On Saturday February 9, 2013 the Marlins had their fan fest at Marlins Park. This year it was called the “Marlins’ Winter Warm Up.” At this event you could buy your tickets for the upcoming season, meet players, buy some great Marlins gear, and play some games. All in all, I had a great time! Though if you talk to people who went to last year’s Fan Fest, there is one thing they all said, there were tons of more people at last year’s event.
This year I could see that there weren’t as many people at this event as years past, but the people in line with me were die-hard fans. Unlike in the past years when I would ask someone who your favorite player is, and he responded “Oh I don’t watch baseball, I’m just here cause it’s free.” The fans I met this year were amazing! They were nice, talkative, in good spirits, and really excited about this year’s team. Granted, there were fans who are still not happy with Mr. Loria, but I tried to stay away from those fans because I wasn’t going to let them bring me down. However, despite not having as many people as the past years, a good amount of people still showed up to the Winter Warm Up.
I got to see my old high school, Arch Bishop Edward A. McCarthy, play a game at the park (they won). There were plenty of vendors selling Marlins stuff. Yeah I spent a good chunk of money buying Marlins memorabilia that I’ve missed the 10 years I’ve lived in Orlando. All the games and music in the West Plaza created an exciting atmosphere. Although my favorite part of the whole Winter Warm Up was meeting the players and talking with fans!
My goal this Winter Warm Up was to thank in person all the players and fans who have supported me in my quest to make it onto MLB Fan Cave. I was on a mission! With the smaller crowd size the players were able to talk more with the fans as they got their pictures and autographs. I got to personally thank Tom Koehler, Chris Hatcher, Brad Hand, Dan Jennings, Steve Cishek, and Ryan Webb for their promotion of me on Twitter. But it wasn’t just a thank you and a hand shake. They actually took the time and had a conversation with me. At past Fan Fest it was hi, how you doing, thank you, here’s your autograph, and move on. This year the players really did take their time with everyone, and they seem to be really enjoying themselves as they met and talked to us. Tom Koehler was especially outgoing and friendly with the fans (watch this video to see what I mean). This year I felt the players really cared about us fans. I’m not saying that in years past they didn’t care but when you have a 2 hour long line and only 45 minutes to get through it, there’s not a lot of time to have a conversation. The players were just able to have more fun with everyone this year!
Moving onto the fans, that same video above with Tom Koehler also shows how excited the fans were yesterday. Not only were the fans who came up to me to congratulate me on making it to Top 52 awesome, but all fans who were around enjoy the event were awesome. They were all talking about who is going to start where, what farm system player is going to make it this year, how many homers is Stanton going to hit, I can’t wait to see Tino Martinez in a Marlins uniform, and so on. Though unlike news reporters, who may say those things with a hint of disdain the fans were really excited to be talking about all those questions! I cannot say it enough how much fun it was to hang out with true Marlins fans and thank all the fans who supported me on my quest into the MLB Fan Cave!
I realize that I have said it countless times that the way the Marlins are going to get fans back is to start winning. But this Winter Warm Up wasn’t for those fans, it was for fans like me. These fans got to go around and get excited about this year, meet fellow fans like themselves, talk to players who are excited that the fans are here to support them, and most importantly to show that we do still care about baseball in Miami. The rest of the fans and I hope you will join us at the park this year (maybe not me because I really hope to be representing our Miami Marlins in the MLB Fan Cave!)