I Have Never Been So Happy
I am normally a very happy person. But I have never been as happy as I was this weekend.
The White Sox did not fail to disappoint. When I went in 2008, I had a blast. All the players I met were nice, and the lines were relatively smooth. SoxFest 2010 was waaaaaaay better.
Initially, I didn’t like the idea of having wristbands for photo booths, but the idea grew on me since I was guaranteed a picture with these guys. And considering the money I spent in order to get these autographs and pictures, it was a good idea.
Friday night was just for hotel guests. Which is why Rachel and I spent $400+ on a hotel room and SoxFest passes. We got to the hotel at 2 and checked in. We were downstairs and in line by 2:30. Doors opened and we ran up to the fourth floor and got our wristbands for the AJ Pierzynski and John Danks signing. I wasn’t sure which jersey I was gonna wear because I wanted to wear AJ’s jersey for his autograph and John’s jersey for his autograph. Since they were together, I couldn’t. So I decided on wearing John’s since he had just signed a contract.
I got all antsy in line because…well, they’re my favorites. They came in from the opening ceremony celebration, and I basically died of happiness. We went through the line, and we were actually interviewed by someone for some morning show I’ve never heard of. At one point, she said something like, “John Danks…he’s hot, isn’t he?” And my immediate response was, “Incredibly.” I’m awesome. So we got up to the front and John signed Rachel’s baseball. Then he signed my picture. I was calm, cool, and collected and asked him how his finger was. He said it was great and checked out fine. Good to know! I moved down the table to AJ. What I was gonna say was something to the effect of, “Hi AJ. How are you? *wait for response* *something related to the Gators, as they’re my college football team of choice* Thank you!” What came out was, “Hi AJ. How are you? *awkward pause as I stared, starstruck again* Thank you!” I was ready. I was ready for this when I was talking to John. I was ready to hold a conversation with AJ. And I didn’t. Again. *sigh*
After John and AJ signed, Rachel and I went downstairs to get a picture with Mark Teahen. When we got downstairs, we found out that they still had a BUNCH of wristbands for Mark Buehrle. Which was unexpected. So I got to meet Mark Buehrle and take a picture with him. So nice, so sweet. We finished there and got back in line for Mark Teahen. We were first in line which was sweeeeet. When Mark came up, he asked one of the SoxFest workers to record some of the photo sessions. So I’m on a video for Mark Teahen. That was totally awesome. And Teahen is incredibly nice and super adorable.
After the photo booths, we went to get Mark Kotsay and Jayson Nix’s autograph. Mark signed for Rachel and I, and Jayson signed my ball. Rachel had a stuffed dog wearing a White Sox hoodie, and Jayson signed that. And took a picture with it hahaha. So Friday night was an overwhelming success. We crawled into bed around 11:45 for our ridiculously early wakeup call.
We made it downstairs by 5:30 and were promptly greeted with a relatively big line. Apparently people slept in the lobby to be, like, the first people in line. Some were in line as we were waking up. I mean, I’m dedicated and all, but if I’m paying $120-something a night at this hotel, I’m sleeping in a bed, not a chair in the lobby. And I’m taking a shower too.
When we first started planning on Wednesday, Rachel and I wanted Buehrle. But after careful consideration, we decided not to try since eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeveryone was gonna want his autograph because of the perfect game. We then decided we wanted Jake Peavy. That didn’t work out well, so we went to take pictures with Gordon Beckham and were the first in line. That poor kid (I can call him that since I’m two months older than he is). He came in, and you could tell he was hungover hahaha. But he was so nice and so sweet.
After those pictures came the picture I’ve been waiting six years to get. We got in line for a picture with AJ. I got up there and said, “Hi AJ. How are you?” He said he was good and we took the picture. Then I asked him for a hug. And he was sweet enough to say “sure!” I then proceeded to tell him he made my life, to which he laughed a little. Rachel got her picture and proceeded to tell him that I’ve been his biggest fan for the past six years. He was flattered and grateful that I was such a fan.
And on the offchance AJ will ever see this…
You’re welcome, AJ. You got me back into baseball, and I love you for it. You play the game the way I love seeing it played. You’ve been my favorite for six years, and you’ll be my favorite until the day I die. Thank you for being so nice and so sweet to me this weekend. You really have no idea how much it means to me.
After we left AJ’s picture line, we went downstairs for a picture with John Danks. We got in line, but before John came down at noon, Scott Linebrink took pictures. There were, like, five people who voluntarily came down to get his picture. I felt kinda bad for him. Other people in the Danks picture line did too, so we asked the people controlling the lines if we could leave our stuff and take a picture with Scott. I think they felt bad for him too, so they totally let us. You can tell
I’m not ridiculously excited like I am in every other picture I took, but Scott’s a really nice guy. Everyone says he’s got great stuff, but for whatever reason, he doesn’t have it come game time. I hope he does this season.
