Category Archives: fan fest

25 Signatures and One BIG Piece of Wood

The Infamous Tatianas bat-- before

The Infamous Tatiana's bat-- before

When Mario gave me my own baseball bat for my birthday last year, I had no idea what to do with it. Sure, it was pretty awesome having my own bat with the name “The Infamous Tatiana” engraved into it, but what could I use it for? A door stop, a reaching pole, a self defense weapon? All very likely choices, but Mario suggested taking it to the few games left in the season and trying to get signatures.

If you have ever read any of my posts about going to games, you will know it is damn near impossible to get any Marlins player to come by the buses after a game (except for Andrew Miller). Be that as it may, I still tried to bring my bat and with many unsuccessful attempts, I finally gave up and left the bat locked away in my dark closet at home.

An entire 5 months passed by and the 2009 Fan Fest was now upon us. Mario thought it would be a great opportunity to try to get a couple of signatures. So, I got my silver Sharpie and black bat and made my way to Dolphin Stadium. Upon arriving, Andrew Miller had begun to pass out free donuts. When he saw Mario, he said it was good to see him and asked if I was around. I went to greet Andrew, wished him all the best, and alas, I received my very first signature! Mario said that it may be the only one I would get and to try not to be too disappointed. I knew that I would get at least one or two more because I was willing to wait in the ridiculously long autograph lines.

We walked onto the field at approximately 12:00 pm and made our way to the first line. We had NO idea who was signing, but my goal was to get all the Marlins players to sign (with the exception of that damned Taylor Tankersley!). When I finally reached the table, I was relieved to see Anibal Sanchez and Zach Kroenke. Bam, 3 signatures. I was pretty darned pleased with myself… until I looked to my left and saw Jorge Cantu. I quickly ran to the end of that line and about 30 min later when I was the 2nd in line, Jorge began to get up and leave. “Jorge, me puedes firmar si tienes un momento” (“Jorge, can you please sign if you have one moment”). To my surprise, Jorge Cantu responded to my begging in his native tongue and turned to sign just one last time and then he disappeared. I then saw John Baker, one of my absolute favorite Marlins, emerge from the crowd. I prayed that he would come to our table. Instead, he sat at the one directly next to mine. I took that moment to attempt to talk to him. He turned around, greeted me, shook my hand, and held a good conversation with me for a couple of minutes. John Baker was actually so interested in what I had to say, that he turned the chair around a bit so he could hear me better. It was amazing and John is just simply a stand up guy.

So far, this day was turning out to be amazing. I was happy with the few autographs I had gotten and if the day was to end right then and there, I would have been very pleased. Andrew Miller remembered me, Jorge Cantu went out of his way to sign on last item for me, and John Baker was the coolest guy ever! I was in heaven, but the day just kept getting better. Now, we did hit our rough patches and got shut down by a few (Chris Volstad, Wes Helms, Tony Perez, etc) and I did get into a physical altercation, but as the seconds, minutes, and hours went on, I kept meeting more amazing players and getting more signatures on my bat. My once completely bare black bat was now quickly turning to silver from all the players that had left their mark on it.

As the day progressed, I was lucky enough to bump into John Baker again by the gated area and I called to him for his autograph. I didn’t think he would come over because he had just finished signing for an hour, but to my surprise (again) he came over for me (and only me) looked at my bat and gave me a chuckle as he signed. “The Infamous Tatiana, huh?” I couldn’t help but smile and blush.

By the time I reached the V.I.P. party that afternoon, there was barely enough space left on the bat for more signatures. Cody Ross, Alfredo Amezaga, Jeremey Hermida, and that darned Chris Volstad had all looked for nice clean spots to leave their mark. Even Hanley Ramirez was left looking for a good spot to put his John Hancock!

At 6:00 pm, I sat down and spun my now silver bat around. I stared in awe as I saw each unique squiggle and I nearly got myself sick trying to figure out whose squiggles was whose. Upon my arrival to my home at 6:30 pm, I patiently sat down and went over each encounter in my head. I finally ended at 25 different autographs, 25 different experiences, 25 new memories created to be cherished. While other fans have to deal with self involved and money hungry players, I have the pleasure of having the friendliest and most caring. I never realized just how lucky I truly was to have the Florida Marlins as my team until this day.

