On Saturday, a week after the Oakland A's fanfest my friend Dan was celebrating his birthday by heading to the Giants fanfest at AT&T Park. I was at home, minding my own business, when he called and said he was in a crazy long line to get in, and if I wanted to join. Because it was his birthday, and he was by himself, I said fine. It's only a short bicycle ride from my place in SF to the park, so what the hell. I was planning to do chores or start my taxes...the Giants fanfest couldn't be worse than that, could it?
I thought I would make the best of it and pick up a graduation present for my brother, who unlike my sister and I (who share an A's ticket package) is a Giants fan. Yeah, I know, my friends and even family are Giants fans. And I'm surrounded by them living in SF. I'm sure many of you deal with the same. Even though I came pretty late there were a lot of deep discount game used and autographed jerseys and other items available.
Dan really wanted to get at least one autograph. I realized I didn't have anything to sign. I tried to find a baseball to purchase but they told me I had to go all the way down to the team store on the street level. I decided to buy a Ray Durham autographed ball instead, for $20. Not bad, especially since I fondly remember his stint with the A's. I also later found out that blank baseballs were selling for $30. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
The handiwork of the immortal 2B/DH Ray Durham
I checked out what was going on down on the field. Mainly it looked like a ton of lines, and boring interviews by KNBR. They were asking all the same terrible sports journalist questions about team chemistry and that kind of stuff. There was not an opportunity for fans to ask questions there. I greatly preferred the panels that the A's put up, there was some thought in the players (and former players, which was cool) that were lumped together, the interviewers were much better than Ralph and Tom (ugh) and fans were actually part of the experience.
Giants employees are yelling at me (the end of the line is THAT way!) as I am trying to find my way around, but I finally do get back. Dan and I get some Irish coffees, and continue waiting. And waiting. And waiting. At least there were ample concessions stands open.
Long ass line, no end in sight.
Around 1:30, this little girl who was with her dad (who we were chatting with in line) decided to go up to the front and ask how long it would be; they apparently told her one hour. Around 2PM the line starts moving really fast...because they cut it off!
"What part of 'we don't give a shit about you' is hard to understand?"
So Dan had waited in line for over 3 hours, I had been there for 2.5...and, nothing. Unbelievable that they didn't cut off the line at noon or 1 given that they knew there was no way we could have gotten autographs. Terrible. We then went down the field into the locker rooms and dugouts, so at least there was that.
I won't call it a total waste of time, because being outside on a nice day by the Bay does edge out taxes and chores. I'll just say it left something to be desired.
Rating the fanfests:
Merchandise and Concessions: Giants (lots more food/drink/memorabilia choices)
Staff and Logistics: A's (the Giants players apparently merited police escorts; they didn't even have security guards at the A's fanfest. Also loved the Giants autograph line experience.)
Baseball Content: A's (much better guests and interviews)
Activities: A's (it was really smart that they had separate lines for player pics and autographs, and that broadcaster thing was pretty fun. Also the fact that you could just walk up to players and take pictures was great)
Overall: A's (wait a second, did I actually just give props to the A's marketing department? Maybe the Mayans are right.)