By 5:25 when the Bloggers Forum was beginning and Baltimore Sports Report would be represented by Jeff Pilson on the main stage, I had been at the Convention Center for ten hours, and was carrying around boxes upon boxes of bobbleheads and baseballs.
Orioles Fanfest 2011 was a complete success all around in drawing in every type of fan in the community. With constant forums occurring for the fans interested in hearing from players, coaches, media members, and more and autograph and photo lines for those wanting memorabilia and personal experiences, the two floor Fanfest experience for over ten and a half thousand fans proved to be successful for yet another year.
The lower floor, the main room, included the following features:
- Fan Forum stage to listen to Orioles players, coaches, organizational leaders, and media members
- Coca Cola Field where there were clinics run for kids throughout the day by Orioles players and coaches
- Three autograph stations
- Promotional Giveaway stand
- Batting Cage and Speed Pitch for kids
- Meet the Bird stand
- MASN Fun Feud game and photo opps
- Season plan account reps available to help you purchase tickets (single game tickets went on sale at the start of Fanfest)
- Stands with Sarasota trip planners, minor league affiliates, and seasonal employment opportunities
The top floor, all of the excess set ups that didn’t fit on the lower floor, included the following features:
- Orioles bingo, with guest bingo callers (different Orioles) and promotional giveaways for winners
- Photo stand for you to have your picture taken and printed with various Orioles
- Kids Only autograph station
- Memorabilia sale and silent auction
Fans could also walk over to Oriole Park and go on continuous tours (with no tour guide, just access to the stadium) that included the clubhouse, a place fans do not get to see during seasonal tours.
The main unlisted item of interest that I found throughout the day was Brady Anderson signing and taking photos with fans on the top floor (see the top right picture above).
And by 5:25, BSR writer Jeff Pilson was on stage with fellow bloggers Chris Stoner from Batimore Sports and Life, Daniel Moroz from Camden Crazies, Neal Shaffer from The Loss Column, James Baker from Orioles Post, Stacey Long from Camden Chat, and Pete Kerzel from MASN Sports to speak about the state of the Orioles, the blogging world, and to answer questions from those in the seating area.
With questions about how each blog functions, opinions on different signings and trades in the Orioles organization, and the closing thoughts about the Orioles 2011 record and a speculative Vladimir Guerrero signing, Steve Melewski hosted a very interesting forum with points of view straying from the general beat reporter or team representative.
And as 6:00 PM struck, the Baltimore Convention Center emptied out. While most fans fled to their cars and headed home, I made my way to the Baltimore Blast game.
What a day.