I went to the Orioles Caravan last Sunday at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, as they had current Orioles Rio Ruiz and Dwight Smith Jr, and former Oriole and Hall of Famer Eddie Murray signing autographs. I’m glad that the Orioles started doing a caravan with free autographs because most teams seem to either do nothing or have a paid event for fans.
I arrived about 75 minutes before it started, which was an hour long autograph session from 2-3. I was very disappointed to hear them announce that they were creating three separate lines for the autographs. I was hoping that one of my rewards for arriving early would be to meet all three players, but now that was in jeopardy.
When they started the event and broke up the single line into three lines, it had the exact impact that I expected; everyone stayed in the line for Eddie Murray and the other two lines were pretty much empty. Once the lines started moving, I asked someone near me to hold my place in line so I could get autographs from Ruiz and Smith. I figured that I should take advantage of the short lines rather than try to get those two at the end.
That turned out to be a very smart move because at 2:55, and they made it clear that they were stopping at 3:00, I was a few steps away from Eddie Murray and the other two lines were pretty long. I did manage to get an Eddie Murray autograph just under the gun, but as I was leaving around 3:10, I saw that they were still signing. I’m most disappointed for the fans who didn’t get the autograph that they wanted because they didn’t arrive early enough and focused on just meeting Eddie Murray. I think that they could have announced earlier that fans couldn’t have a selfie and autograph with the players (at least not Murray), and they should have announced that each person could have one autograph and had staff handing Murray the items so that it could move quicker. I know that everyone wants a few minutes to talk to him, but I think that it’s more important that more fans get the opportunity for an autograph. And I suspect that many fans would agree with me.
So while I was concerned for a while that I wouldn’t meet all three players, I did leave victorious. And now I know that I need to arrive earlier next year.