Saturday the 2013 edition of Royals Fan Fest took place at the Overland Park Convention Center after a year’s absence. My dad and I left Omaha before dawn to make the event before the general public was let in since he’s a season ticket holder. With how big the crowd was and the lines, this was a smart move on our part.
We decided to open up Fan Fest going to the Royals Majestic store garage sale to see what that had to offer. Standing in the mammoth line, I noticed that David and Dan Glass were walking through the crowd mingling with fans. At one point I heard David say “We’re glad you’re here and looking forward to this season”. Funny how an offseason move builds goodwill.
Autograph lines when we got in were long at all six of the stations. My dad and I were more interested in what we could find on sale. And again it looked like each line was at least 30-45 min long which wasn’t a guarantee to get those players in our opinion.
A few minutes later in line Bruce Chen and Danny Duffy wrapped up their autograph session. I wished Bruce good luck at the World Baseball Classic in March which he said he appreciated before moving to his next engagement. Another observation was Duffy had number 41 on his royal blue jersey instead of number 23 which he’d been wearing.
Inside the sale a lot of previous giveaways were available for purchase including the banners that hung around the K on the lights and “elsewhere in the parking lot”. I did wind up purchasing one that had the 2012 All-Star Game logo on it (seemed like it could be a nice wall piece at some point).
During the time in line I listened to the main stage where Ryan Lefebvre, Dayton Moore and Ned Yost were having a Q&A on various topics, such as offseason moves, the current roster and how close the organization might be. As I continued to move through the line I picked up a couple $5 hats which included a blue Kansas City Athletics hat and this season’s stars and stripes hat.
One of my favorite things about these events is the ability to buy discounted jerseys of current and former Royals. I picked up a road Ryan Verdugo jersey from this season while my dad decided he wanted a Vin Mazzaro. Seeing some of the names of previous years was awful tempting to purchase just for the humor in it “anyone want a Wilson Betemitor Sean O’Sullivan jersey?”.
After the shopping we sat in on the Q&A of the infielders (Billy Butler, Alcides Escobar, Chris Getz, Johnny Giavotella, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas) plus Salvador Perez. My take away was when asked what each players favorite park to hit in besides the K was interesting.
Butler and Hosmer said Fenway while Getz and Moose liked Angels Stadium but the answer which got the best reaction was when Sheriff Sal said he loved hitting at the Cell. Sal in his young career has three homeruns on the Southside.
After that we decided to head back to Omaha but on the way out they had a card show going on which for $5 I picked up a “Splitt” patch from the 2011 season. It just seemed like a nice item to pick up after my first Fan Fest. Optimism seemed to be on full display on this pleasant Saturday in Kansas which should only continue to grow before Opening Day in April.