Every year the Los Angeles Dodgers put on a Fan Fest consisting of autograph sessions, meet and greets and various other activities. 2018 was my first year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, much like other major sports teams, put on an annual Fan Fest to show their appreciation towards the massive Dodgers’ fan base. 2018 served as the sixth annual installment of Fan Fest and had a record-breaking, just under 35,000, people in attendance. Only nine teams averaged more than 35,000 fans last season.
I was one of those 35,000 people in attendance, attending my first Fan Fest. I’ve wanted to come to Fan Fest for years now, but outside factors always kept me from coming. To be honest, I was surprised and a bit overwhelmed by the massive crowd.
There was one mission of the entire Fan Fest: meet Enrique Hernandez. I managed to get an autograph session without any problems, refreshing the Dodgers’ page right before they dropped at 2:30 on Monday.
Hernandez certainly is not my favorite Dodger, however, my girlfriend is in love with him. She constantly jokes how that is her man, how she was with the love of her life at Fan Fest (and I was there too). I laugh when she says it, but deep down, I worry that one day the Puerto Rican outfielder will fall in love with her (a la some corny rom-com movie).
While she may have gotten a tad too excited to meet him for my liking, it was an overall successful experience. She got Hernandez to sign her phone and he even retweeted her tweet. Her excitement when she woke up from her nap, to see her phone’s flooded notifications, on the car ride home was priceless.
Besides that, the crazy lines limited what we did. We waited about 20 minutes to pay $40 to pick a signed baseball out of a blind bag. We ended up getting Billy Ashley, who admittedly, I had never heard of. Ashley played 268 games with the Dodgers over six years, never really gaining any traction after being a phenomenal minor leaguer.
We watched a couple of the on-stage interviews before waiting in a 30-minute line for food. We lined up around 12:30 near the right field plaza entrance. Huge mistake. A lot of fans were just now arriving, a lot were leaving the field to get food. That caused a two-way traffic jam that resulted in a lot of bumping elbows and a lot of hot, upset, people.
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My girlfriend was definitely one of them. “If one more person rudely bumps into me without saying excuse me or sorry I am going to go crazy,” she said. After the food, we watched Hernandez’ onstage interview, then lined up for his autograph.
45 minutes later and we met Rob Segedin and Hernandez. According to Segedin, Clayton Kershaw is the best ping pong player in the clubhouse. According to Hernandez, it is Tommy Lasorda. After that, we waited in a couple lines to spin some prize wheels (in which I won carne asada seasoning) and headed home around 3:30.
I wish we could have done more. We arrived right at 10, but by the time we got in, it was 10:30. I heard a couple people say they opened the entrance as early as 9:30. My advice: if you want to do any of the photo ops without missing an autograph session or waiting an hour, show up early. Do those first.
Overall, it definitely was a fun experience. I won a Chris Taylor GIF card:
I did come up about 10 seconds short of winning a styled out bag with a Justin Turner signed baseball. I saw the tweet about three minutes after it posted. As I was walking up, I saw another girl showing the attendant the tweet.
Congrats to Anabel, but that really should have been my bag. And baseball. And photo op. Ugh.
Overall, the Dodgers Fan Fest was a pretty great experience that I will probably do again. If I can get more autograph sessions for the actual price ($25 opposed to the $75+ people were reselling for) then I will definitely go again. Dodger Stadium, I will see you again in April.