Friday, January 12, 2018

Tips for a Fun and Successful Tigerfest 2018

Detroit Tigerfest 2018 Is Upon Us

Tiger fans are fortunate that our organization puts on Tigerfest. I am sure they get 10,000 complaints about the event to every 1 praise. The event can really be a nightmare for a lot of people. I've been in shock many years at the deterioration of the organization and planning of the event from when I started going over a decade ago to the laughable shit-show it was last year. Don't get me wrong, I have fun every year and am very appreciative the Tigers put the event on but the amount of people squished against each other in such a small space, the lack of player cooperation, 4 hour lines, and absolutely zero staff to be found anywhere makes the event a rough one to say the least. I do however have some tips to help 'fest-goers enjoy their day a little more. These are based on past experience and every year is different so first tip;
  1. Adapt. If you haven't been to this even before it may be a shock. If you have, don't get stuck in thinking it will be the same and lines will run similar to previous years and so on. Also, I don't know what is allowed in the event for bags. I usually take a backpack but security has gotten tighter recently so be able to lose the backpack and still have all your stuff somehow.
  2. Take someone or something fun. Years ago I used to take girlfriends, that way I got double the autos. It is a LOOOOONG day so you will need to either build up or make up some brownie points. Careful though, Jeremy Bonderman flirted with my wife one year and I have yet to hear the end of it.
  3. Try the tag team and trade approach. If you have a friend going and don't mind standing alone playing on your phone or whatever, get in different lines all day and then throw your autos in a hat and take turns pulling. It gives you better odds of getting who you want. 
  4. One year I took my wife and sister and had those two stand in a different line than me all day. I got a ton of autos that year. You may have trouble finding people to do this for you. 
  5. The lines are excruciatingly long standing on cement all day. Wear comfy shoes and clothes and layer! It could be -10 degrees outside and 80 degrees inside the buildings. 
  6. Take entertainment. Even if you are going with someone. Make sure you have some netflix stuff downloaded. Bring back up batteries or extra devices as you wont find a plug to charge on. I used to bring my Sony PSP system. I had extra batteries and I could watch movies and play games while standing by myself. This year I will have 3 different phones and I may pack my portable DVD player.
  7. Keep an open mind. Everyone there is some degree of Tiger fan. From the children crying all over, the idiots who don't understand personal space in line, to the drunk fat chicks whooing every 5 minutes. Drink it in as a Tigers event and try to enjoy it all. Baseball is a long way off in Motown, this is as close as it gets right now.
  8. Stick to one line! The players signing autographs rotate every half hour. You won't even get a fraction of everybody. Last year I got two autographs in 6 hours of line waiting and neither guy ended up on the roster for the full year. If you jump lines you may end up getting the same guy twice. Sometimes a good thing as in the first year I went when I got Magglio Ordonez 3 times. But more often its the guy you could care less to see you get stuck with. Don't bother trying to chase players either as there is no line that is short enough to jump in to get to the player currently signing. The fastest line I ever stood in was 45 minutes in 10 or so Tigerfests.
  9. Get your picture taken alone if you go to that line. I had a really sweet picture with Magglio one year that is now trash because of an ex-girlfriend taking up half the shot.  
Me and my wife (when we were dating) a hundred years ago with Tim Byrdak. Keep in mind the staff does not know how to frame a picture.

For the more advanced Tigerfesters here is how I pack for the event:
  • I have a binder of all active players with at least two cards I want signed for each guy doubled up in each sleeve. The card facing out is my first choice and the other is second in case I get someone twice. It happens. Again, the event is organized by chimps. Also, I bring balls, game used stuff, 8x10s and 5x7s. I used to make a paper checklist showing what I brought for each guy so I was fast to have it ready. Now, I write with a sharpie on the card page for the player if I have an item like a 5x7 I would rather have signed first priority. 
Here is an example of my prioritizing. I would rank cards 1-3 and also make notes right on the pages of other items I wanted signed before I turned to cards.

  • Last year they did not put out a player list at all. We went in blind. I was able to trade with a guy in line for a Mike Pelfrey card since I didn't bring one. This year they listed about 15 players so far but I doubt they release the full list. I look at who signs locally at card shows for past players and make sure I take their cards. Coaches, managers, prospects, broadcasters are all possible on top of the active roster. 
  • I bring extra cards in case I need to trade or am able to help somebody out who doesn't have anything to have signed. You would be surprised how many people go to Tigerfest without even a ball to have signed and stand in line to have the program or ticket signed. Concessions are open and sell balls if all else fails. I used to bring "scrub" pictures and balls. Generic pictures any prospect I didn't have a card of could sign or a non official ball they could mark up so I had something for anybody who could possibly be there.
All this may be very, very overkill for such a short event but; what else baseball related is going on right now? Plus, no players sign for adults at Comerica Park on the home team side so this is the only chance I have of getting some fresh scribbled ink. 


  1. Good stuff. I had a similar book when I used to do IP autos.

    How many games do you get to a year? I went to high school in Mt. Clemens in the early-mid 90's and went to Tiger Stadium all the time. I miss the Gibralter card shows!

    1. Thats cool! Gibraltor was a fun show but they closed down the whole building in November so its done now. Last year I think I got to two games. Its different now with a toddler than in college when I bought ticket packages and went to a lot.

    2. That toddler will come in handy soon though!

      I went to an Orioles Fest about 15 years ago and a Nationals one a few years ago (pre-Harper & Strasburg) but as someone who isn't a fan of those teams, they weren't that great.

      I've been following the Cubs Convention all day via social media. I live in Virginia now so I'll have to make a trek to get to one someday.

  2. The Mariners don't even have a Fanfest this year :(
    A lot of your tips would apply to any fan event!

  3. You are a PRO, so well-organized! Be sure to show-off the spoils here. I doubt I'll ever go to a Fest for various reasons, although it appears to be a great auto-op for the patient fan. I've rarely see Tigers sign at Comerica, even for kids. The organization want our dollars spent in their fan shops. Have a great time!!!

  4. Just returned from the Cubs Convention this weekend. Love the experience and sad to learn that not all teams (like the Mariners) haven't jumped on board.
    The Cubs released a list of players signing on the Monday before the weekend, which was great. I had a nice stash of cards already, but I was able to hit Sportlots and order cards of the players I didn't have who would be in attendance. Thankfully, they arrived in time for my big weekend.
    I never thought about bringing extra cards to help out others. Two thumbs up to you for being such a thoughtful person and for allowing me to steal your idea in the future!