Baltimore Orioles 2013 Fanfest Guide

600x400_BAL_fanfest_2013_v3_lyu6kc0u_4mh6krfuJust 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.

My first tip, right off the bat (pun intended), is to obtain early admission tickets if you haven’t already.  2012 season ticket holders should have received theirs in the mail, but if you were not a STH, search eBay and Craigslist for some.  With these tickets, you get access to Fanfest starting at 10:00 AM (as opposed to 11:00 AM for the general public).  With this early admission, you have the opportunity to get some free autographs, 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 a action packed day ahead of you.

Basic info:

DATE: Saturday, January 19
TIME: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET
ADMISSION TICKET PRICING: Adults $10;
Children 14 & Under and fans 55 & over $5
AUTOGRAPH VOUCHER PRICING: $15 per fan
PARKING: Free parking for all fans is available in Lot B/C
LOCATION: Baltimore Convention Center (Sharp St. Entrance), 1 West Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201


Here is your 2013 Orioles Fanfest A to Z Guide (asterisks mark sections that I definitely recommend checking out as they 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

Update 1
Fanfest Map

Autographs
Screen shot 2013-01-13 at 3.12.21 PMAutograph vouchers, with all proceeds supporting the Orioles Reach charity (Since instituting the autograph policy in 2011, FanFest has raised over $185,000 for the Orioles Charitable Foundation (Orioles.com)), went on sale last Saturday (January 5th).  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 $15 autograph voucher within the first fifteen minutes of them going on sale last Saturday (and then turning around to sell it for $255).  There is a LOT to do at Orioles 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 third year in a row now, limited to children ages 4-14.  The line is long from open till close, but there is absolutely no charge for kids to rotate through the line as many times as they possibly can.  3-4 players 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 containing 3-4 individuals.  I would recommend showing up by 9:00 AM, if not earlier.  Last year, the crowd by then was pretty large, and the excitement is even heavier heading into 2013.

Season ticket holders have had the following players the past two years:

2011 – Brad Bergesen, Mark Reynolds, Brendan Harris, Al Bumbry

2012 – Brad Bergesen, Jake Arrieta, Dana Eveland, Chris Hoiles

I have heard rumors of those included this year to be names like Nate Mclouth, Chris Davis, Danny Valencia, Xavier Avery, Al Bumbry, and Chris Hoiles.  I would expect a few of those names, if not all from that group, as well as possibly some surprises.  I can tell you now that Brad Bergesen will not be making his third straight appearance at this table.

3.  Be patient lucky.  There are scattered places 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, leaving a fan photo session, and once even Brady Anderson sat at a table and signed and took pictures with fans for over a half hour, free of charge and totally unscheduled.

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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 Brian Roberts’ 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.

Tip: Sign up for a partial plan with the Bowie Baysox and receive a FREE Manny Machado bobblehead.  Sign up for a partial plan with the Frederick Keys and receive a FREE bobblehead of either Manny Machado or Dylan Bundy.

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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
Easily the most underrated part of Fanfest for the every day fan who wants to meet an Oriole and get their picture taken.  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.  For no additional charge, this is 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 JJ Hardy bobblehead.

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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 2013, 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.

UPDATE (1/16 1:15 AM): Ken Singleton will no longer be in attendance at Fanfest.  He was originally scheduled for two autograph stations (2 at 12:40 and 4 at 4:40), and has now been replaced at both of them with Lew Ford and Mike Devereaux.

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Feel free to click below to download a PDF of a scanned Fanfest map from last year.  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 last year’s.  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.

20 Comments

  1. Melvin Baynard Jr

    January 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Is there any guidelines to what items you can have signed? Like I thought of getting a baseball bat signed

  2. Allan

    January 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    This is a Fantastic article! Thanks Avi and keep up the great work. If this doesn’t get you pumped up for FanFest, Nothing will.

  3. mystery man

    January 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Hey you guys , the incher will sign anything you have for free behind Cap.t Harvey’s in Dundalk.

