A reported 36,000 fans attended FanFest this year and the lines proved it: the line to enter had reached Pier 48 by 9 a.m. The lines were unorganized by the time the gates had opened and it seemed like a free-for-all to enter.
The autograph lines were long, as was expected. It was an ever-rotating set of Giants who sat at booths and food stalls signing for fans.
The Amici’s Q&A stage proved to be more entertaining in the first hour. Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, and Jon Miller were at the 10 a.m. panel and they shared stories of ballparks and bus shenanigans.
One story that was relayed was the tale of the bus breaking down between the Denver airport and Coors Field. And who else but Madison Bumgarner would hop off the bus and check the engine? The young lefty pitcher tinkered with the engine, then told the driver the bus was ready to go. “This one’s on me,” Bumgarner had said.
Afterward, the team was polled on which player they would go on a roadtrip with. The answer was, of course, Bumgarner.
Another highlight of the Q&A was Miller’s Vin Scully impression. Not only was it the impression that everyone knows where Miller impersonates Scully’s game calling style, but it was also one where Miller pondered if Scully talks that way all the time.
“Goooooood morning, darling,” Miller said in Scully’s voice. “Pull up a chair. Who wants some Farmer John?”
The crowd erupted in raucous laughter.
Elsewhere at the park, FanFest featured something that could also be called “Storage Wars: Giants edition.” It was as if someone had raided Mike Murphy’s storage shed for items to sell. Baseballs signed by the likes of Travis Ishikawa and Travis Denker — and more! — were available. Game used jerseys went for $100 and had jerseys that once belonged to players such as Bob Howry and Eugenio Velez. The real kicker, however, was an Alex Hinshaw batting helmet — presumably, that was found in Iowa.
Banners from previous advertising campaigns were on sale — because everyone needs a little gamer grit in their garage, right? And together, they were broken. Along with 2007 All-Star Game memorabilia and Randy Winn posters, who could go wrong with this selection?
The KNBR stage on the field was surrounded by fans, as if it were the Beatles playing stadiums across America. There were shrieks and cries and applause whenever a player arrived. Of course, the crowd went wild for Buster Posey. And who wouldn’t? The boy was back at the park and jumping onto the stage instead of using the ramp (though that was a bit harrowing because no one wants to see him broken again).
FanFest began to dwindle down at around 2:30 p.m. The bounce house was deflated and many began to leave, though there was still a decent amount of fans who stayed until the very end of the event and the last KNBR interview of the day: Ryan Vogelsong.
All in all, it was a day that seemed familiar, but with new faces and stories. And who could resist an excuse to sit in the stands and be at the ballpark?