25 Signatures:

1. Andrew Miller
2. Anibal Sanchez
3. Zach Kroenke
4. Jorge Cantu
5. Alfredo Amezaga
6. Hanley Ramirez
7. John Baker
8. Matt Lindstrom
9. Rick Vanderhurk
10. Burke Badenhop
11. Cameron Maybin
12. Ricky Nolasco
13. Chris Volstad
14. Logan Kensing
15. Fredi Gonzalez
16. David Samson
17. Billy The Marlin
18. Cody Ross
19. Jeremy Hermida
20. Gaby Sanchez
21. Ryan Tucker
22. Jack McKeon
23. Brett Carrol
24. Emilio Bonafacio
25. Leo Nunez

Completely

Completely

and

and

totally

totally

badass.

badass.

The first of the day - Andrew Miller

The first of the day - Andrew Miller

And the very last - Hanley Ramirez

And the very last - Hanley Ramirez

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I’m Baaaaack!

If there was ever anything that would get me back to this blog, it was yesterday’s 2009 Florida Marlins Fan Fest and an eagerness for the brand new season filled with fresh faces and hope. Despite the many efforts of others (Wax Heaven, Dinged Corners, etc.) this economy had me worrying about only one thing since the day my husband became unemployed. I could not longer focus on baseball, writing, or other joys in my life. I had to concentrate on work, especially after the major “Black Friday” held at my company where about 30 people were laid off in one day. I needed to prove my worth, and when it came down to it, I was one of the valuable players and have been ‘guaranteed’ employment.

Like usual, the day began early for us. We arrived at the stadium at 8:30 am. Andrew Miller walked around early morning and passed out free donuts, and surprisingly enough, he remembered us! As usual, it was deserted until about a 1/2 hr prior to the Fan Fest beginning and 2009 tickets going live. The ticket lines were filled with Yankee fans that couldn’t wait to get their hands on tickets for Father’s Day weekend when the New York Yankees will get shut down by the Marlins :). I purchased my two tickets and then quickly rushed inside.

Compared to last year’s Fan Fest, this year’s was a bit less organized. It was held ON the field, versus outside of the stadium, which was simply awesome, but very chaotic. For the first time, fans could access practically every part of the stadium with out security chasing them down, and if you were V.I.P. you were spoiled beyond belief.

All the Marlins players (with the exception of a few) were friendlier than I could have ever imagined. For the most part, they were happy to be there and each took as much time as they could to sign for and pose with everyone. Some went out of their way (John Baker, Ricky Nolasco, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu) and some just couldn’t be bothered (Chris Volstad, Wes Helms).

I’ve learned that the majority of people that were there were only interested in one thing. An autograph. The moment a certain popular player would emerge, everyone’s animal instinct would come out and the area would suddenly turned into a mosh pit. I was waiting patiently for Gaby Sanchez to sign my bat, when Hanley Ramirez came out and I knew my life was over. I was at the very front of the stage the players were on, and there was a huge mob behind me. This was just not good. People were pushing, shoving, stepping on, falling on, leaning on, elbowing, punching, you name it!

At one point, a very large man put all his weight on top of me, crushing me, stepping on me and scratching my arm so hard that I immediately started to bleed. He didn’t even so much as apologize or make sure I was okay. So, I took matters into my own hands and nearly knocked the wind out of him when I socked it to him in the ribs. I was sick of people thinking they could get away with treating each other like garbage and harming each other physically for a measly signature. Children were getting stepped on and punched. If it wasn’t for the fact that I loved my bat so much, I would have smashed it up against someone’s head. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior.

Despite my little altercation, I was able to meet Burke Badenhop which made my day because he is also another very nice Marlin. After meeting him, Mario and I ventured into “back stage” to see if we could track down any other Marlin’s whose signatures I needed. We struck up a conversation with two girls who were desperately looking for Dan Uggla. After asking one of the women that escorted the players around the field if Dan was still there and not receiving the answer they hoped for, they decided they would leave. They gave us their “VIP” passes (season ticket holders were the only one’s able to receive those) and she told us about a special party going on up stairs.

Mario and I made our way up and our eyes widened when we saw who was at the party. Andre Dawson was just leaving, as was Brett Carrol, but Alfredo Amezaga, Cody Ross, Cameron Maybin, Jeremy Hermida… they were all there and there was no one nearby to tell you to leave them alone. They were all socializing with fans, signing, posing, and having a good time! We were able to gain access as I guilted the woman at the table to let us in. (You needed a company name to enter and the girls didn’t provide us with one) It was the most amazing scene. For once, you could approach these players with out a large mob. I was finally able to calmly meet Hanley Ramirez and other ‘hard to access’ players. If we had these passes from early morning, I doubt we would have left the room and I highly doubt I would have gotten into that altercation earlier in the day.