  4. STEVE FREW

    January 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    THIS IS VERY HELPFUL,,,AND WILL BE SHARED IN THE ORIOLES MAGIC FB GROUP

  5. Johnathan

    January 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Great stuff! Very comprehensive

  6. Avi Miller

    January 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    @Melvin – Practically any item is allowed. Bats, balls, pictures, cards, helmets, signs… you name it, they’ll sign it. Since it is a team function, players aren’t limited by any contracts, so even the guys like Adam Jones and Manny Machado will sign sweet spot for example. But there are no limitations that I know of in terms of items as opposed to when you go to the ballpark and can’t carry around much. Obviously, though, this lies within reasonable consideration, but I trust you know what crossing the line would be realistically.

    @Allan – Many thanks, look forward to seeing you down in Baltimore for this!

    @mystery man – I’ll let you handle that situation on your own.

    @Steve – Appreciate the kind words!

    @Johnathan Glad you enjoyed it! Go O’s!

  7. Matt

    January 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Awesome! Thanks for the info.

  8. ron

    January 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    first time going. do they provide items to get signed if you do not have anything for a particular player?

  9. Avi Miller

    January 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    @Matt – Not a problem! Enjoy the event!

    @ron – Yes, each player will have cards to sign at their station in the case that you do not have an item for each individual to sign.

  10. Terpsfan31

    January 15, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    How are players about asking to sign more them one item when you go through the line? Not trying to get 5 items done, but an 8 x 10 and card per player?

  11. j.r.adams

    January 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Great stuff; thanks; keep up good work;
    think anyone can park in B/C lots (don’t have to purchase a ticket in advance);
    also – get to the forums early and get a front row seat so you can see well and maybe get your questions answered;
    appreciate your help.

  12. j.r.adams

    January 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    is the b lot or the c lot closer? do both have handicap spaces? thanks.

  13. Avi Miller

    January 16, 2013 at 12:27 am

    @Terpsfan31 – Players may be okay with it, but it is hard to get away with because there are multiple Orioles workers/volunteers at each station to make sure things are running smoothly and they generally will stop people from getting seconds. So, I recommend bringing both items if you want, but definitely put down the higher priority one first. Or try putting them both down with the card on top of the pic and the player will see it but hopefully the Orioles personnel won’t catch it. But no guarantees; their policy is one auto per person per player.

    @j.r.adams – Anybody can park in B/C lot. The B and C lots are connected, just such a big space that they give half of it a different name. Just pull in and there are handicap spots near the front of the lot. But if you have somebody with you that cannot walk long distances, do know that it is still about a two-three block walk to the convention center from the closest spots, so drop anybody off who would need that help.

  14. ron

    January 16, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Is there any possibility of getting inscriptions? Mainly was wondering if Palmer typically will add HOF if asked.

    • spy

      January 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

      These prima-donas will say or add anything for a price,,,,,,it’s all about the Benjamines……………….

  15. Mike

    January 16, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    This really good information this is the only place I was able to get the answers to my questions maybe you can help me with this one. I know the line’s will be long Saturday I was thinking about getting to the convention center around 10:30 to get good place in line when doors open to public at 11. So I wouldn’t miss anything do you think it really matters.

  16. Avi Miller

    January 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    @ron – Most players are fine with inscriptions, BUT I’ve never gotten a HOFer at Fanfest, so I don’t know, for example, what Palmer would say. I am going to go for it as well, and we can meet back here Saturday night and discuss our experiences.

    @Mike – Appreciate all of your kind words! Glad I could be of help! As for the line for the general public…you should be fine at 10:30. So many season ticket holders pawned off their tix on Craigslist and eBay that it seems like such a high percentage will be getting in at 10. But once you get in at 11 you will have missed out on very little. The free signing is only for 250, so if 3,000 people are lined up to go in at 10, most get screwed. Duquette and Showalter will have a forum later in the afternoon as well, so you will be able to hear them regardless.

  17. Kris

    January 18, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Are the Orioles going to announce which players are signing early for season ticket holders before the day of the event?

    • spy

      January 18, 2013 at 8:57 am

      They will all sign for the right price , fool/…………..

  18. Jinks

    January 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Will there be a sepewrate line for the season ticket holders? Last time we went we waited in line to get in early but got mixed up with the others and it just seemed like no orginzation outside in he lines for the early birds and regulary admission.