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.
The KABC crew showed up and started setting up tables and forms and giveaways. They set up their tent and speakers but had no power. They sent one of their employees to get the generator. Just after he returned … the KABC crew was asked to dismantle. No tables, no giveaways, and the Dodger Dog truck wasn’t coming. Christoph was looking forward to having his first Dodger dog. He’s a new Dodger fan, longtime baseball fan. They had little red tickets (like raffle tickets) to hand out. There were about 400. The KABC employee came back with somewhere between 50-100 tickets left.
While we were waiting, Sons of Steve Garvey’s very own Alex Cora
came up to Roberto of Vin Scully is My Homeboy
and introduced himself. I didn’t say anything since I didn’t know if “Alex” read my blog or not. Probably not. Anyway, it was nice to have “met” one of the SOSG.
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.
Christoph went in first. He told John that he got there at 3:30 that morning. John was like, wow, you got here that early? What’s your name? I’ve got to write this out to you since you got here so early. Christoph had an official ball and one of the not official ones. John inscribed on the official ball and then Christoph gave him the other ball. He said John didn’t have to write his name on that one.
Then it was our turn.
I handed him the newspaper first and then I noticed he only had BLACK sharpies on the table. Black will not show up well on the color photo since it was so dark. I was like, hold on! You don’t have a blue sharpie. I need a blue sharpie. So I dug the blue sharpie out of my purse. One of the KABC employees was, he’ll sign in blue if he gets to keep the sharpie. I just bought the sharpie that week. I should’ve been like, he can hold onto it if I get it back at the end. It’s my only blue sharpie. He signed my newspaper and then I asked him if he could sign another photo. I wanted him to inscribe “Dodger Stadium Debut 5/6/10” but I didn’t want to hold up the line. So, he just signed it. I’ll ask him to inscribe it later.
He was so great. Pat, Norma, and I got our things and I left to see how long the line was while they talked to someone about getting another line on Norma’s account. I got to the back of the line. Someone in front of me heard me talking and said, “hello there. I recognize your voice. Do I know you?” Turns out, it was Eric from my Dodger group. We’ve never talked but we exchanged voice mails a few years ago. Pat and Norma came out and took me out to lunch. We went to Johnny’s Pastrami Restaurant
. It was so good! Their pastrami sandwich was HUGE. I got the cheeseburger.
After lunch, we went back to see how the signing was going. There was about ten to fifteen minutes left and about ten people left in line. As he was getting close to the end, some more people came running in. They just got there from the Casey Blake signing in Pasadena.
knows this little guy! He was one of the last, if not the last person to get an autograph.
On his way out, I asked John if I could get a quick sound bite. He said sure, said his little thing, and then gave me a HUG! I could’ve believe it. He gave me a HUG! And I didn’t have to ask for it. The last hug I got from a Dodger was from Russell Martin, way back in April 2007.
I waited with Pat for a while longer while she was getting her phone taken care of. When I finally got out to my car… there was a note on there from Sit ‘n Sleep asking me to move my car.
It’s official. John Ely is my new resident favorite Dodger. Randy Wolf. You have been replaced.