Like annoying party guests, we were the last ones to leave the V.I.P. party room. We made our way down stairs at 6:00 pm to watch the grand finale- – fireworks. It was an amazing 10 hour day. We accomplished a lot, met practically the entire team, and left with ear to ear grins on our faces. The Florida Marlins may not be an ‘amazing all star’ team, but we have relatable players that care about their fans and take the time to show them that.

I can’t wait until Opening Day!

Before

Before

After

After

The Infamous Tatiana and her 25 autographs!

The Infamous Tatiana and her 25 autographs!

Robert Andino, myself, and the new guy

Robert Andino, myself, and 'the new guy'

Chasing down Cameron Maybin

Chasing down Cameron Maybin

In the Marlins Clubhouse

In the Marlins Clubhouse

Doin it up V.I.P. style, baby!

Doin' it up V.I.P. style, baby!

Jeremy Hermida--totally nice and funny

Jeremy Hermida--totally nice and funny

Chris Volstad- Finally got the little...err... big bastard!

Chris Volstad- Finally got the little...err... big bastard!

Me and Hanley Ramirez... kinda.

Me and Hanley Ramirez... kinda.

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The 7th Annual Florida Marlins Fan Fest!

Last night was a night of preparation for me. I had to get my outfit prepared, change handbags, and shave my legs! I wanted to look my best for my Marlins and for any readers we happened to bump into. The festivities didn’t begin until 10:00am the next morning, but I was ready to go at 11:00pm that evening! So, with the feeling of butterflies in my tummy, I set my alarm to 6:45am and attempted to get some sleep.
The next morning, we awoke to tragedy when we saw that Mario’s car had been stolen from our drive way. Why anyone would choose to steal a 2001 Pontiac Grandam over a 2004 Nissan Altima is beyond me, but it happened. After filing our report, contacting the appropriate parties, and dropping off our little monkey at grandma and grandpa’s, we were on our way.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the car incident, but when we pulled into the stadium parking lot, all of my worries faded away. I was just looking forward to meeting a couple of players that I admired and maybe getting a few great photos.
The Fan Fest began at 10:00am, and we rolled up at 8:00am. Everything was still being set up. The bounce houses were flat on the ground, the batting cages being tested, the tables were all bare, and the two World Series trophies hadn’t even been brought out yet. Despite all the volunteers, it looked like a ghost town compared to what it would look like in a couple of hours. I am a HUGE chicken, so I was concerned someone would tell us we weren’t allowed to be on the premises; but I toughened up and did my thing, I mean if anyone tried to give me a problem, all I’d have to do is go all Cuban on them, right?
We wandered around a bit when out of nowhere we saw our destination. The booth that handed out the autograph session tickets. A few people came after us and stood in line for about 5 minutes and then made the decision that they would come back later, but Mario and I stayed. We were very dedicated to our purpose: to meet Andrew Miller. We waited in that line for a good hour and a half before the actual volunteers showed up.
I then heard two sneezes that I knew didn’t come from Mario, because his are usually very loud and awkward. I turned and blessed him and within seconds, the sneezer and I had a friendly conversation about players we were looking forward to meeting. We asked if he new which session Miller would be in, but after checking in his books, he had no idea. He felt bad for us, knowing we had been waiting in line for a good amount of time and told us that if we see Miller at a specific signing, he would try his hardest to get us passes. We decided to try the first signing because I was beyond excited, and at 9:30am we made our way to the autograph tables and braced ourselves for another wait. A half hour passed and I was beginning to get concerned. The signing was to begin at 10:00, no players were in sight, and we had a 10:30 tour to attend. Finally some guy came out and I heard “oohs and ahhs”. I caught a glimpse of him and I had no idea who the heck he was. As a matter of a fact, I still have no clue who he is. Sorry, guy.
A couple of minutes later, I smelled a strong scent of cologne and as I turned to see who it was, TWO huge men walked passed me. I recognized one man, Mike Jacobs, and his friend was someone I did not know, Taylor Tankersley. The signing had begun and I felt very disappointed. We got two autographs, and Jacobs was really nice to me, but as I left I heard the boy that was behind me in line say, “Man, that guy is a jerk! He wouldn’t answer my questions!”. So aside from one of the guys apparently being a jerk, there was no Miller.
