I had the most perfect day at Orioles FanFest on Saturday. Everything went exactly how I wanted it to go. I love it when that happens! I haven’t been to FanFest since 2012 – when I finally got my picture with Brady Anderson. I had met him a handful of times over the years, but had never gotten my photo with him. I decided to go to FanFest this year when it was announced Brady would be doing one of the autograph sessions. I don’t like the idea of paying $20 for an autograph, but I found out 100% of the money goes to charity so I was ok with that. And if Brady was there for an autograph session, I knew he would definitely be at one of the Fan Forums as he is the VP of Baseball Operations for the Orioles. (To learn about my 26 year love affair with Orioles Hall of Famer Brady Anderson, please click here.)
FanFest, which is held in the Baltimore Convention Center, was to start at 11am and there was free parking in lots B and C at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I arrived to lots B and C just before 11am, but those lots were already full so they directed us all the way back to Ravens stadium at the lots under bridge. Luckily it was a nice, unseasonably warm 65 degree December day, so the long walk to the Convention Center was enjoyable. As soon as I entered FanFest, I scoped out where Brady’s autograph session was going to be at 12:40 then went to the Fan Forum to scout out a seat for Brady’s Fan Forum at 12:00 – it was actually the Front Office Fan Forum, but I was only there for Brady.
When I arrived the Catchers’ Fan Forum had just started. I found a seat in the fifth row off to the left. I am now a big fan of Caleb Joseph, Orioles backup catcher to Matt Wieters. Caleb is great – very funny and all around good guy. When asked if he would rather play every day, he answered that he would rather go to the playoffs as a backup catcher than play every day and not go to the playoffs. When that fan forum was over, I moved up two rows and over to the center section. Then I spotted a seat in the front row, so I moved again. Now there was nothing to interfere with my view of Brady, or my pictures or video. I took SO many pictures and videoed Brady’s responses to every question.
As soon as Brady left the stage, I ran over to opposite side of the hall to get in line for Brady’s autograph session. I stood in line for an hour – Nolan Reimold and Dylan Bundy were also in the autograph session. When I finally made my way to Brady, I just said Hello and thanked him for signing my baseball card and he said, “It’s nice to see you again!” Now he probably meant because he just saw me sitting in the front row at the fan forum taking tons of pictures and videos of him.
We weren’t allowed to take pictures during the autograph session, so I waited for Brady to finish and walk down off the stage. He greeted Mike Bordick with a hug, then told those of us waiting for him he would be right back. About 15 minutes he returned and took photos with all of us who had been waiting for him. I asked him for a quick photo, and he said, “Sure!” and immediately put his arm around me putting his hand on my neck, grabbing my neck and my hair. I loved it! I put my arm around his. I was just going to take a selfie, but this woman offered to take the picture for us. He took her a while because she took a few pics. All I remember thinking is Brady’s hand is on my neck! I thanked him and walked away trying not to squeal with glee!
Even though I hadn’t eaten since a lite, early breakfast, I decided not to eat at FanFest because I still had to do the the Clubhouse Tour at Camden Yards and pick up my parents from the airport at 5:30pm – and it was already 2pm. I would just let the excitement of meeting Brady nourish me. The Clubhouse Tour was great fun! We only had to wait about ten minutes before we got to go through. It was a self guided tour that included the weight room, Buck’s office, the locker room, the dugouts and concluded on teh field with a photo with the Oriole Bird dressed as Santa.
To see all of my 116 photos from my day at OsFanFest, please click here.