Fan Fests

Tony Kozelichki

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I would be interested in hearing from fans who've attended their teams Fan Fests this year. I know some teams have already held them and some are scheduled this weekend while many are scheduled in January.

I would have a particular interest in hearing how various teams handle autographs at their Fan Fests. I've attended about 15 Cubs Conventions, and will do so and post a report again in January, and the Cubs, to date, have always given free autographs, with some limits on time, tickets, etc. I'm hoping this continues, but also see merits in charging for autographs as you guarantee getting a signature (as long as you can afford the sometimes outrageous autograph fees a team demands (St. Louis Cardinals, for example).

Also, I see some teams saying on their websites that no announcement of who will be signing with be forthcoming. Doesn't that sound a bit ridiculous (TigersFest on the team's website: Player autograph schedules will not be announced in advance)?

Oh, well, I know the Reds had their FanFest last weekend, and the Nats and maybe a couple of others are going this weekend. Any comments would be appreciated.
 

t.rooster

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Hey Tony~
Giants fan & A's fans both wait it out until February I believe. I went to SF's 2 years ago & it is free, but quite a crush of people. Oakland charges & I've never been, mainly because they keep trading away their good players. I plan on going to SF this year in hopes for a Bumgarner auto! I will keep you informed.....
 

HockeyBrawler

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Rangers will have theirs in late January. Usually $10 admission. Every year they announce a few days in advance who all will be there. The big-name active players are all on a lottery system. Lesser current players and alumni are first-come, first-serve. I usually just rack on the alumni lines.
 

tigsfan

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Also, I see some teams saying on their websites that no announcement of who will be signing with be forthcoming. Doesn't that sound a bit ridiculous (TigersFest on the team's website: Player autograph schedules will not be announced in advance)?
Tony, you are talking to a TigerFest expert here (a decade or so now), so I can clear up what is going on here... but in short, that's correct. Here are the rules from last year, and have been this way for some time now.

Detroit Tigers said:
1. There will be a total of six (6) autograph areas throughout Comerica Park. (they then list the locations, which one being a Kids Only line. I will note here that 10am-11am there are 3 lines open for early entry/season ticket holders, the rest are open from shortly after the public is let in)

2. Player autograph schedules will not be released in advance.

3. At least one Tigers personality will be in attendance at each open autograph area during TigerFest from 10am to 4:50pm (event ends at 5pm).

4. While in line in an autograph area, each fan will receive a ticket distributed for that specific location and session. This ticket entitles the fan to a signature from each player participating in that particular session. Once all tickets have been distributed for the current session, tickets for the next session will begin to be distributed. Once fans receive a ticket, they are required to remain in line until they reach the autograph table. (THIS IS A NEWER POLICY)

5. Following each autograph session, the line will be temporarily halted in order to place new personalities at each of the open autograph areas. The line will then resume movement as normal.

6. If an autograph area reaches maximum capacity, autograph lines will be temporarily closed for fan safety. When this occurs, fans will be directed to other TigerFest activities or autograph areas throughout Comerica Park. Reopening of closed autograph areas and continued distribution of tickets will resume when instructed by Detroit Tigers management. The Tigers appreciate your cooperation with this policy. (INCONSISTENT WITH THIS)

7. Fans in need of special assistance to participate in the autograph line process should ask an event staff representative, crowd manager or autograph volunteer for assistance. All fans requiring special assistance will be the final autograph recipients at the conclusion of each session (THEY DON'T WAIT UNTIL THE END FROM WHAT I'VE SEEN). Only the guest requiring special assistance and one companion will receive an autograph per session.

Additional Guidelines
- All personalities have been instructed to sign only one item per person
- Please have your item ready for signature (HEAVILY ENFORCED)
- No personalization and/or inscriptions, please
- The following items are not allowed for signatures: unmarked, plain paper (i.e. index card, stationary, etc.)
- The Tigers reserve the right to deny any item inappropriate for signature
- Please be courteous to other fans and refrain from taking posed photos (WELL ENFORCED, but can take photos if it doesn't stop the flow of the line)

So while they announce who is scheduled to attend, you don't know who will be at which station and when they will be there - plus the tickets tell you if you are getting the current group or the next group (it was worse line control without that). I also use the stage schedule to narrow down who will be signing, especially later in the day, which did help me out last year as my guesses were right from what I found out. For not charging anything extra for autographs, the treasure/scavenger hunt is the twist that other fanfests don't have (and I did really, REALLY well with it last year). Any other questions about Detroit fanfest, feel free to ask me.
 

KCLJ520

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STL Cardinals is brutal, I have been twice or three times, and it is a CRUSH of people....the fees are exorbitant, and while there are numerous players that sign for free, the big name players are very expensive. While it goes to the Cardinals Care charity, it is still a very inconvenient way to get a signature.

