Originally Posted by shenk16
Did I miss the annual ChiSoxGirl review of SoxFest?
Ask and you shall receive.
This was my 21st SoxFest and I actually got more autographs at this one (seven) than at the last couple combined. I opted to take a pass on autographs on Friday, since Frank Thomas was only taking photos and having a seminar with Hawk & Wimpy that night, both of which were musts for me when the crowds would likely be significantly lower on Friday than in recent years (they were).
As usual, the red-shirted guest service employees knew nothing about wristbands. When we were let in to SoxFest, my friends and I went to the Grand Ballroom to snag seats for the Opening Ceremony, and my good friend tstrike2000 and I went downstairs to get wristbands for the picture with Frank, which was at 5:30. Of course, no wristbands were being given at 3:45 when we went down there and the woman at the line has no idea when they'd be handed out. She saw the frustration on my face from the lack of wristbands and an answer as to when they'd be distributed, so the girl asked if it was just tstrike2000 & I trying to get a picture and where we wanted to be in the meantime. I told her we had seats at the Opening Ceremony and she said that if the line reached capacity by the time we returned, she'd let us in. After being back upstairs for awhile, we'd heard that wristbands were being given for the photo with Frank, so we went down to get our wristbands and made it back just in time for the Opening Ceremony to start (a half hour late).
After the Opening Ceremony, I stayed in the ballroom for the Rick Hahn/Robin Ventura seminar, which was rather subdued, then we went downstairs for the picture with Frank. Afterwards, we attended his seminar that was led by Hawk & Wimpy, which was awesome.
One thing I did notice about the seminars was that they weren't lasting the full hour they were scheduled for. The Hahn/Ventura seminar was scheduled from 5-6p and it ended around 5:40, and the "Frankly Speaking" seminar was supposed to be from 7-8p, but ended at 7:30. I didn't attend any of the Saturday seminars, so can't say whether or not that was unique to Friday's sessions or not.
After a late, but great dinner at Pizano's with tebman, son of tebman, and my friend Natalie, it was time for a quick nap before Saturday's festivities began. By 6:00 the next morning, we were all down in the Empire Room and about 2/3 of the way back to boot! I decided that this would be my day for autographs and the only must-have for me was Robin.
I hung out with tstrike2000 all day and we got the same autographs -- Avisail Garcia and Dayan Viciedo; Robin and Adam Dunn; Gordon Beckham; and Marcus Semien and Micah Johnson.
Particularly disappointing at the Semien/Johnson signing was the SoxFest nazi seated at their table. From left to right, it was the SoxFest nazi, Semien and Johnson. The guy in front of me was getting Semien's autograph and I was next in line. While I was waiting (with baseball and camera in hand), I decided to take a couple pictures. The SoxFest nazi immediately scolded me, saying, "No pictures! We have to keep the line moving!" I told her, "I'm not holding up the line by standing here taking a picture. It's this man's turn to get an autograph and I'm next in line. Once it's my turn, I'll move up and get my autograph. And don't worry, I won't stop to take a picture." All she could do was shoot me a dirty look. I wanted to be like, "Look, lady, I've been coming to this event for 21 years and remember when fans used to be able to walk around the table, stand behind the player, and have their picture taken. Don't tell me that I can't take a picture while standing on this platform and waiting for my turn." And really, let's be honest; Semien and Johnson aren't exactly Thomas and Ventura. I made sure to tell this story in the SoxFest survey I was sent Sunday night.
Also in the SoxFest survey, I went off about the red-shirted guest representatives never having an answer about when wristbands will be given out, etc. Not too many years ago, wristbands would be handed out immediately after the fest opened or lines started forming for a particularly popular player. I'm not sure why the Sox have gone away from that, especially since it seemed to work so well, but it's increasingly frustrating to constantly deal with people at SoxFest who don't have any answers. I've been going to SoxFest longer than many of those guest reps. have been on this earth and resent the way they treat me and other Sox fans like third-class citizens. All of this was detailed in the survey I took.
Unfortunately, I had to leave SoxFest by 9:00 on Sunday morning, so I didn't get to do anything that day.
I think it's interesting that SoxFest is moving venues next year. However, I'm in favor of this because the Palmer House never seemed like "home" for a baseball nerd convention; it's too fancy schmancy. Not to mention the fact that the fest is spread out over three floors; it's escalators, elevators and hidden stairwells abound at SoxFest. From what I've heard, the Hilton on Michigan Ave. is more like the Hyatt in that everything has the potential to be on one or two floors, which will be much easier to navigate. I'm curious to see if the pricing will remain the same for the new venue, as well. They can't possibly hike up the prices any more, can they?!
Overall, though, it was a great SoxFest. How could any event that provides its fans with an opportunity to get your picture taken with a Hall of Famer really be bad?
Speaking of that, I had a print made of the picture of me & Frank and it's prominently displayed in a frame in my living room. In one frame on my bookshelf, I have a picture of me & Robin, and a picture of me & Frank in another. I grew up watching Frank and Robin, so it's pretty special for me to have had a picture taken with each of them and have those on display for everyone to see.