The day we mark on the calendar every year before Opening Day. It’s the day when it becomes real again. Spring Training is cool and all, but there’s so many players that you don’t know what to do. Do you applaud that guy in the high numbered jersey who you know you’ll never see again? It’s tough. But, FanFest? You know what to do.
This year at FanFest I wanted to not only enjoy the exhibition game against the Diablos Rojos, but I wanted to see some Gaslamp Ballers I've met before as well other Padres bloggers.
But before all that, I wanted to meet SDHatGuy after seeing him tweet that he was there.
And nobody was going to stop me.
Now, I wanted to meet him because he doesn’t live in San Diego, so I wanted to take the opportunity to meet up with him if I could.
And I did.
SDHatGuy or Tim (his real world name) was there with his girlfriend Diana standing by the new FSSD stage over near Section 122 when I approached him in a fashion that I’d characterize as "not as creepy as it could have been". From there, we made our way towards the Garage Sale because he wanted to see the deals on the hats.
At the Garage Sale, we saw the man, the myth, the legend.
Yeah, I’m talkin’ bout Dex, baby.
And he was doing Dex things.
@FriarFever yeah. I'm trying on youth jerseys with Jodes.— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) April 4, 2015
He was with jodes and CurbEnthusiasm trying on youth jerseys because they were cheaper than regular adult jerseys. To jodes, this was a great deal because she bought one. But, the battle over which one to buy was very strong. I made sure to let my opposition to both jerseys be known at the outset, but she still made me choose. It hurt my soul. And after I chose, she turned it into a Family Feud type of thing where she went around asking 100 Padres fans their preference between the 2 jerseys. She finally did reach a decision though.
During our time at the garage sale, I was talking about how I will sometimes post #BringBackTheSand in the comment sections. This caused Dex to say "I hate you a little more every time you do that." That hurt my soul a little bit, but I could see why he made such a strong statement. He was preoccupied with other things. Dex was spending his time eyeballing a signed Natalie Gulbis baseball, but the price was not right.
Until the inevitable happened.
One of the workers saw us just milling around the autographed balls so, right then and there, she cut the price by 10 dollars.
Dex’s eyes lit up. It was a sight to see. He was given a chance to purchase something he wanted so badly. Seeing that repaired my soul a bit.
After that, Tim went to the Padres Store because the hat selection at the garage sale was not up to his standards. I knew I’d see him and Diana again because I gave him tickets next to me instead of letting him get stuck with the Park Passes he had. The rest of us started walking towards food when we saw Axion. In typical Ax fashion, he stared at us with the intensity of a thousand suns from behind his sunglasses. After a few minutes in his presence, he left us and we proceeded to Hodad’s for what soon became something more.
We sat down. Dex added a table to our table to make some space for anyone who wanted to join us. The table next to us gave us their onion rings. Thank you, other table. jodes somehow ordered water for everyone at our table, which is still hilarious to me. We were joined soon after by daveysapien who came prepared with his own water, so he was set. We ordered some burgers. Dex tried to get all of us to start using apps and games he loved. Like, to the point that I saw him about to pick up my phone to start downloading them for me. He got Davey to download one about space that I can’t remember. Bobby Cressey came and went, but not before breaking the bad news to me that one of my song requests didn’t make the cut.
But then everything changed.
Suddenly, Padres bloggers from throughout the globe started making their way to our table.
Lobshots, RJ’s Fro, Ghost of Ray Kroc, jbox.
There were handshakes and nods. It was all too much for me. I tried to avoid eye contact with them so they wouldn’t order me away from the table. Very intense. Kinda scared to be writing about it here so I’ll stop.
Once we finished, Dex paid the bill, which I am very thankful for. He also snuck a Gaslamp Ball sticker in there too.
Dex and jbox walked away from Hodad's quickly to their next destination. The rest of us started to make our way towards the new FSSD stage when I proceeded to rap every song that they were playing. Every song. And I even rapped other songs. Whether it was good or not, that’s up for debate. Everyone seemed entertained and really that’s all that counts.
(I was totally killing it.)