That is very odd that a team would not advertise the names of the players signing, it sort of takes the fun out of getting your favorite item signed!

God Bless,

Kevin
 

Tony Kozelichki

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Cardinals have posted their Winter Warm Up signing details at http://m.mlb.com/stl/promo/warmup_autograph/?tcid=FErd-warmup-stl. Tickets range from $5 to $100 (Wainwright/David Eckstein). Kolton Wong is $50! A pre-signed Bob Gibson ball is $75 (he's signing for $45 in the St. Louis area in April). Possibly the lamest list of alumni players signing for free I have ever seen (Alan Benes, Andy Benes, Danny Cox, Rick Horton, Al Hrabosky, Tom Lawless, Kyle McClellan, Kerry Robinson, Jason Simontacchi, Brad Thompson). I'd love to hear from someone attending the Cardinals fest to hear their feelings.
 

rl16

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I have been to the Cardinals WWU the past 5 years, but have not decided if I am going yet. The list of alumni signers may change a little, but not much. It is the same 10 or 12 players they have every year who also appear at the fan caravans during the same weekend. There are 6 different caravans this year, with each one having 2 or 3 current players, 1 or 2 minor league players, and 2 alumini. All the players sign autographs for free for the first 400 kids in attendance. I will be taking my 2 children to 2 or 3 different caravans this year depending on the players. Admission is either free or something in the $5 range.

As for the WWU auto prices, the $40 admission price for adults needs to be factored in as well. Kids 15 and under are $10. It is possible to find tickets cheaper on EBAY or Craigslist, but they will also run $20-25. I agree some of the prices are beyond crazy. Wong had a signing last fall for $30. I think $100 for Eckstein is crazy, but there will be a chance he will sell out of his 200 tickets. I will have a write up for the caravans I attend and the WWU if I go.
 

Therion

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The Astros limit it to 175 fans, which is new this year. They sold tickets online and sold out in about an hour, which I missed out on.
 

JGerutfan9

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I will be attending Tribe Fest for the 4th straight year. They are charging $5 to get in and $25 per autograph session. They give you a list of players that will be there but not who will be signing each individual session which is frustrating. I think the cap was 130 per session, I bought two sessions each for my Fiancee and I. Hopefully we don't get stuck with the same group of guys for each session.

You would think for $25 you'd get more info on who would be signing at what times.

Eric
 

Tony Kozelichki

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2016 Cubs Convention attendess

The Cubs Convention is set for the weekend of January 15-17. The list of attendees, from a current team standpoint, is impressive; but, no so much is you're interested in alumni:

Current players
Andury Acevedo, RHP
Miguel Montero, C
Arismendy Alcantara, INF/OF
Edgar Olmos, LHP
Jake Arrieta, RHP
Neil Ramirez, RHP
Javier Baez, INF
Clayton Richard, LHP
Dallas Beeler, RHP
Anthony Rizzo, INF
Rex Brothers, LHP
Hector Rondon, RHP
Kris Bryant, INF
David Ross, C
Trevor Cahill, RHP
Zac Rosscup, LHP
Jeimer Candelario, INF
Addison Russell, INF
Carl Edwards Jr., RHP
Kyle Schwarber, C
Justin Grimm, RHP
Jorge Soler, OF
Jason Hammel, RHP
Pedro Strop, RHP
Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Matt Szczur, OF
Jason Heyward, OF
Dan Vogelbach, INF
Pierce Johnson, RHP
Adam Warren, RHP
Eric Jokisch, LHP
Travis Wood, LHP
John Lackey, RHP
Ben Zobrist, INF

Coaches
Joe Maddon, manager
Mike Borzello, catching coach
Chris Bosio, pitching coach
Tim Buss, strength & conditioning coach
Eric Hinske, asst. hitting coach
Brandon Hyde, first-base coach
Gary Jones, third-base coach
John Mallee, hitting coach
Dave Martinez, bench coach
Chad Noble, bullpen catcher
Lester Strode, bullpen coach

Cubs alumni
John Baker, C
Jose Cardenal, OF
Ryan Dempster, RHP
Bobby Dernier, OF
Scott Eyre, LHP
Randy Hundley, C
Fergie Jenkins, RHP
Jon Lieber, RHP
Ted Lilly, LHP
Bill Madlock, INF
Dave Otto, LHP, broadcaster
Ryne Sandberg, INF
Scott Sanderson, RHP
Lee Smith, RHP
Tim Stoddard, RHP
Rick Sutcliffe, RHP
Steve Trout, LHP
Billy Williams, OF
Kerry Wood, RHP

Executives
Tom Ricketts, chairman
Laura Ricketts, board member
Todd Ricketts, Board Member
Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations
Crane Kenney, president of business operations

Baseball staff/broadcasters
Jed Hoyer, executive vice presidnet/GM
Jason McLeod, senior vice president of scouting and player development
Randy Bush, assistant GM
Shiraz Rehman, assistant GM
Jaron Madison, director of player development
Ron Coomer, radio broadcaster
Jim Deshaies, TV broadcaster
Pat Hughes, Radio broadcaster
Len Kasper, TV broadcaster


I'll be hoping to land autographed baseballs from Bryant (as an all star and ROY) and Arrieta (CY) and maybe Maddon (Manager of the Year). All will be difficult.

