The Dodgers sold autograph vouchers for Fanfest a week before the actual event online during the week of Martin Luther King Day. Every grapher in Southern California checked for updates on the Dodgers Fanfest website during the week to check to see when the tickets would go on sale. Finally the Dodgers announced that the tickets for autograph vouchers would go on sale on Friday with season ticket holders getting a special password to have the chance to buy autograph tickets an hour prior to the general public. Each autograph voucher was 20 dollars and the Dodgers set an autograph schedule on their website.
As soon as we found out who was signing I made an agreement with my buddy Rich to split our tickets together. We both had Puig jerseys we wanted to get signed so he was our main target. My other target was Mark McGwire since I had a jersey for him to sign and possibly Zack Greinke since he never signs at the stadium and is one of the hardest autographs to obtain. When it was time to buy the tickets I was at work and tried ordering tickets through my cell phone. Unfortunately I was shut out and ended up with zero autograph vouchers. Rich on the other hand was extremely lucky and got us two Puig vouchers. Since he couldn't make it out to the signing he agreed to let me use one of his vouchers in exchange that I get his jersey signed for him.
During the week leading up to Fanfest I was able to make another deal with my buddy Spencer. He found out I missed out on McGwire so he ended up finding a voucher for me. I actually had two jerseys prepped for McGwire, one of which was an Oakland A's jersey and the other was a Cardinals jersey. Spencer's friend is a diehard Cardinals fan and a diehard McGwire fan so he asked me if the Cards jersey was available for sale. In exchange he agreed to give me his extra McGwire ticket for free. Basically I agreed to the deal and sold him the McGwire jersey for face value.
I was pretty much prepped and ready to go. Fanfest was scheduled to begin at 10am so I decided to get to the stadium about an hour prior to the first autograph session. I met up first with my friend Spencer at the parking lot to pick up my McGwire ticket and also to give him my McGwire Cardinals jersey.
When I arrived in Lot F it was already packed. It seemed like everyone in LA was here for Dodgers Fanfest.
The first thing we did was get in line 2 where Zach Lee and Mark McGwire were scheduled to sign autographs from 10:10am to 11am.
The first autograph of the day was from Zach Lee who signed an ROMLB for me. Zach was friendly as can be and we had a brief discussion about his playing days back when he played for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. I asked him to inscribe "Go Dodgers" on my baseball.
Zach was signing for fans even when he wasn't at the autograph stations. He's just a nice and friendly guy.
I hope Zach has a great season this year for the Dodgers.
Next up was Mark McGwire. It's always an honor to meet one of my favorite players growing up. Back in the 80's it was all about the Bash Brothers featuring Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Even though both guys were implicated for steroid use you can't deny that they are still important players in the history of baseball. Mark was nice and was in a good mood and signed my Oakland A's jersey with the 87 AL ROY inscription. I want to thank my friend Spencer for taking some pics of me getting Mark's autograph.
Spencer ended up getting the Cards jersey for his friend. He ended up getting Mark to inscribe 70 HRs.
Afterwards we went back to our cars to drop off our items. With fanfest you always end up bringing extra autograph supplies but it's nice to lighten your load you have to carry around. We had some downtime since the next session for Puig was at 2:10. I decided to wander and explore.
The first thing I did was check out the Mystery Bags.
The Dodgers were selling mystery bags containing 1 autographed baseball for $40. Top players in the bags were current stars such as Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Yasiel Puig, Jimmy Rollins and former Dodgers such as Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon, Matt Kemp, and old timers such as Fernando Valenzuela, Raul Mondesi, Eric Karros, and Orel Hershiser. The grand prize was Vin Scully. However there were also a lot of Lee Lacy, Ron Cey, Steve Yeager, Tim Wallach, Daniel Coulombe, and Jay Gibbons baseballs as well. It was a high risk high reward deal.
I ran into my friend Ryan who ended up with this gem of a baseball from the mystery bags. I love how the Dodgers provide their own COAs.
Ryan was ecstatic when he pulled the Coulomb baseball. I also ran into this unlucky fellow who pulled a Vin Scully baseball. How unlucky can you get. All jokes aside I congratulated the lucky fan and told him to go buy some lottery tickets. That was a nice pull.
