It was announced a while back that Tony Gwynn Jr. was going to do an autograph appearance on June 18th. Well, then I heard on the radio during a game that Gwynn was going to be doing another appearance on the 17th at St. Vincent De Paul’s. I figured it was going to be sponsored by KABC since it was advertised on KABC. You know me. I always prefer the KABC sponsored events over the Dodger sponsored events. On top of that, St. Vincent’s is less than 5 minutes from my house! I even contemplated walking… good thing I chose to drive instead.
Since it was so close and the Friday crowds are relatively small… I didn’t leave my house until 9. I got there around 9:15 and there were about 5 – 8 people in front of me. The first person in line was Mike, who I met at the Broxton signing. They weren’t sure where to line up. One of the girls was going to go find out. I said I would since I knew some of the KABC staff. We go the line situated and then it was time to mingle. I was expecting some friends to show up but they couldn’t make it. One of them came by to drop off his canvas for me to get signed for him. I got tons of inquiries of where I got the canvas. I told them it was my friend’s and he went to five different Targets trying to find it. The next most asked question was where did I find out about the signing. I told them VSIMH.
Gwynn showed up pretty close on time. I met a lot of great Dodger fans in line around me, though we didn’t exchange any names. Still, had a great time! I went inside and even did a little shopping. I found four books in their book section! When I was checking out, they thought I was buying the canvas but I told them I brought it in with me for the signing. When I got up to the front of the table for Gwynn to sign, one of the KABC guys introduced me as one of the biggest Dodger fans! I got my two items signed and of course they were for friends. I went back outside and mingled some more. I had asked someone if he had an extra picture because one of my friends who couldn’t make it wanted one. He told me had an extra one after all so I got that. Another friend in line asked me to get another item signed for him. So I got back in line. I met two more fans, only got the name for one of them. Alex said he recognized me from other signings. Then he realized that he recognized me from the Kemp video that VSIMH posted from the beach event!
Second time through, I told Tony I got some more things for him to sign. He said “that’s fine.” And he signed both of them. I noticed on the Dodger photo he wrote his number “10” and on the Padre program, he wrote the number “18”… which he didn’t do for my other things or for other people’s things. I thought that was pretty cool. The third most asked question I was asked was where was my camera? Two of the KABC staff asked me where my big camera was. I explained it was loaner and I currently don’t have a camera. Won’t have one for awhile. But I am saving up for one and will hopefully get one by the end of the season if not the start of next season.
Overall, again, a terrific experience at the signing. Thanks to KABC and St. Vincent de Paul for hosting Tony Gwynn, Jr.! Thanks Tony for coming out and being so awesome!!!
And yes, those were his words!
“We had a fantastic time at the signing today. And, uh, go Dodgers.”
As with most autograph signings, you never know what to expect. You can never guess what time the first person will show up or how many people. KABC was hoping for at least 400. That’s how many tickets they brought to hand out. Not tickets to the game. Tickets to give each person to admit them in for the autograph. They did bring tickets to the game for that night. Plenty of tickets.
So, what time did I show up? Before the sun came up. And guess what? I wasn’t even the first person in line! Christoph, the first person in line showed up at 3:30. I arrived about an hour later (less than that). I left my house at 4 and it took me 15 minutes to get there. So, you do the math. I first parked my car in front of the store but then was asked to move. Yes, there was someone there at 4:30 AM to ask me to move my car. They were repainting the lines for the spots in front of the store.
We talked for about the first hour or so. He talked mostly about politics and medical marijuana, a subject he was quite knowledgeable and passionate about … seeing as he uses medical marijuana. I forgot what term he used. After he took his medication, he mellowed out and we didn’t talk for about two hours. I read my book, he read his.
Then around 6:30 we were asked to move so some workers could clean the sidewalk. That’s when the rest of the fans started showing up. About five or six cars pulled in. We took the line and started forming it in the parking lot while they were cleaning the sidewalk. Alex came by and dropped off his dad, and Ronnie came. I talked with Ronnie for a while. Once they finished cleaning, we went back and reformed our line. Five hours to go till the signing started.
Lots of people wonder, how in the world do we wait for hours and hours just to get a few minutes with a ball player. Well, we spend hours talking to other fans in line and getting to know each other. I met Ronnie at both the Dodger Caravans earlier this year. The most memorable conversation was between Ronnie and another fan Edward. They were discussing/debating trading Ely for the Astros’ Roy Oswalt. Edward said he’d take it. Ronnie said he wouldn’t. He said Ely was gold and Oswalt was feathers. Edward laughed and said Ely was fool’s gold then. It was great. I wish I had recorded it and taken pictures to put in my slide-show. Guess my photo-journalistic skills weren’t sharp, as a result of less than 2 hours of sleep and being up before 4.
Surprisingly, John Ely showed up early! He was schedule to sign from 11:30 – 1.
He showed up a few minutes before 11.
My friend Pat was taking some pictures of Ely as he was walking up. Her sister behind her told her, “don’t get in front of Linda! She takes good pictures.”
It took about another 15 minutes before they started letting us in.
knows this little guy! He was one of the last, if not the last person to get an autograph.