As for alumni players, I have little interest, and this is where I am usually most attracted. I do have an RC Cola can I'd like to get Cardenal to sign (to go along with my Kingman, Madlock and Monday), and I have a 1971 Sporting News coming in the mail for Jenkins (hopefully, it gets here by next Thursday). I was hoping Beckert and Kessinger would be coming. I will probably take something along in case I have a shot at Williams (who I already have several autos of) and Sandburg (ditto), but I'm not going out of my way to get them. I have a Madlock store model glove I'll try to get signed.

Usually, for the premium names, which would include Bryant, Arrieta, Maddon and the three Hall of Famers, there will be a lottery drawing, so if I pull any of their names, I'm set. If I get Jenkins (signs at his own booth for $20), Williams or Sandburg, I'll try to trade for Bryant or Arieta.
 

dan5

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Tony,

Is there any chance you could get John Lackey for me if you don't need him? I only need him on a card for a set I'm working on. If so what would you need to get him for me?

lmk thanks
Dan
 

Tony Kozelichki

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What card and can you get it to me by Thursday? The Cubs really cut down on vendors last year and buying individual cards has become almost non-existent.
 

dan5

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What card and can you get it to me by Thursday? The Cubs really cut down on vendors last year and buying individual cards has become almost non-existent.

I need him on a 2010 Allen & Ginter in blue sharpie. I could mail it out tomorrow so it should be there by Monday or Tuesday. Let me know what kind of deal you would want to make.

thanks
Dan
 

dan5

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Let's wait to see if I can get him. My address:

Tony Kozelichki
202 E Hunt Ave
Alexis, IL 61412

Ok, I will mail it out tomorrow. I do a lot of IP graphing so if you can think of anybody you would want in trade let me know. I have a ton of cards signed.

Thanks
Dan
 

tigsfan

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At least you get alumni, the Tigers only do coaches and players for as long as I can remember. However one year they had 3 former players that nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, knew were going to be there until they were at a table signing (2 minor league coaches + a third that is a MI native).
 

Tony Kozelichki

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I'm always more interested in alumni when it comes to collecting. I've snagged autos from Santo, Sandberg, Dawson, Banks, Williams, Jenkins, Beckert, Grace, Madlock, Monday, Cardenal, Buckner, Durham, Pappas, Popovich, Lee Smith, Kingman, Sutcliffe, Trachsel, Lieber, Zimmer, Lilly, Dereck Lee, Girardi, Don Cardwell, Hooten, Jerome Walton, Jody Davis, Dernier, Dempster and Gene Oliver, all Cubs all stars, award winners, no hitter pitchers, or members of the '69 team, as alumni signers. This doesn't include players who were current (Castro, LaHair, Rizzo, Sosa, Baez, Soler, Maddux, Wood and others) Cubs at the time of the convention.

Some of the alumni are surprisingly easy to get. Yes, Sandberg, Grace, Maddux are not easy, but Monday, Madlock, Kingman, Cardenal and many others are and often willing to sign multiple autographs, especially when it's an unusual piece (Hundley's catching helmet, Monday and Madlock with RC cans, player model gloves),

My one complaint is that the alumni tend to be the same guys as prior years. You can always count on Tim Stoddard, Dave Otto, and some others to show up year after year. I'd like a little more variety. Last year, George Altman was there and it was the first time I ever saw him and I've made the last 15 conventions.
 

Tony Kozelichki

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Dan... your John Lackey card never arrived. It wasn't even in the mail on Friday or Saturday. Even so, I wouldn't have had a shot at Lackey because he signed at the same time as Arrieta. See my post under "Chicago Cubs Convention report." Sorry I couldn't help you out.
 

dan5

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Dan... your John Lackey card never arrived. It wasn't even in the mail on Friday or Saturday. Even so, I wouldn't have had a shot at Lackey because he signed at the same time as Arrieta. See my post under "Chicago Cubs Convention report." Sorry I couldn't help you out.

No problem, I knew it was a long shot anyway. If it happens to arrive do you mind sending it back?
 
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