeve the entire autograph smeared. Who knew that Sharpies needed to set like Decos. Normally I try to go with Sharpies on photos since you don't need to stress out about autographs smearing like when you use decos. Casey saw the entire thing happen and he actually apologized to me. I guess he felt bad even though I was the idiot who prematurely placed the photo back in my sleeve before I let it set. I told him no big deal and it was my fault.
To make it up to me he asked me if I had anything else for him to sign. Casey was really cool about the entire situation and he signed my Topps Heritage Minors Card for me. Now i'm big fan of his due to his kindness and the way he handled the entire situation even though I was to blame for smearing his signed photo. Based on autograph karma he will have a stellar year this year. He already has my vote for the NL Cy Young Award this year. I hope I can run into him this baseball season and get a replacement photo signed by Casey and personally thank him again for being a nice guy.
Afterwards I ended up getting Carlos Quentin's autograph on a ROMLB on the SS.
Next up was John Baker and Tim Stauffer. John signed a photo for me and Tim signed two cards for me.
Afterwards I decided to go to the Jedd Gyorko and Dale Thayer autograph station. I had photos prepared for both players. Dale was nice enough to sign his old Mets photo along with his old jersey number as well.
Next up was Miles Mikolas and Anthony Bass who both signed my photos for me.
Afterwards I went over to the Will Venable and Adys Portillo autograph station but got a text that the Nick Hundley and Joe Thatcher line was getting longer from my friend Alex so I decided to go over there instead. Here is a photo of Matt and Rob getting their cards signed by Nick.
Nick and Joe were nice enough to sign my photos for me.
After getting Nick Hundley and Joe Thatcher's autograph I decided to run back to the Will Venable and Adys Portillo autograph station hoping to catch them at the tail end of their signing. On my way I took a picture from homeplate.
Luckily Will and Adys stayed back past their scheduled autograph time to sign for the fans. While waiting in line I noticed that both Tommy Layne and Logan Forsythe were coming up the stairs since they were the next scheduled players to sign in section 117. I didn't have an autograph voucher for Logan but did have his Topps card on me so I asked him to come over and sign while he was waiting for Will and Adys to finish signing. Logan was nice enough to sign my 2012 Topps card for me while I was waiting in line.
I had a photo for Will and a card for Adys. Will was nice as usual and signed two additional cards for me.
Afterwards I went over to Section 113 where Huston Street and Joe Wieland were signing. Huston has an awesome signature and signed a photo and a card for me. Joe signed a card for me as well. The picture below shows Huston signing a jumbo sized replica game ticket from the 2012 All Star Game in KC that a fan in front of me brought for Huston to sign. I thought that was a neat item to get signed.
Next up was Chase Headley and Brad Boxberger. Before I got Brad's autograph I heard him jokingly say to the Padres employee next to him that everyone is here for Chase and that nobody wanted his autograph. I felt bad for Brad since most people didn't bring anything for him to sign and were getting the blank sheets of Padres Fanfest logo sheets signed by Brad. When it was my turn to get an autograph from Brad I told him I had his back and came here to support him. I was prepared and had a photo for him to sign. He was happy to see it and gave me a high five after he signed my photo.
Afterwards Chase Headley signed my ROMLB on the SS.
Now I just had two more photos to get signed. The only two left out of the fifteen I brought today were for Clayton Richard and Chris Denorfia. The problem was that I didn't have anymore autograph vouchers left for the day.
I initially headed toward section 109 hoping to catch the tail end of the Clayton Richard and Tyson Ross signing. As I was walking both Tyson and Clayton walked right by me with security. I guess the autograph session already ended. I noticed that some fans were chasing after them trying to get last minute autographs but both players didn't sign.
Afterwards I decided to catch the tail end of the Chris Denorfia and John Baker signing in Section 113 even though I didn't have a voucher. Luckily it paid off as both players were finished signing for fans with vouchers and still had time left on their autograph session. Chris was nice enough to sign a photo and card for me. Since John already signed a photo for me I had him sign a blank Padres fanfest card.
The Padres made an announcement that there would be an extra autograph session in section 135 at 2:30pm and it was first come first served so you didn't need an autograph ticket. We headed over there hoping that a former Padre legend would be signing like Trevor Hoffman or Tony Gwynn. Personally I was hoping that Clayton Richard would be there to sign since I wanted to get every photo I brought today signed. It ended up being Andrew Cashner and another player who I forget.
The line was long so we decided to leave and head over to the Anthony Bass and Tyson Ross autograph station instead since I still had cards for them to sign. We didn't have a voucher but we figured the line wouldn't be too long since both players already signed earlier during the day.
Overall it was a fun day at Padres Fanfest and again I wish every fanfest ran this smoothly. Both the Dodgers and Angels need to take note of this and open up the stadium for their fans instead of restricting us to the parking lot. It would just be more enjoyable that way and it would be easier to control the crowd that way as well. I want to thank Rob and Alex for letting me carpool with them and also want to give a shout out to all the regular graphers including David A, Scotty, Tyler, Matt, Kyle, Alex A, Josh, Ryan, Keith and Nancy. I also want to thank the Padres for hosting another well organized fanfest and all the Padres who came out and signed for the fans.