Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tommy Lasorda at Skechers Fullerton

          I received a last minute tip from my friend Larry that Dodger legend and Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda would be signing autographs at the Skechers outlet store in Fullerton on Thursday. At first I was a bit skeptical about going, most Dodger signings turn out to be chaotic and really not worth the hassle of dealing with the huge crowds, on top of that I had school and wouldn't be able to get to the signing until three at earliest, but after weighing in all my options, I decided to head out and try my luck. Fortunately, the signing wasn't very well advertised and most fans weren't notified about it until earlier in the day, this meant a smaller crowd and a greater chance of getting an autograph.

          I got to the store around 3:15 and noticed a small line of about twenty people formed in front of the store. I was a bit surprised by the small turnout at the time, I know the signing wasn't very well advertised but this is one of the most beloved Dodgers of all time and I expected there to be at least 50 people by the time I got there. However I didn't complain and hopped in the back of the line. I then found out that the signing wasn't technically "free" as you had to purchase one item from the store, luckily you could purchase literally anything and still get a receipt. I ended up buying two pairs of socks and a bag of candy all in separate transactions for a total of three receipts. Another thing I found out was that with each receipt you get TWO autographs from Tommy, which is rare considering that I've never seen Tommy do more than one. The wait wasn't terrible at all and the weather was beautiful. I met up with some of my good friends and we all made the three hour wait go by much faster by talking with each other. Around 4:30 the Skechers employees began handing out wristbands to the first 100 people with a receipt in line. There was a tiny bit of confusion at first. There were some people, like me, who bought multiple receipts and were told by employees that each receipt got you two autographs, but apparently that was incorrect and you were only allowed one receipt per person. My mother and another women who was in front of us in line immediately complained saying that they were specifically told that there was no limit of receipts (Which there were). The two Skechers employees both agreed that it was a mistake on their part and ended up giving both my mother and the other women two wristbands, however they did not give anyone else multiple wristbands, so I got lucky.

          Tommy showed up about 15 minutes early and started signing right away. He looked much worse than he did the last time I met him in late November and looked very tired. You have to remember that this guy is 85 years old and has had more strokes and heart problems than I can remember. Tommy at first was giving the handlers a hard time about signing two per person, but eventually got over it and accepted the fact. He was also putting "H-O-F 97" on everything, that was until two people in front of me. Remember that women that I said also got two wristbands? Well apparently when she got up there Tommy wasn't very happy that she put down four items. He signed them all and then turned to his handler and said "I'm only signing my name from now on.". I can't say I was upset at the women because to be honest, I had my mom get two wristbands and was going to have her give him three items, but I was a little disappointed that he stopped right in front of me. I got up to Tommy and he was in good spirits. I asked him if he would  please sign my photographs and Tommy laughed saying, "Well that's what I'm here for aren't I?", I told him that I always find it nice to say please and thank you and Tommy complimented me on my manners. As I began to pick up my photos Tommy got into salesperson mode. He kept telling me that I need to buy some shoes saying that I shouldn't make this the last time I buy Skechers. He literally tried to get me to buy a pair for over a minute. I must admit he was pretty convincing. Then my mom went up and was able to get all three items signed due to her having two wristbands. Tommy was very sweet to her but luckily didn't personalize any of the items like he did last time.

          In the end I was able to come away with a total of five autographs. I got Tommy on my 1981 World Series Celebration 11x14, my 8x10 headshot, my 8x10 of him and Don Mattingly (Who I will add to the photo at Spring Training), my 1988 World Series trophy photo and a ROMLB on the sweetspot. The only thing that would of made things better would have been f Tommy added "H-O-F 97" to the items or even just one. I later found out that Tommy began only doing one per person due to the line barely moving so I considered myself lucky just to get multiples. Overall it was a great event and well worth the three hour wait. I would like to give a shout out to Larry, David A., Moe, Alex, Tyler, Scotty, Scott Cr., Jose and everybody else that I saw today. I would also like to thank the Skechers store for putting on the event as well as Tommy Lasorda for signing. Thanks for reading!  

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