Fernando Valenzuela may be my favorite starting pitcher of all time. It’s close between him and Dave Stewart. But if I was to start my own personal all-time tea, Fernando would get the ball to start the game.
So when I found out that he would do a 1-hour autograph signing at the Montebello Mall (which is in a huge Latino community), I knew I had to go see him. The problem was that guest services was unsure of how the entire event would go, so I didn’t know when to show up or where to show up at the mall.
He was scheduled to sign from 11AM-noon yesterday, so I assumed that if I show up a few hours before, I should be OK. But that was a mistake.
Apparently, people camped overnight. I showed up at around 7:30AM and drove around the mall, seeing only a few people hanging about. Little did I know they already allowed 200 people in the doors already to wait in line. When I found out, it didn’t look good from where I was standing.
Had I shown up an hour earlier, maybe I would have gotten it. But at least I was glad the Dodgers fans in line with me were super cool. They even adopted me as “family” in the emergency we got to Fernando, they would say we were all together.
What sucked about it was that Fernando signs really slow and shook the hands of everybody. It doesn’t help that he also has a long name. So after standing on my feet for four hours, I got nothing. They cut off the line 30 people ahead o me. The best I could do is just take a picture of him signing someone else’s stuff. Had I shown up an hour earlier, I would have gotten it. But instead, I have sore feet and a memory of wishful thinking.
If he comes back next time, I know better what to do. But the chance to meet one of my heroes was missed.