We then rushed over to our tour that included exclusive access to the Marlins dugout and press row. As the tour began and we were being led into areas we had never seen before, Mario gasped and yelled, “THAT’S LUIS GONZALEZ!!”. Like secret agents, we slipped away from the group and made our way to the area were Luis Gonzalez and Dallas McPherson were. Luis Gonzalez was deep into an interview when we arrived, but McPherson was sitting on the side and looked like he just wanted to go have fun. He was a super cool guy that I was very happy to meet.
After saying a few words to Mr. Gonzalez and snapping a few great shots, we headed off to find our group. After being denied access into the “special” building a few times, we were finally able to rejoin our group and continue the tour. We made it just in time for the dugout, which includes full access to a toilet! But no sink? Gross. The tour was very informative and it even included it’s own 35min infomercial!
Once the tour was finally over, Mario ran off with out me to the ground floor of the stadium to see who was now signing and I played a “Marlins Wheel Of Fortune” game and won a kick ass Hanley Ramirez figurine! As I finally reached the ground floor I heard, “BABY! ANDREW MILLER IS SIGNING!” My heart sank. I saw the line at Andrew’s table and then I saw the line at the autograph ticket table and I knew my chances of saying ‘Welcome’ to Andrew were over. We tried to get closer to snap a few photos and the Miami Dade police came on their little Segways and an angry Haitian security guard coped an attitude with me, no, the Cuban was not unleashed….
I had very little hope, but I remembered our friend at the ticket table and wondered if he could help. I explained to him how the session we attended had people I had never seen before and how now, Andrew Miller was signing. I told him I didn’t even want an autograph. I just wanted a photo and to say hi. He looked at me and with sadness he said, “I don’t have anymore passes for that session.” I was really let down, but it wasn’t his fault and I knew that it was very unlikely that he would have any passes left. He turned to me again and said, “Come on, follow me, let’s see what I can do.” And like my knight in shining armor he led me to where the angry Haitian lady was and asked me to wait for him. He disappeared into the huge masses of people and spoke with whomever he could to help us. After a couple of minutes, he emerged with two passes. I would have kissed him if I wasn’t married! I couldn’t get over how wonderful and kind this guy was. He truly loves his job. I offered to buy him lunch, but he chuckled and told me to enjoy my day. In case you are reading this, my nameless hero, thanks again, you really made my day!
We were now in line and I couldn’t wait to meet Andrew. He looked so adorable! You could see that he was very sincere and the one thing I truly loved is that he had this innocence about him. He seemed so genuine and like he was really happy to be there. He was the only player smiling through out the entire session. Andrew, you really made me a bigger fan today, than I was before. I wish you loads of luck this season and for the rest of your career. I will be at as many games as I can afford in order to cheer you on. I hope you don’t forget me!
After getting an auto and a photo with Andrew, I could have left right then and there and been absolutely content, but I wanted to see Mario do his thang at the batting cages, and even though it has been a couple of years and some would say he is a bit rusty, he didn’t miss one ball. I am very proud of my very own baseball player. 🙂

All in all, the fan fest was a huge success for Mario and myself. There was never a dull moment and the entire day was filled with nothing but laughs and smiles. I will most definitely be attending next years. I’ll see you there!


Flashing my baseball cards


Boh excited and nervous while waiting for the auto session to begin.


Who are you, Mystery Marlin?


They look like the Marlin IRS.


Mr. Tankernsley


Mr. Jacobs


The President of the Marlins being interviewed by 790THETICKET


LUIS GONZALEZ… slightly dazed and confused!


Me and Mr.McPherson… he makes me feel short.


Me and Ricky Nolasco in the dug out.


Me and Mark Henrickson… feeling short her, too.


I miss my DTrain. 😥


WHEEL OF FORTUNE!


My prize. 🙂


My Hero. ❤


Miracle passes.


All smiles, Andrew Miller.


He was seriously the sweetest guy ever!


Me and Billy the Marlin… he totally tried to make out with me!


March 28th. Marlins vs. Yankees. My chance to meet Derek Jeter!


Finally home, after a long day, snuggling up with my Hanley prize.

 

 

 

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