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By Trevor Hoglund, July 13, 2014

So, as many Americans are thoroughly aware, there is this little baseball game things going on sometime within the next month. I happen to live nearby the venue at which it will be held, as well as the hometown of one of the participating teams, this same team is quite enthusiastic about this event and is holding a convention called Fan Fest for it. Through some means or another my family acquired four tickets to the festival: one for each my mother, father, younger brother, and myself.

Arriving at the venue didn’t prove to be difficult, it’s a freaking convention center and everyone is heading to it (plus I had previously attended the Minnesota college fair which was held at this same place). Of course, parking is always a problem, but we quickly found a public lot around back for two dollars an hour (event day fees). This lot ran on Minneapolis’ parking system, using lot numbers and a central meter to pay at, but these meters have to go through the frozen hell and scorching heat that are the alternating seasons of the Upper-Midwest region, so they should be expected to have a few flaws due to the weathering, which the first one we attempted to did: it was deathly convinced that we did not require any of the actual payment buttons. The second meter was a bit more willing to let us pay… the first time. You see, we weren’t entirely sure how long we would be spending at this sports extravaganza, but after two seconds of thought we figured it was definitely more than the one hour we originally paid for. About thirty attempts at adding time all ended with the meter returning with: Transaction Cancelled (or something similar, don’t expect me to remember).

After we had successfully parked and paid for two hours (at this point more like an hour and fifty minutes), we were finally headed inside, which was more complicated than we expected, the convention center itself had about five entrances along the wing we walked along, but for this event they were all marked to be exits only. This only confused us more once we walked in and back along the hallway from which all those exits sprang to reach the “Grand Entrance” which was garnished with something like a thirty foot screen showing T-Mobile commercials on a loop. The actual entering procedure was pretty typical: bag check, ticket check, and “here’s a bag full of random shit” (which luckily this time was limited to just one packet about the event).

The first thing you would notice walking in is their prestigious “biggest baseball in the world” (certified by Guinness and such) and the line of about fifty people desiring a digital portrait of themselves standing in front of it. Not wanting to waste time in that line, we moved on… only to be stopped by typical twelve-year-old brand complaints by my brother.

Past the ball was a disk jockey with what has to be one of the worst sound systems I have ever been forced to listen to. In typical pop-culture style, the DJ was bass boosting EVERYTHING, later on he would be playing the song “One More Time” from Daft Punk’s Discovery album, but it would sound more like the bass line of “One More Time” with an accompaniment of mumbling.

Due to my laziness, I’ll keep the list of booths we went to quite brief. First off, it is important to note that the sponsors here were Master Card, Chevrolet, T-Mobile, and Pepsi. These details become very important when scouting out something to pique your interest.

The first few significant items on this list pertain to Chevy (and so will the last). They had brought in quite a few vehicles for this event, the first one being a pickup truck filled with plastic balls in the back. They had a booth with cards to fill out your information and a guess for how many balls were in the truck. My original guess was 945, because the pit was approximately 18 by 25 balls with 3 deep (at the edges), and I multiplied this by about 0.7 for error compensation… however, upon further inspection I realized the depth averaged about four, not three, and so I attempted to convince my mother to enter with the estimate at 1260, but she brushed me off for the moment (and forgot to do so at a later time). Next, there was a Corvette, a shiny blue Corvette… there was a line to sit in it and get pictures, but I only wanted pictures of the Corvette itself… so it didn’t matter who was in it. I did get a few pictures of father beside it, and due to mother’s pushing him to, some of my brother sitting in it. I’ll be breaking from the chronology here to keep this list organized by sponsor. Later on, someone made us aware of the fact that Chevy was giving out baseballs, so we had to get it on this, and so we did, we just waltzed right in, pressed the button, and received baseball… yay! This was apparently against procedure, however, but I will save that part for last since it is more fitting there.

When walking around we had the chance to see some displays of some baseball history. This was boring as hell. Comparing baseball history to general U.S. history was a bit of help keeping myself awake, but just barely.

Some jersey company called Majestic was there doing photos, this provided the chance to make jokes about getting my senior portraits done in a sports outfit, because I hate sports (note: I did get a picture, but it was with family, so not my senior picture). Speaking of visual and my hatred of sports: Fox Sports was there… and I enjoyed looking at their nice setup… so much AV equipment… so glorious… and I did end up getting into the background of some of their camera shots… but I almost threw up looking through their website so I won’t bother including that.

T-Mobile had some intense things there, not like I went to any of them.

Pepsi and some chip company had sample booths. Pepsi was giving out samples of their recent “Pepsi with Sugar,” in the regular, cherry, and vanilla flavors. The second time we went to them, they were out of vanilla, well, this stand was so the guy had to sprint to the next one over to grab more… significant. The chips places were just handing out the snack-size bags… and one or two of the people working at the stands were actually just throwing them t whoever held up their hands (note: apparently baseball people would rather pretend the throw wasn’t to them than accept you offering to pick it up).

The standard brochure people were everywhere, some guy gave my dad a prostate cancer brochure… that was interesting. The people from some bank were annoyingly persistent, and I wanted them to shut up. There was also a guy giving out Head and Shoulders shampoo samples… pretty cool. Then there was New Era, they had a silk screening setup, and it looked like they might be giving out T-Shirts… turns out they were, but they didn’t say that until they told us we had to wait until 3:30pm, since the guy in front of us in line was the last guy they were handing them out to before their hour long break.

It was at this point we decided to check the time… it was almost 2:30pm, and out parking expired at 2:20pm, this was bad. After frustratingly attempting to add more money online and failing, we decided we would have to leave (there is no re-entry ‘cuz fuck you). Mother and brother were still in line at some balloon place, where they got an octopus and a bow with a strangely phallic looking arrow… then they figured they, too, wanted free baseballs….

We went back over the the Chevrolet display where we were promptly notified that we (as in the parents) needed to sign up for wrist-bands, visit some cars, play a little trivia game to earn points, THEN they could try and get a ball. After going through all that (which took a whole half hour), we did in fact get two more balls, but this brought into question how father and I even got the two earlier. Apparently, earlier they just weren’t paying attention, and even though they have this huge electronic system for everything, the machine to retrieve the balls was ran by nothing more than a big red button.

So, overall it was pretty meh.