Last year when the Oakland Athletics held FanFest for the first time in a number of years it was exciting, the fact that it was being held in the neighboring Oracle Arena wasn’t. It was cramped, disorganized, and not really all that fun considering we all were getting to know a bunch of guys who many expected to be comfortably in the cellar. This year, everything changed.
The 2012 AL West Champs start things off right. (Kishna Woo-Hare)
Credit to the Athletics for making this season’s FanFest seem much more organized, and therefore a lot more fun. Myself and Devin Pangaro were invited to attend the event as part of BlogFest, we were able to participate in small press conferences with Manager Bob Melvin, Assistant GM David Forst, and 3rd Base Coach Mike Gallego. More on what they had to say in the coming days. But along with the privilege of talking with the three of them, we also were able to experience the rest of the event with all of the A’s fans.
Some fans were there before dawn, hoping to get some deals on game used memorabilia, and get their vouchers for autographs and photos with players. I personally was able to get photos with Sean Doolittle, A.J. Griffin and Michael Taylor, Seth Smith, and the FOUR Oakland Athletics World Series trophies (FOUR). Just about a virtual who’s who on the Athletics roster was in attendance, including Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and new shortstop Hiro Nakajima.
The best part of the entire event though had to have been the overwhelming positive energy cascading throughout the arena. It was clear that the incredible 2012 season was still resonating through the fans and the players as well. There was unfinished business last season and there is no doubt that this team intends to pick up where they left off and finish it in 2013. In just over 2 weeks time, the first members of the Athletics will be reporting to Spring Training in Phoenix when pitchers and catchers are summoned to the desert. From there it will be just a bit more than a week until they play their first games of the Cactus League schedule. Baseball season is now so close we can all taste it. I personally cannot wait (Super Bowl anticipation will indeed occupy a week of that time).
Stay tuned for our coverage of what Bob Melvin, David Forst, and Mike Gallego had to say about this team and some stories from the past as well.