After some time spent around the home plate seating sections and seeing Axion being really bad at hiding from view as he walked by, we ended up at the Padres Store and looked at some stuff. One of the coolest things that I saw at the store was minor league gear. Chihuahuas jerseys, hats, shirts. Storm and Tincaps shirts and hats. I tweeted about this last year as something I wanted to see at FanFest.
I’m not saying I created this change, but I think the Padres Store finally realized that they might be able to move merchandise for the affiliates.
While we were in the store, I spotted Tonoxtono not dressed like an orange crayon which was fine. I just had to give the double take before I approached him. Wasn’t totally sure it was him until I saw orange shoelaces. That’s when I knew. We then made our way outside the store to the Sea Level Suite.
The Sea Level Suite makes its home where the fenced in area next to the Western Metal Building used to be. Now it’s just a 5 foot fence. And the seats are above the fence, so it’s kinda sketchy just standing there. It was a little frightening to be above the field, but knowing that it’s only 5 feet above it. A ground rule double and you can say goodbye to your teeth. But, I’ll never have the money for those seats so I’m safe.
It was getting near game-time, so I told DaveySapien to come sit with me and Tim. I gave him a ticket and he told me "Alright, I’ll be there in about 5 minutes."
He never showed up.
And SDHatGuy was disappointed. I think mostly because both of them are really tall guys.
But, yeah. Davey never showed up. And that was fine. I had fun hanging out with Tim and Diana at our seats. I talked about how I use Twitter like an evil person and make people unfollow or just mute me. Tim was unsure what #Jeopartweet was so I explained it to him and asked if they had any requests for a livetweet session. There may or may not have been a plan set for one.
After 4 innings, Tim wanted to meet Bobby Cressey so we walked up to see the organ player extraordinaire. When BCres met Tim, it was like a guy meeting his idol. Bobby was very excited to see him. I think so excited that he missed one of his cues. They started talking hats, which of course led the Hat Guy to take out 2 more hats he had in a secret hat briefcase he kept in a secret hat compartment in his backpack. And that soon led to other people showing off their hats to the Hat Guy and causing him to say those wretched words that hurt his soul.
"No, I don’t have that hat."
I thanked Bobby for playing another request of mine, "Mr. Sandman", to which Bobby replied "Yeah, I figured I’d play your stupid Sand song." My soul is taking a hit, you guys.
After such a put-down, Bobby tried to lift my spirits a bit by letting me be in charge of guarding the organ for him while he ran to the bathroom. He told me not to touch the keys while he was gone. When I considered just slowly moving my hand towards the keys, a Padres security guy put his water down on Bobby’s mini-stage so I knew I had to keep my distance.
We then said goodbye to Mr. Cressey and made our way down to the FSSD stage so we could make faces at Dex during the Blogger’s Takeover segment in the 6th inning. All the bloggers including Darklighter were there already trying to get into the camera shots. We couldn’t hear a single word any of them were saying on stage. It wasn’t until jbox heard a faint whisper coming from one of the speakers that we could hear the last minute of the segment. A little disappointing, but hey. It’s Dex on TV. That’s a gift. Even if he didn't do the robot because he doesn't want to be typecast as "that blogger guy who only does the Robot."
After the segment, the bloggers talked about whatever they talked about next to the stage. It was another 5 families situation that I stayed out of. Ghost of Ray Kroc and I briefly discussed how they were all #RuiningTheBroadcast. We also both let out a #JumpOnTheSandwagon yell before everyone started to leave.
I said bye to Ghost and his huge camera that people kept bumping into. I said bye to Dex and jbox as they disappeared into the distance like the players in Field of Dreams. I said goodbye to jodes, CurbEnthusiasm, and Darklighter as they were leaving to go hang out with the other bloggers. I said goodbye to Hat Guy Tim and Diana as they left to beat traffic on their way back up the freeway.
I went searching for Tonoxtono and Axion because I knew what section they were in but they were nowhere to be found. I spent the last inning and a half by myself for the first time in 6 hours. After the final out of an 8-0 Padres victory, I walked out of Petco Park for the first time this season with my soul restored to its original setting.
It was a pleasure seeing the people I already knew and those who I met for the first time. You were pretty great this year, FanFest. I’ll see you in 2016.
But, Petco Park? You'll see me again this year.
I will be back.