We got back in line and waited for John Danks to come for pictures. John was awesome and actually came about 10 minutes early to start pictures. So I walked up for my picture and wow. He smelled amazing. There are three possibilities as to why he smelled so good. One, he has awesome cologne. Two, he has awesome deodorant. Three, he naturally smells amazing. I dunno what it was, but this is what happened next. What I was gonna say was, “Hi John! How are you? *wait for response* *take picture for FanFoto* *take picture on my camera* Congrats on going six months without tobacco. That’s awesome.” What I said was, “Hi John! How are you? *take picture for FanFoto* *take picture on my camera* I dunno what you’re wearing, but you smell AMAZING!” He laughed and said he wasn’t really wearing anything.
And on the offchance John will ever see this…
I swear I’m not normally that awkward and weird. OK, I may be weird, but not THAT weird. I’m an adorable weird. But an amazing-smelling man is rather distracting. And that was the first thing that came out of my mouth. I was gonna ask for a hug too, but I got distracted by whatever made you smell amazing.
Since John was awesome enough to get there early for pictures, Rachel and I were able to go downstairs and get a picture with Jayson Nix. Afterwards, we went and bought some of the pictures we took and went back to get a Carlos Quentin wristband. However, they were all gone. The lady who was working was being a real b*tch all weekend. She was telling us 40 different things and copping an attitude. Why the attitude? We’re just trying to figure out where we’re going. No one was being mean; no one was being rude. But she was a horrible person.
We went upstairs and Rachel passed out for, like, three hours. I slept for a bit but woke up to answer my phone and couldn’t fall asleep again. Because I started thinking about the day thus far. And my emotions got the best of me. For two hours, I cried. I thought about how nice and humble Gordon Beckham was. I thought about how I looked like an idiot in front of John Danks but he didn’t look at me like I was a complete fool. And I thought about how what I wanted finally happened, how AJ Pierzynski made me so ridiculously happy in a one-to-two-minute span of time. And how I didn’t want the weekend to end.
I’ve seriously never been so happy in my whole life. And it all came flooding on me at once. I had to let it out, and the only way I could do that was by crying for two hours. I’m so happy I have the memories I do. But three days is so short. I got spoiled by seeing John Danks every day for three days. I got spoiled by having players seem genuinely happy to see me. And I thought about if and when this would ever happen again. If it does, it won’t be soon (probably). I didn’t wanna leave. I wanted SoxFest to last forever.
After Rachel woke up, we ordered food. The delivery driver wouldn’t bring it upstairs (WTF?), so in our PJs, we walked to the lobby. We saw Freddy Garcia in the bar, and…well, for Freddy’s sake, I’ll leave it at that. Let’s just say the man probably needed a big bottle of Tylenol in the morning. We decided to go down after we ate, and the only people down there were Ron Kittle and Bill Melton. So we went back upstairs, and I passed out. Another 3:45am wakeup call was coming.
We were downstairs by 5:30 again on Sunday, and we ran, with many other people, up to the sixth floor to get Gordon Beckham’s autograph. After finally getting a wristband, we were told to leave the floor for a while and come back. So we went down to the Twitter booth. Someone actually recognized me from my tweets. I was utterly shocked. And flattered that I’m recognizable. We went back up and made some friends in line.
We got our autographs. I didn’t say anything awkward or stupid, so that’s always a plus. Rachel asked how his hair always manages to stay perfect. He said it has a mind of its own. He’s adorable. For reals. We attempted to get a Quentin picture, but those wristbands were gone again. So we went to seminars. I recorded the Around the Bases seminar with Darrin Jackson, Jeff Cox, Juan Pierre, and Gordon Beckham. I also recorded the White Sox Pitching seminar with Ed Farmer, Juan Nieves, Matt Thornton, JJ Putz, and John Danks. Each of the videos are 45 minutes long, so I’m not posting them anywhere. If you wanna see either of them, let me know in a comment and I’ll email it to you.
During the weekend, we invested in some stuff. Because we follow Scott Reifert on Twitter, we got an AJ Pierzynski bobblehead (which doesn’t look like him, but I don’t care) and a Mark Buehrle no-hitter poster. I almost got a baseball for knowing Mark Teahen’s dogs’ names (Espy and Ribi, if you’re wondering), but a little kid got there before me. I also bought a t-shirt that I customized. And I couldn’t pass up a replica 2005 World Series jersey that AJ signed for $100. And I bought two mystery bags. On Friday, mine had a book, some foam Shedd Aquarium thing, a pencil, a Thome postcard type thing…not super exciting. What was exciting in that bag was a ladies’ Frank Thomas jersey. The tag was still on it, and it cost $55. I paid $20 for the bag. Niiiiiice. However, the Sunday back was more exciting. I got basically the same tschotskes, but I got a baseball in the bag. It was a signed baseball. By Jim Thome. A JIM THOME AUTOGRAPHED BASEBALL! And since it was Sunday, I only paid $10. WIN!
This was the best weekend of my entire life. I don’t think anything will be able to top it until the day I get married. People may think I’m insane (I think Joe Cowley of the Sun Times does, as he posted a tweet saying something to the effect of “if you’re crying because SoxFest is over, see Dr. Drew cuz you need help”), but I never have the kind of luck to get to meet players at a game, outside of a game, ever. And I’m broke as a joke normally, so I don’t get to go to a lot of games. This is my chance at seeing players and interacting with them. So don’t judge me because this makes me happy. I don’t judge you for what makes you happy.