I went to Giants Fan Fest last Saturday. It was my first time, even though my novel Better Than Perfect opens at a fan fest. I researched it by listening to the radio broadcast and watching video clips on the internet. But I’d never been because my kids always had Little League tryouts the same weekend.
But this year I wanted to go and experience it for myself. I’d heard from people who’ve been there that it would be crowded and if I wanted to get autographs I’d be better off going to Spring Training. I wanted to watch the interviews and go down on the field and just soak up the atmosphere. But I took a Sharpie, just in case.
We left our house at six am, to drop our teenager off at the high school for his ski team practice. My husband usually goes with them, but he missed the first fresh powder in over a month, for me.
We got to the city and saw the line stretching down the Embarcadero, we worried about how crazy crowded it was going to be. I’d read that the main parking lot was offering free parking, but figured it would be full by the time we got there. We actually were able to park for free in San Francisco. It was after nine, the gates didn’t open until ten. It took us about a half an hour to get inside. I knew I wanted to watch the KNBR interviews so we made our way down to the seats in front. We couldn’t get right behind home plate, that section was reserved for VIPs. But I sat down in the Lexus Dugout Club.
I could get used to sitting down here. We were just below field level, right next to the dugouts. Oh, and the seats were padded, very comfortable. We could see team owner Larry Baer chatting with someone right there on the field. My husband took my eleven-year-old son to the giant Coke bottle slide. They found the World Series trophies and sent me a picture of them. They also bought me a Barry Zito bat and grab bag of memorabilia to support the Junior Giants program.
Larry Baer walked over to the wall separating us from the VIP section and signed a few autographs but I was so dazzled by his World Series ring that I forgot I had a pen. There are a ridiculous amount of diamonds in that sucker.
After he left, I reached into my backpack and pulled out my Sharpie, ready in case closer Sergio Romo or starting pitcher Tim Lincecum came by our side on their way back after their interviews. They didn’t. But right fielder Hunter Pence signed autographs on the other side on his way in. Someone behind me said, “Hunter will come over here.”
I watched his interview, enjoying his comments about riding his motorized scooter to work instead of a luxury car and getting Buster Posey to eat kale. He finished the interview and was introduced to a few VIPs and the people around me were calling his name. He walked over to us and started signing autographs. Someone wanted him to sign something, but he said it wouldn’t work on whatever it was and then he signed that person’s program handed out to each of us when we entered. He signed a few more programs and a couple of baseballs and apologized saying he was told he had to head out. The guy next to me shouted, “Just one more, Hunter.”
Hunter Pence nodded, “Just one more.” Then he smiled, right at me and reached for my program and pen. He scrawled his signature across the front and then also signed for the guy next to me, because it would be kind of rude to just sign for the lady. I thought he was going to keep my pen but he handed it back before turning to leave.
I ended up getting my garlic fries, wandering around the field for a while, touching the grass, stepping on third base and taking all kinds of goofy pictures. There were huge lines for the autograph booths and we really couldn’t tell who was in each booth. That’s ok, I got an autograph from one of my favorite players. The guy did inspire the opening scene of my second novel, Worth The Trade, when he joined the Giants in 2012.
So I went into the day with realistic expectations. I knew I wasn’t going to “hang out” with any of the players or get tons of autographs. I knew it would be crowded, I knew I wouldn’t be able to see it all, but I hoped to have a good experience. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was pretty excited to meet Hunter Pence and see Larry Baer’s ring up close. So yeah, in a lot of ways it more than met my expectations.
I am looking forward to the release of my first novel in about nine weeks. I’m not really sure what to expect. I know I’m not going to become a millionaire overnight. I’m hoping my book finds an audience and that my readers will enjoy getting to know Johnny Scottsdale and Alice Harrison. I hope they will look forward to the next books in the series.
I hope someday to make someone’s day with a smile and an autograph from one of their favorite authors.