Saturday, June 15, 2019

Highlights from the 2019 Phillies Phestival (Part 1) #StrikeOutALS

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #1
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #19
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #16
On Thursday afternoon, we attended the annual Phillies Phestival, which raises money in the fight against ALS.  One of my collecting regrets (and a regret as a lifelong Phillies fan) is that we never even considered going to this event until three years ago.  As rookies in 2017, we meandered through the ballpark using our pre-assigned autograph tickets and paying cash for autographs when the lines died down.  In 2018, I attended the event on behalf of my employer, which unbeknownst to me, had been a long-time sponsor of the Phestival.  I became involved with the Philadelphia ALS Chapter over the past few years partly in tribute to our friend Bob who passed away in January 2019 after a courageous battle with the disease.  I'm looking forward to continuing (and increasing) my involvement in the coming years.

This year, we again attended as sponsors and it's the first year we were fully prepared to collect autographs as efficiently as possible while still having fun.  Sponsors are given a button to wear, which allows us to stand in any autograph line.  Within the sponsors packet were explicit instructions informing us we couldn't go to the front of any line, which makes complete sense, and that we couldn't go to the Bryce Harper photo booth.

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #2
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #5
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #7
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #8
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #14
Similar to the past two years, I created a special set of Chachi cards to commemorate our day and the autographs we hunted down.  Here's a summary of what and how we did:
  • The sponsors assemble in the Diamond Club and my company's name was called around 2:45.  We made our way down to the field to meet with Phil Gosselin and Jay Bruce who would be signing autographs at our designated station.  I let Bruce know it was great not to boo him this season, and my son Doug talked to Gosselin about their mutual history with the All-Star Baseball Academy.  Gosselin is an alumni and Doug is currently on one of their travel teams.
  • 2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #3
    2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #4
    2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #6
  • We had a plan.  Doug and I took the left side of the ballpark while Jenna and Ben took the right side.  Doug and I started in the Hall of Fame Club, where the lines were very short to start and some of the tables had no lines.  We walked right into the suite where Gabe Kapler was signing and had two people in front of us.  Kapler's a fascinating guy.  Very intense, very polite, very engaging and he made his hat work.

  • Jenna and Ben made Aaron Nola their first target, so they had a longer wait to get started.  Doug and I had cleared four tables by the time they were getting Nola's autographs.
  • All the players were engaging and friendly, and even though there was a loose "no posed photographs" policy in place this year, pretty much everyone stopped to look and smile while we were taking pictures.  Rhys Hoskins said he remembered being in our Christmas card, although he may have just been being polite.
  • Ben's highlight was getting Maikel Franco to sign the back of his favorite Franco t-shirt.  He also talked to the broadcast team for awhile.  When he asked why they didn't have any cards to sign, Scott Franzke said it was because the Phillies couldn't get them all together at the same time.  He was then invited by Ben Davis to sign their table cloth, and he obliged.
  • Larry Andersen had run out of photo cards by the time we got to his station (with John Kruk and Mickey Morandini) so he offered Doug a cookie instead of an autograph.  Doug took him up on the offer.
  • I was bummed that none of the newer Phillies players had any photo cards produced for them to sign.  I had come prepared with a list of potential exclusive photo cards - Bruce, Edgar Garcia, JD Hammer, Adam Haseley and Ranger Suarez - but there were no new cards to be had.  Bruce and Gosselin had what looked like regular paper at their station with their names printed at the top.
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #9
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #10
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #11
  • When the autograph session time expired, we had visited all but three tables - J.T. Realmuto (by choice since we had already received his autographs in May), Charlie Manual (since we forgot to bring anything for him to sign) and Pat Neshek/Jim Gott.  The Neshek/Gott omission was a symptom of simply running out of time.  The only table we doubled up on was Scott Kingery's as we both had time to visit with him as the clock was ticking down.
  • We met up with fellow collector Steve and his son in time to stand in line for our mystery grab bags.  Our five bag haul was decent, with baseballs signed by Roman Quinn (two), Nick Pivetta, and Hector Neris.  We received a pair of Raul Ibanez bobble heads, three solar Liberty Bells, a Jimmy Rollins World Series ring and Jenna got her Mother's Day fleece she had wanted from the May giveaway.
We had a blast, the Phillies raised over $768,000 to aid in the fight against ALS, and we're already making our plans for next year's Phestival!  I've share Part 2 with the rest of the cards from the event in a post coming soon.

The almost completed checklist
Our grab bag haul
Phillies Phestival Memory Lane
2017 Part 1 and Part 2
2018 Part 1 and Part 2
2019 Part 1 and Part 2


Steve F. said...

Great post, as always, for the ALS Phestival! Nice pictures too. It was good to hang out with you and your family. As you know, we managed the impossible and pulled two Tommy Hunter signed caps among our four grab bags. Fortunately a worker there was sympathetic and let us trade one back; we also bought one more. So for our five grab bags, we landed:
- Tommy Hunter cap
- Nick Pivetta ball
- Hector Neris ball
- Random game-used ball (Slider in the dirt by Eickhoff to Martin Prado--the very definition of "yawn")
- 2018 SGA of a 1990 John Kruk #29 BP jersey (no name on back)

Plus a couple Ibanez bobbles and three of those solar-powered Liberty Bells.

Disappointing pulls from the grab bags. We also had a lousy player selection--no Nola, Hoskins, or Realmuto.

The one big change I noticed from past Phestivals (besides cutting the signing down from 120 or 105 minutes in the past to officially 75, but more like 90, minutes this year) is they definitely sold a lot fewer autograph tickets. No line we were in lasted longer than about 5 minutes. I guess I preferred that, being one of the people who was able to get tickets. That said, I think they could have a sold a lot more, especially had they kept the signing session open for longer.

Jim said...

I'm really glad you were able to exchange one of the Hunter hats!