Tigerfest Redeems Itself
First off, I am curious to see what happens to my page visit count when throwing the word "Porn" into it. Probably nothing but its in Goolge's hands now.
Pics are at the end if you don't want to read the story.
Tigerfest 2018 was terrific for me. It wasn't improved from last year, probably got worse as less people attended but that made no difference in line waits and mass bad attitudes from staff and attendees. Don't get me wrong, the event is still the most unorganized scary mess you will ever see that pisses off at least 75% of its attenders. This year however, luck was on my side and having gone to so many I take it all in stride and leave it all to chance.
The Early Entry passes I scored made the difference. We got in line at 7:30am for the 10am open and had 150 people in front of us. So much for the idea of less people attending this year. One cool thing that happened was Ron Gardenhire, our new manager, showed up in the line and sat down and played cards with some fans and took pics and signed a little. Justin Verlander kind of started that last year and I think it was a nice touch for the new manager to do that for the fans. I found out in line (in Detroit Tigers form) Alan Trammell would not be signing at all at the event. Rumor has it his contract with DC Sports a memorabilia shop around my area wouldn't let him. So the list of guys not attending/not signing not claimed another signature I needed. I can't believe the Tigers would let this happen but nothing should surprise me with this organization anymore. I thought Tram would have to be one of the early entry signers because there were no other big names there. In line my brother and I got the low down on early entry from veterans of the early pass. As you enter you have a choice of left or right. Green ticket or Red ticket. It is very Matrix-y. My brother and I decided we would split up and then get back in line based on who was signing. The guys outside said every year they are able to get back in line and get both signers. They were wrong this year, which sucked for me. My brother chose correctly and got Michael Fulmer for Auto Session 'A' and I got Daniel Norris who is no slouch but I already got his auto this past summer and who's track record did not seem to me to be one of an early entry signer.
We rushed to get back in line and both went left to try to get another Fulmer but by then the "Normies" had been given entry and we got the next batch of signers. On the left was Craig Monroe and Daniel Stumpf. I need C-Mo for my next card project but Stumpf doesn't even have a MLB card out that I can find. Luckily, I had a card of his from the kids day giveaway at the ballpark last year. I told my brother I was going to trade somebody to get into the right line. Jordan Zimmermann was signing on that side. I really wanted Zimm's scribble so I waited for my chance. We got to the very end of the line and I spotted a drunk guy (10am) looking my direction. I worked out a trade with him and got into the Zimm line! My brother wasn't real happy and said I broke etiquette but you have to do what you have to do. The drunk guy got two autos instead of one and as we found out later when he spotted us leaving he met Jordan Zimmermann three other times that day. It all worked out for Auto Session 'B'.
Next, we scrambled to find the downstairs to get into that autograph line because the veterans in the morning line said downstairs always got the bigger names and the line seemed shorter. Well, this year there was no downstairs line. They were wrong, again. The time we wasted moving cost us Auto Session 'C'.
We found a line for Auto Session 'D' upstairs somewhere and got really lucky. Behind the press boxes we got JaCoby Jones! A PC guy! Brandon Inge was in attendance but I wouldn't get to see him. JJ is the next best thing. With Fulmer, Zimm, and Jones my brother and I both agreed our day was made and everything else was icing on the cake.
We found a shorter line on the concourse hoping for Session 'E' after asking 3 unhelpful employees upstairs how to get downstairs with the other hundred or so people frantically stuck out on the overhang with all obvious exits blocked off. We got in line and found out it was Daniel Stumpf and Johnny Barbato and Auto Session 'D' was still going on. Having already gotten Stumpf and having nothing for Barbato to sign we rolled the dice and walked to the back of the line for Auto Session 'E'. While in line Nicholas Castellanos was lead by his handler in error to our auto area. Pitcher Chad Bell was the lone signer for 'E' and had the unfortunate luck of having to sign for reluctant fans. Of course everybody started cheering and chanting and then the young woman found out she brought him to the wrong place so she took him away and everybody booed at being teased with a decent signer. My brother and I got Chad Bell who I jokingly chanted "Chad, Chad, Chad" for as he signed and he laughed and said that wasn't the first time Nick had been brought to one of his tables in error and that happened. He was cool.
We had time for one more auto so we jumped back in the same line for Auto Session 'F'. A security guard who had been monitoring that line all day said Nick Castellanos had not been to that table yet all day. Another person in line said he had only been in that line all day and rattled off all the minor leaguers he had gotten lone autos from and the only session he missed was the only mutli-player table with Brandon Inge, Todd Jones, and Spencer Turnbull. He had still done better than I did the year before but he was having a rough day. We expected the last signer to be someone decent. It was overdue. For some reason there was an hour between Bell leaving and the next signer showing up. People were getting a little rowdy for the unnecessary wait. Some of the Tiger cheer leaders or whatever they are came in and gave away three $10 gas cards. I had never seen giveaways for people in line before. I don't know why they don't do that more to keep spirits up, it cost them $30 to take our attention away from our throbbing knees and hips for 10 minutes. My brother actually won one.
Finally, the doors open and Nick Castellanos comes through with his entourage holding his son's hand. I knew he was never going to sign for an hour with his kid and family with him. Of course, the idiots in line started cheering and chanting as he walked past the table and booed as he went out the door and got in a car. I was actually surprised he stayed as long as he did. Fulmer was posting thanks for Tigerfest around noon and it was now 3:30. Drew VerHagen came in as the lone last signer. Most people bailed and left. We got Drew and then headed for home as the last lines were shut down early like they always are.
|In sharpie because I used a Retail Logo ball instead of OMLB|
Overall, our haul was good and we had a good time like always. I get a kick out of all the negative feedback this event gets but it really is just terribly planned. I really don't know why the Tigers even bother at this point with so many upset people every year. I am glad they put it on but if you're a Tiger fan be warned. You are better off paying for private signings than trying to get something signed at the ballpark at this event or a game.