Weakened Warrior (The End)
If the point of the Major League Baseball All-Star Fan Fest was to create an event that captured the tedium of your average baseball game, then the event was an unqualified success. Assuming that wasn't the intention, it was only fun if you were really into waiting on long lines. After two days of running around, I wasn't feelin' it, dawg.
I went hoping to score a couple of free autographs from the baseball legends (and Steve Sax) that were scheduled to sign as part of the event. I figured there'd be a long line when I got there, but I didn't figure that it would, according to the Fan Fest worker, be about a four-hour wait. And since the players were on two-hour shifts and there was no schedule posted, you never really knew whose autographs you'd be getting when you got on line. There was a time in my life when I would've gladly abided by those rules. That time is long gone. But here are Luis Aparicio (obscured) and Dick Williams signing.
With that part of the day opened up, I had plenty of time to get a head start on completing the other task of the day: getting an autograph from Nicole Eggert's costar on "Who's the Boss," Alyssa Milano, who was promoting her line of baseball fashions and jewelry. I was ahead of the game this time, lining up about an hour before she was due to start signing, which turned out to be a very wise idea considering how long the line ended up being. Unfortunately, the line was far too long to accommodate photos with Ms. Milano, so that dream is not yet fulfilled. In fact, after the first few people in line snapped photos, security decided to enforce a "no photos past this spot right here" policy, which resulted in some unintentionally comical confrontations between undersexed men and security. This was the best I could do before I crossed the no-photo line.
Ms. Milano also signed her autograph to me with a heart, so I suspect there will be a pretty intense catfight for my affections between her and Ms. Eggert. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, let it sink in that I met Nicole Eggert and Alyssa Milano in a slightly-more-than-24-hour span. C'mon, if it were it 1989, you'd think I was the coolest guy in the world. Man, how I wish it was 1989.
Ms. Milano asked me if I was enjoying Fan Fest and, because it seemed like a question she didn't really want an answer to, I took the easy route, lying that I was enjoying myself before briefly mentioning the lines. A lot of the attractions were cool (get your picture on a Topps baseball card/on a New York Post cover/on a USA Today Sports Weekly cover/making a catch over a replica of the Yankee Stadium fence, do play-by-play, take a few swings against a video simulation of a major league pitcher), but the lines ranged from an hour to two hours, and I didn't have that kind of time. So I just wandered around and took in a few of the exhibits and snapped some uneventful photos not worth posting. I should've taken a picture of the umpire posing behind home plate in front of the giant baseball shown above. He was all bronzed up so he looked like a statue, and he would occasionally scare the crap out of people by moving or yelling. By the end of the day, most people had caught on, but it was fun to watch the ones who were clueless.
There were two other highlights that, combined with meeting Alyssa Milano, prevented the day from being a total bust. First I bought an adjustable hat of my new favorite minor-league team, the Montgomery Biscuits. I doubt I could put into words how great it is to own a baseball cap (to go with the hoodie recently purchased in Cooperstown) with a white-gloved biscuit on it is. So I won't try. I will just say, Go Biscuits!
The other thrill was seeing Jack McDowell--maybe my all-time favorite player but at least my all-time favorite non-Met--as he got ready to do a show for MLB.com. I didn't get his autograph or anything (already have it...from the time I saw his band, Stick Figure, at Manitoba's), but it's always cool just to see Jack McDowell. And, yes, he was a Yankee, but I forgive him. Especially since he gave Yankee fans the finger after they booed him. I think that makes him my all-time favorite Yankee too.
After Fan Fest came the annual Jimmy Sturr show in Jersey City. It was an awfully nice day to be in Liberty State Park, made even better by watching a man in creased jeans lead his polka band to the delight of the seniors in attendance. Sadly, this will likely be the only time I see Mr. Sturr this summer, but I was glad to at least get one in. Summer's not summer without Jimmy Sturr.
So, 'twas a full weekend, no? Oh look...here comes another one.
I need some rest.