People sometimes ask me questions like, "Dex, if you could improve eight things about Padres Fan Fest, what would they be?" And I'm like, "There are only six things I would improve. Here they are." And then cut me off with questions like, "Why don't you, instead of talking that stuff at me, write it into words and post those words into a blog post for me because this was something you used to do more often than once a month?" And by "people", I mean "jbox".
So fine. I will tell you the six things I would improve about Padres Fan Fest because that's what I do.
Thing One: More non-players at the autograph tables
If there's one thing that I've learned in my 10 years as a baseball blogger, it's that I realize that, for the most part, I kinda don't care about meeting baseball players. I've met my fair share and it's a mixed bag in terms of personalities and stuff like that, but in the end, I just want to see those guys play baseball and do ridiculous things that gets them into the news. The people I really enjoy talking to are people like Josh Ishoo and Corey Brock and like Troy Johnson and John Weisbarth and whatsername the cute girl that I got to know on Twitter and then went on to some other TV station. Those are the people with the good stories.
Those are my peeps and I want their autographs on awkward non-player memorabilia. They all have black and white heads shots. I know this because I've seen their black and white head shots hanging at D.Z. Akins. I want that stuff.
I'd be totally down with tables and waiting in line for those folks. While all the lame little league kids wearing Cardinals baseball caps and the greasy baseball card shop owners with the big teeth wait in line for like, Kyle Blanks' autorgaph or something, I would go and creep out Bob Scanlan and Dennis Lin for a while, and that would be rad.
Thing Two: The Padres Garage Sale should be more like the Spring Valley Swap Meet
You know who has a lot of Padres crap that they're trying to move for a buck or two? The Padres. You know who else has a lot of Padres crap that I'm trying to move for a buck or two? Me. The Padres should section off a bit of the parking lot and allow people to lay out tarps and stuff and sell their Padres memorabilia. They could make it extra authentic and have a guy pushing a cart around amongst the vendors selling chicharrón and hot dogs wrapped in bacon and soda pop in glass bottles.
It would be a great time rummaging through people's giveaway hats that they somehow managed to get like eight of and were unable to sell on eBay. Maybe one booth would be of a guy painting the names of players onto canvas, but only instead of regular letters, the letters were like fish or something. And another guy would be selling hooded ponchos with bootleg Padres patches ironed onto them. I'd spend hundreds, if not dozens, of dollars on that crap.
Thing Three: Leave those fireball trash drums out in center field and have them explode fireballs while people are trying to catch fly balls
Truth. Catching fly balls that are being thrown to you by Padres interns after the fly ball machine overheats is no fun unless you add in the terrifying reality of fireballs.
Thing Four: Have the Padres signing autographs at the autograph tables sit on giant pillows
This way, people can look over at them and regularly quip about how there's a Padre at every pillow. This in fact is very doable. I would even go so far as to have different pillows for different players. Matt Kemp could have a leather pillow... Andrew Cashner would have a crocheted pillow with ducks on it... Carlos Quentin could have one of those overly bleached pillows covered in paper like you find at a hospital... Because he's always in the hospital... Etc.
Thing Five: Treat the introductions of new players more like an Apple event announcing a new iPad
The main stage that they have constantly up where they do live chats with players and staff is pretty good. Don't get me wrong about that. A steady stream of folks coming up and introducing themselves to us. A pretty good variety of just about anybody the fans might want to hear from.
However, it could be made better with some Steve Jobs in Hall H type fanfair (no pun intended). Imagine if an image of the old outfield was displayed on a giant screen with a black background. All of that particular model's specifications up there as well. And then we moved to Outfield 2015, code name Mt. Whitney or Emperor Penguin. And like we show how the average waist pant size for the old outfield was 38 and now it's 34. And the processing speed is something like 8 math problems per minute and now we're up to 9. That sort of thing.
Thing Six: Build a giant wagon pulled by horses and put a band on top of it for all of these people we haven't seen around the past few years
Nuff said. (This is referring to a bandwagon).
No news yet as to when exactly Fan Fest will be, but when it is there, I would fully expect all six of my suggestions implemented. For Padres fans the new year starts at Fan Fest!!!