2014 Baltimore Orioles Fanfest Guide

Orioles Fanfest 2014Just like the Orioles and all MLB teams have an A to Z Fan Guide on their respective team website, I present to you the A to Z Guide of sorts for Baltimore Orioles Fanfest 2013.

Before you even get to Fanfest, you will need a ticket.  Do your best to obtain early admission tickets from a season ticket holder (STH). Scour eBay and Craigslist, or if you know any STHs, ask them to help you out.  STHs can log right onto their Orioles account and purchase extras for $12 a piece.

With this early admission, you have the opportunity to get some free autographs (first 250 people in line are given a voucher for a free autograph booth with Nick Markakis, Bud Norris, and Jemile Weeks), hear an exclusive Q&A with Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette, as well as have first dibs at memorabilia sales and promotional items.

If you don’t have an early admission ticket, or are a casual fan arriving at noon or later as planned, you still have an action packed day ahead of you.

Basic info:

DATE: Saturday, February 1
TIME: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET
ADMISSION TICKET PRICING: Adults $12;
Children 14 & Under and fans 55 & over $6
AUTOGRAPH VOUCHER PRICING: $20 per fan
PARKING: Free parking for all fans is available in Lot B/C
LOCATION: Baltimore Convention Center, 1 West Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201


Here is your 2014 Orioles Fanfest A to Z Guide (asterisks mark sections that are unique to the Fanfest experience):

 

Autographs*
Batting Cage and Speed Pitch
Bingo*
Coca Cola Field
Concessions
Fan Forums*
Meet the Oriole Bird
Memorabilia Sale and Silent Auction*
Minor League Affiliates
Oriole Park Tours
Player Photos*
Promotional Giveaways*
Sarasota Vendors
Season Plan Account Representatives
Seasonal Employment Opportunties
Xbox 360

Final Tips and Info
Fanfest Map

Autographs
Fanfest 2014 Autograph ScheduleAutograph vouchers, with all proceeds supporting the Orioles Reach charity, went on sale Saturday, January 18.  They sold out almost instantly.  If you snagged some, be sure to show up at your station no less than thirty minutes after its scheduled start time to guarantee yourself the autographs.

Don’t fret if you weren’t one of those lucky fans who grabbed a $20 autograph voucher within the first fifteen minutes of them going on sale.  There is a LOT to do at Fanfest besides getting autographs.  Though if autographs are your thing, there are a few options still available to you:

1. Bring a kid with you.  No, seriously.  There is a kids only autograph line at Fanfest for the fourth year in a row now, limited to children ages 4-14.  The line is long from open til close, but there is absolutely no charge for kids to rotate through the line as many times as they possibly can.  3-4 players/coaches will be present to sign autographs at all times, though there is no schedule here and no appearances will be announced in advance.

2.  If you have an early admission season ticket holder pass, show up early.  The first 250 people in line for the event get a free voucher for an autograph station featuring Markakis, Norris, and Weeks, as noted above.  I would recommend showing up by 9:00 AM, if not earlier.  Last year, the crowd by then was pretty large, and the excitement for the event seems parallel to years past.

3.  Be patient.  There are scattered activities all over Fanfest where you can catch a player or two for an autograph, but it is nothing that can be predicted.  From memory, I can recall players signing coming off of the stage after a forum or leaving a fan photo session.

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Batting Cage and Speed Pitch
The batting cage and speed pitch games are brought over to Fanfest from Oriole Park’s kids play area.  Along with the Coca Cola Field, these two features are perfect for kids not wanting to wait in line for autographs.  Unfortunately, just like at Oriole Park, the batting cage and speed pitch are limited to kids only, so if you were looking to show off that 67 MPH heater, it will have to be done elsewhere.

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Bingo
The bingo setup may be the most underrated feature of Fanfest.  A perfect opportunity to take a break from the excitement, bingo winners here get all sorts of Orioles related prizes, sometimes including autographs and game used memorabilia.  Surprises like former player bingo callers and baseball related trivia are always a blast.  Just search out the area with elderly couples stationed all day and there you will find bingo.  Grab a playing board whenever you see someone stand up, they are limited and hard to come by!

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Coca Cola Field
Former and current players and coaches host multiple clinics here on this miniature sized baseball field throughout the day for kids, with bleachers for parents and bystanders to watch on.  Clinics include topics such as fielding, baserunning, batting, and pitching.  Great photo opportunity for the little ones.

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Concessions
They sell ballpark food and drinks (soda and beer) at ballpark prices (high) at multiple stations set up all around the Fanfest floor.

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Fan Forums
A fan favorite year in and year out, the fan forums are a chance for Fanfest attendees to take a seat and hear from everybody related to the Orioles organization, from player to coaches to media members.  With scheduled forums throughout the day, be sure to take a look at the lineup when you arrive so you can be present for any topics of interest to you.  These forums include questions asked by the hosts (possibly Jim Hunter or Steve Melewski as in the past), Q&A opportunities, and arbitrary remarks from those on stage that will keep you entertained.

The lineup of speaking groups may include (but not limited to):

  • Former Orioles
  • Starting Pitchers
  • Baseball Operations
  • Infielders
  • Coaching Staff
  • Media
  • Outfielders
  • Up and Comers
  • Bullpen
  • Bloggers

Tip: Pay attention between sessions, as there are usually a few Oriole trivia questions asked to the crowd with Oriole related prizes going to the winners, like MASN and MLB.com hoodies.

