Monday, February 3, 2014

Dodgers FanFest: Feelin' like a kid again

Shawn Green signing autographs at Dodgers FanFest.
I have an irrational love for Shawn Green. He was my favorite Dodger player growing up as a kid and still is to this day.

So when I found out he would be signing autographs at Dodgers FanFest on Saturday, I absolutely had to go.

However, this was not the first time that I have met Green.

On April 24, 2004, my dad took me to a game against the Giants to celebrate my 11th birthday, which had been a few days earlier. We sat on the field level, only a few rows behind the Dodger dugout (this was before the Dodgers turned these seats into premium seating).

We had arrived early, in hopes that I could get autographs from players. Yet, there was only one player I had in mind, and that was Green.

I stood around scanning the field for any sign of him, but I did not see him. Finally, I found Green taking part in some pregame photos with a special guest behind home plate.

As the gathering concluded, he turned and started to walk towards the dugout. Now was my chance. Wearing my Green hat and jersey, I yelled to him asking if he would sign my glove. He saw me and happily obliged. My world was made.

But that was not all. At this point in his Dodger career, Green was playing first base. So when the third out of the inning was recorded at first on defense, Green would throw the ball into the crowd on the way to the dugout.

After an inning where the Giants' third out ended with a putout at first, Green jogged to the dugout, spotted me in the crowd, and tossed me the ball.

I was in shock. Not only did I get an autograph from my favorite player, but also a ball.

To put the cherry on top, late Dodger pitcher Jose Lima (RIP) signed the glove as well.

Fast forward to 2014 and the autographs in ballpoint ink on the old, tattered glove have faded away, but the memory is still as bright as ever.

That's why going to FanFest Saturday meant so much to me. It was an opportunity to reminisce about my childhood idol once more, while wearing the same hat I wore almost 10 years ago (the jersey was too small).

Thank you Shawn Green, for allowing me to be a giddy kid again, all with just the stroke of a pen. I will never forget it.

The FanFest Experience

Vin Scully speaks to the fans at Dodgers FanFest.
The energy from the Dodger fans and players today was so electric. Almost everyone believes that the team is on its way to competing for a World Series title. The optimism was great to see.

The activities were fun, although a lot of them were aimed towards younger kids. I realized that I apparently cannot throw a baseball faster than 50 MPH, which is why I am a writer and not a ball player.

The Dodgers held a question and answer session with a variety of Dodgers players, legends, and broadcasters, and as always, Vin Scully, rightfully so, stole the show.

He told some classic stories, including how difficult it was to not be able to go to the bathroom, while being the Grand Marshal at this year's Rose Parade. He even talked some more after the fans asked for an encore.

The Dodgers put on a highly successful event today, which could mark the start of a highly successful season. Only time will tell.

Photo credits: Jason Drantch, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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