Normally the gambling side of me would have bought a few mystery bags but it was too risky this year. Most of these guys I can buy for $40 or below with full certification if I really wanted the autograph so it was an easy pass.
My buddy Michael had the best pull of the day which was Hideo Nomo. As soon as he got his Nomo baseball he came over to show it to me since he knows about my obsession for baseballs signed by Asian baseball players. As soon as he pulled the Nomo ball out of the mystery bag he simply thought of me since he knew I would want it.
Even though it was signed in black it was still a nice piece since Nomo never signs on the sweetspot.
Afterwards I wandered around some more and ran into my friend Benson who got his McGwire bat signed today. This was one of his rare appearances at Dodger Stadium.
By now it was getting really crowded.
I also ran into legendary grapher and Anaheim's finest Matt; well the five year future version of him. Look closely below and compare the next two photos.
Here is the current version of Matt below.
The real Matt was actually at Fanfest today. One of his rare appearances at Dodger Stadium since LA is such a dangerous place. Glad to run into you today bro. We all got a good laugh at Matt's expense today. Thanks for being a good sport about it.
Next up was Yasiel Puig. My buddy Josh assisted me today in getting Rich's jersey signed. As you know Rich ended up getting me a voucher and I personally didn't want to stress out about getting two jerseys signed at one time. Thus I asked Josh to help me get Rich's jersey signed. Josh agreed without any hesitation since he's such a nice guy and has always been one of my homies in the graphing game since day 1. Josh is one of the nicest graphers you will ever meet. Thanks again Josh. There was good karma in the air today as Puig signed multiple items for us.
First I ended up getting my All Star Puig jersey signed and second I ended up getting a Puig bobblehead signed for my friend Michael.
Josh ended up getting the jersey signed for Rich but he even did better. Initially he dropped the jersey. Then he convinced Yasiel to sign a baseball for him. Then another three cards for our friend Jesse. Josh's kindness paid off as Yasiel who never sweetspots ended up signing Josh's ROMLB on the SS.
Insane and epic at the same time. Puig was side panelling everyone but Josh ended up with a sweetspot. It was an awesome pickup.
Originally Joel Peralta was scheduled to sign but he wasn't there so Darwin Barney stepped in as his replacement. I've always wanted to meet Darwin and get his autograph so it was a pleasant surprise. We had a lengthy discussion about his Asian heritage. He pretty much detailed his Asian heritage for me. I knew he was part Korean so I asked if he had a Korean auto but sadly he didn't. Darwin was still cool as can be and when I asked him to inscribe "Go Dodgers" on my ROMLB he even added 2012 GG inscription without me even asking for it. I hope he has a successful season next year since he's one of the nice guys in baseball.
Afterwards I met up with Michael to deliver his newly signed Yasiel Puig bobblehead. In exchange for the signed bobblehead he ended up giving me a his signed Hideo Nomo baseball. Thanks again Michael for your generosity.
Afterwards Josh and I got in line to get Adrian Gonzalez. Again I didn't have a ticket for Agone but Josh was kind enough to let me use his spare ticket. Thanks again for the hookup Josh.
Agone ended up signing two baseballs for me. First my Gold Glove baseball and my 2010 All Star baseball.
Here is Josh in action getting his items signed by Adrian.
I took some photos afterwards of people getting Zack Greinke's autograph. My buddy Spencer ended up getting his 2009 Greinke all star jersey signed.
My friend Mikey got his SI and all star ball signed. Although he didn't play in the 2012 All Star game it was kinda cool to get that piece done since he did play for the Royals.
Michael got his bobblehead done as well but for some strange reason he only brought the head of the bobblehead. I guess that's the easiest way to transport bobbleheads around. Good job Michael.
Overall it was another successful day of graphing Dodgers Fanfest. I want to give a shoutout to all the SoCal graphers including Josh, Spencer, Ryan, Alex, Rob, Matt, Mikey, Michael, Franz, Clint, Benson, Eric, Big Mike, George, Martin, the Hernandez Clan including Valerie, Jerry, Larry, and everyone else who I forgot to mention. I want to give another special thanks to my friend Rich for hooking it up with the Puig tickets along with several baseballs the past couple of months. I gotta thank Rich again for hooking me up with a Beltran, Sabathia and a DeGrom baseball. It's nice to have friends in the East Coast.