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Meet the Oriole Bird
Get your picture with the bird, his autograph on an Oriole Bird trading card, and a high five.

 

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Memorabilia Sale and Silent Auction
Maybe my favorite part of Fanfest, the memorabilia sale upstairs is a fantastic feature for those looking for Orioles game used items without breaking the bank.  Don’t expect to find Adam Jones’ batting gloves or Chris Davis’ cleats but you can find batting practice jerseys for $50, game used jerseys for $100-$200, game used hats, pants, and more for under $50, and even game used bats for $80-$100.  Ever seen your friends hanging one of the Oriole Park light pole banners in their houses?  This is where you can get them.  Those prices have all stayed pretty consistent over the last few years, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go up in 2013 after the O’s playoff run (plus Peter likes his money).

Tip: Come prepared with some cash in hand (even $50-$100) and you will be able to leave with a few great souvenirs.  I recommend checking out the game used hats section, as many of the hats can be found in popular sizes and practically brand new, with no signs of use.  They have cost $15-$20 in the past, much less than the retail prices of $35-$45.

Another Tip: Hit up the memorabilia sale later in the day, around 3:00 or so, for highly discounted prices.  Though mainstream names will most likely be gone, jerseys are discounted to ~$15 and other items even less.  Great opportunity to get some O’s gear on a budget.

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Minor League Affiliates
Check these tables to sign up for season tickets and such with the Orioles minor league affiliates.  The Delmarva Shorebirds, Frederick Keys, Aberdeen Ironbirds, Bowie Baysox, and Norfolk Tides will all have tables here, often with giveaways and raffles for tickets and memorabilia as well.

 

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Oriole Park Tours
Tour_MapLast but not least, a fantastic feature year after year of Orioles Fanfest that actually does not take place in the Convention Center are the free tours of Oriole Park.  Simply leave Fanfest through the main doors (but don’t forget to get your hand stamped for reentry), walk on over to the home plate plaza at Oriole Park, and you will be directed from there down the elevators and through the tunnels behind the scenes.  It is a self guided tour, so while there are employees set up all over to help out with directions and to keep things at peace, you are allowed all the time you want in the tour.  The key to this tour opposed to any tour given during the regular season is that it includes access to the Orioles clubhouse, a very neat scene to see for those of you have haven’t already.  Take pictures by your favorite player’s locker, in the dugout, and on the steps leading up to the field.

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Player Photos
At this booth, you get in line to have your picture taken with whichever given Oriole is there at the time, and it is printed and put in a small matted frame for you on the spot.  Orioles players rotate in and out every half hour or so.  The charge last year per person was $5 for each time through, but this remains a great perk that isn’t talked about much.

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Promotional Giveaways
For those of you who like free stuff, this is the place for you.  It is a very simple concept.  The Orioles bring whatever is left in the storage room in the warehouse over to Fanfest and give it out.  I would expect them this year to have the replica statues, floppy hats, tshirts, and more.  Sometimes I have happened upon items from years past as well.  Either way, it’s a pretty sweet deal, but be prepared to deal with a line around the whole upper floor just to get your shot at a replica Adam Jones jersey.

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Sarasota Vendors
Travel agents are set up here with packets of information for you to plan out a trip to see the Orioles in Sarasota for Spring Training.  Stop by for some ST pocket schedules, which you can’t find anywhere else.  Also, they have given away a free trip to ST the last three years, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they do this again.  All you have to do is put your name and contact information down.  And I can vouch for the validity of this raffle; not only have they always announced the winner at the end of Fanfest over the speaker system, a friend of mine once won a few years back as well.

 

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Season Plan Account Representatives
If you’re interested in signing up for season tickets in 2014, this is the place to go.  Much better than ordering online, they can help you with details and really help you figure out what ticket plan is best for you.  Don’t forget that the morning of Fanfest is also when single game tickets go on sale online and at the Orioles main box office on Eutaw Street.

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Seasonal Employment Opportunties
Want to work for the Orioles in any capacity?  Stop by this stand.  Opportunities available with the grounds crew, promotional team, warehouse positions, and more.

 

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Xbox 360
Video game stations set up with the latest MLB games free to play for all in attendance.

Fan Forums
Please do remember that all information in this guide is subject to change and mostly based on past years’ experiences, so things could always be switched up a bit in 2013.  I generally expect the event to run as usual, but you never know what surprises can be thrown your way.

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As you can see, the opportunities are endless to fill up your day at Orioles Fanfest.  The casual fan may decide to grab some food and listen to forums all day, while the energetic fan can run around and take advantage of each station a little bit.  You can’t go wrong.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment on this article or send me a tweet at @AviMillerBSR and I will surely get back to you.  This article will be updated all week as more information is revealed about the event.


Feel free to click below to download a PDF of a scanned Fanfest map from 2012.  With the event being  in the same space and using the same entrance (as opposed to 2011 when it was on the Pratt Street side), I fully expect the layout to resemble this one.  While there may be some changes, this should give you a pretty good idea of how things are set up.

2012 Fanfest Map

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Avi Miller is a graduating senior at Stevenson University aspiring to one day cover the MLB beat. A member of CoSIDA, Avi currently works in sports information at the NCAA Division III level and has previously held positions with the Baltimore Jewish Times and Fox Sports Radio.