O’s FanFest 2010
Orioles FanFest 2010 was held this past Saturday at the Baltimore Convention Center. FanFest returned to January and the Convention Center after being held on the Saturday before Opening Day at Camden Yards. Honestly, the Convention Center is a much better location for this event and that sentiment was echoed by the many fans that I talked to at the event, especially Season Ticket holders like me, who got in free (see ticket below).
One of the highlights of FanFest are the Fan Forums that the O’s put together each year. The forums for this year can be seen below.
As a Season Ticket holder we get the opportunity to attend the State of the Orioles forum with O’s President of Baseball Operations Andy McPhail and Manager Dave Trembley. Below you can see Andy and Dave on the stage with O’s broadcaster Jim Hunter. By the way, last year they sat on top of the Visitor’s Dugout and the fans were in the box seats.
One of the neat bonuses of this forum and actually, of all fan forums, is the ability of fans to ask questions of the panelists. Many of you know that I’m the father of Orangebird (otherwise known as Jordan) and of course Jordan had an excellent question for Andy and Dave. Below you can see Jordan standing next to mic man, as he was about to ask his question.
This question and Andy’s response were noted by the blog, Camden Chat in their posting about Fanfest: http://www.camdenchat.com/2010/1/24/1267753/fanfest-2010-im-feeling-pumped The pertinent excerpt, which refers to Jordan as BaltimoreSportsFan, is as follows:
“By the time I made my way downstairs to the main stage Dave Trembley and Andy MacPhail were on the stage giving the State of the O’s address. They addressed a lot of things, nothing earth shattering, and took questions from the audience. One question was from our very own BaltimoreSportsFan about the base running mistakes of 2009. McPhail and Trembley both loved the question and Andy told BSF, ‘When you get a little older, come see me about an internship.’ Then Dave gave the stock answer about not making mental mistakes. He also said that one backfield at Spring Training will be dedicated to base running drills, so we’ll see. ”
After the forum we got a chance to talk to both Andy and Dave, both of whom reiterated what a great question it was and that it definitely is an issue of concern that will be addressed. Andy very nicely agreed to have his picture taken with Jordan and his sister Lyndsay as you can see below. Notice their T-shirts.
The next forum that we attended was the Welcome to Baltimore forum featuring Garrett Atkins, Mike Gonzalez and Kevin Millwood. We were able to speak with Kevin Millwood before the forum and get his autograph. He was very unassuming and shorter than I thought he would be. He had his attractive wife (gee, what a surprise) with him as well.
We also were able to chat with Mike Gonzalez, and pass on greetings from my good friend Jon Cooper who works the Atlanta Braves and MLB.com, amongst others. Gonzo’s face lit up when I mentioned Coop and he more that happily signed our ball. Coop said he was a great guy and from what I saw, I totally agree with him. By the way, as you may be able to see, Gonzo looked like he was ready to go to a skate park afterwards.
Additionally, Jordan got some great advice from Baltimore Sun columnist Peter ******* (that’s his real name) on what to do to prepare for a career as a sports journalist. Peter also gave me the scoop that the O’s had signed Miguel Tejada to play 3B!!! I guess he liked us or something.
We then walked around a bit and did “something fun,” per my daughter’s request, then returned in time for the Hitters forum featuring Garrett Atkins, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. The attire they wore was quite interesting. B-Rob was sporty casual, with a day’s growth of facial hair. Nick looked like a transient bum with a very bushy beard and mustache (I hope Mrs. Markakis likes it). But All-Star and Gold Glover Adam Jones was styling big time with a VERY nice dark suit featuring a matching tie and pocket square. Joan Rivers and the style mavens on E! would be very impressed!!!
Well, as an equal opportunity Dad, I was able to fulfill my daughter Lyndsay’s wish to ask Adam and Nick her question at the forum, which was, “How do you hit home runs so far?” After the place bust out in laughter, Adam replied by saying he didn’t really know, but when he squares up on a ball it flies out of the park. Nick sort of just agreed with Adam. I then did my best to explain what they meant to my very happy daughter.
We also attended the Rookies forum, which featured last year’s stellar rookie class of Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman. This forum was absolutely jam packed and was by far the best attended. All five of them were impressive and shared a lot about their experiences last year. Jordan once again got to ask a question and this one was a lighthearted one. He asked Brad, Brian and Chris if they had figured out where in their house they were going to put their Cy Young Awards!!! Everybody cracked up!! Then the guys basically said they hoped to get better and to have a healthy season first before they could even dream of winning any awards.
As you may have notice above, Jordan was wearing his Matt Wieters Facts T-shirt. Above is a fan wearing the orange version of that T-shirt.
The event wasn’t all about baseball as you see below. That is Lyndsay, the new captain of the Ravens Cheerleader squad with two Ravens cheerleaders. They were also signing copies of the Ravens Cheerleader’s swimsuit calendars, but we passed on that.
Below are some shots of what the FanFest looked like.
This picture shows the O’s retired numbers on the wall along with booths for the O’s Minor League Teams.
This picture shows part of the kids’ area which included a bounce pit and a speed pitch.
This picture shows a panorama shot of fans milling around the floor.
This is Lyndsay getting her dyed Orange and White.
This is the end result of the hair dye (temporary of course)
Ladies and gentlemen, I present Felix Pie, up close and personal. He was signing for some fans prior to sitting down for the assembled rabble. By the way, we were stunned by how many people pronounced his name like the math symbol Pi, rather than Pee-ay.
And of course any FanFest wouldn’t be complete without a picture with The Bird!!!!
Speaking of pictures, for a donation of $5 per picture for Haitian relief we got pictures with former O’s shortstop and current O’s Minor League coach Mike Bordick, who was surprised by the Miggi signing!!
And we also got a picture with O’s pitcher Brian Matusz, who is a bit taller than me!! It was interesting to compare Brian and Adam’s attire. Brian looked like he wore a shirt he got at Target, while Adam looked like he was wearing an expensive suit.
In closing I can say that the place was abuzz about the O’s and that the sense of optimism about this year is very high. I say its time for Oriole Magic to return!!!
LET’S GO O’S!!!!