TigerFest 2015: Well, THIS is Completely Unexpected (A Play-By-Play)


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First of all we arrive at 9am and the Early Entry line actually isn't that bad, but by the time the season ticket holder line opened the line was probably back to the scoreboard (which means the Tigers Club to the corner with Cheli's, then all the way across the outfield). Did the earlier arrival pay off? Then keep reading fool!

With B, C/D (run together) as the early lines this year, we stuck to the straight up and in line strategy from 2014 (reminder: only C/D were early lines last year, no B). Once up, I went to the left (D) and Dad went right (C): ironically my ticket number was #666 and wasn't yet aware of the signers so I took this as a bad sign. Upon getting closer I find out C is Joe Nathan and D is Victor Martinez: not too shabby! But wait... my best Nathan item is with me and not Dad: so the hand-off that many people do in the lines was conducted pretty flawlessly.

Victor Martinez 2012 Topps, Joe Nathan ticket stub from 9/9/14 (SV #30/pick off Dyson at second base)

After that we went our separate ways as Nathan signs quicker (duh), I made a quick stop to the Foundation Fire Sale knowing the line to get in is huge after GA get in... and I am in their by myself and 7 workers! Found something I had to pick up.

Triple Crown, regular Miguel Cabrera, Miguel Cabrera back-to-back MVP, mini Justin Verlander bobbleheads/figurines $5ea

By now its 1045, so its time to find a line: so I check out B for the heck of it! Come to find out they had a few early entry signers tickets left as people waited for them to switch to the next one. I didn't know who was up there, but I took it for the gamble. Come to find out the wait may have been worth it, until I figured it could've messed up my timing of all later lines. If I was a season ticket holder and got this I would've been unpleasant about it.

Daniel Fields 2010 BCP FY, Wynton Bernard Whitecaps ice cream helmet

I exit the line and find out that B remains empty of people, so what the heck: let's try it again! Got one the last tickets for session two so the waiters and I got the same guy: HA! Nothing glamorous but I actually needed this one so it's alright (note: I heard session three was Alex Avila, who I have so I'd prefer this over him unless I had brought my 1/1 printing plate for him to sign).

Al Alburquerque 2011 Topps Update RC

Meanwhile my Dad headed to the service level (basement) to get the front of a line before it opened: he went left which I'm not sure if that was E or F as the guy kept the whole ticket there and gave back just the number part. Well in comes the guy that gets the crowd going as he walks up to the right line's table, begins to sit down... and PSYCH he is actually at the left table. Still I think they got a fair constellation prize with Jose Iglesias, but I got Jose last year so this was just fine.

Justin Verlander 2008 Topps Year In Review insert "Verlander Hurls No-Hitter" (the one from 6/12/07)

So two big names, not bad for this early: pretty much matches my 2013 with Cabrera/Fielder. By this time my dad throws in the towel and calls it a day, but we will re-visit him later. Anyways, I found him and handed off the figures I bought to free up my hands. By this time, let's just say the chaotic nature that TigerFest is known for had arrived. I hopped back in C/D which to get up the stairs went down to B's entrance, all the way across to the end of the covering (97.1 booth) and wrapped one last time to about the spot where C/D exits at (If it sounds like hell, you must have been there before). The line actually moves at a good pace, so the wait is what I'd estimate to be 90mins. This time I go right since nobody else was, and I figured the D #666 from earlier is looming over me. The line ends up being halted until 115 or so as they are waiting for players to come for the session. The guys for my line enter first (even though I thought one went to each side until I got closer). While the new starters are over in D, Shane Greene and Alfredo Simon, we get the arguably better pair (plus I have Simon from a mail in last year to Cincy and Greene I didn't have anything for).

Yoenis Cespedes 2012 Topps RC, Bruce Rondon ice cream helmet (sharpie had died and he knew it but didn't have another, I planned on moving it anyways)

Man, this day is just getting better as I keep going. Me and dad meet up and agreed to do one last line and call it a day. We did the same thing as earlier and got in (the much longer than this morning) C/D line. Just to keep the good vibes going, I said we should split the same as this morning so I took D and he took C again. We each got the beginning of session six so the guys signing weren't for us (I had VerHagen and Lobstein, he had two guys I couldn't tell who... but matching photos on Twitter to Krol and Farmer). After seeing a few guys coming through the walkways outside and going the other way (and Ausmus coming up the elevator), the first guy enters and gets going at C and would've been happy with that to finish the day. Then our guy for D enters, and people are going crazy like you'd probably expect.

Omar Vizquel 2003 UD MVP, David Price 2009 Topps RC

So that means the big four guys on the day (w/ Anibal, Kinsler, Soria, and Miggy being all absent today) were all acquired before 300 even rolled around. I could tell I would not get through another line before they closed them, so we headed home after what perhaps may be the best TigerFest ever in all my years when it comes to quality.

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They didn't close any autograph lines, and moved the beer hall line to the team store (running next to the kids line), so I would say more chaotic. The less successful people would say it went worse with all the one person sessions (I heard something about def. coach Matt Martin as well as Kyle Ryan being the only signer at some tables) being pretty bad.