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FanFest 2012

The A's FanFest returns on Sunday and will be held at Oracle Arena between 10 am and 2 pm. The A's are presenting FanFest for the first time since 2009; tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for kiddies. The event is an opportunity to meet current and former players, take a clubhouse tour, see the World Series trophies, and bid on some memorabilia (with all proceeds to the A’s Community Fund). There's also a Q&A for certain bloggers, which I believe OptimistPrime is attending.

From the A's official site, here's a list of players/coaches that are expected to be there:

  • Brandon Allen
  • Brett Anderson
  • Daric Barton
  • Jerry Blevins
  • Vida Blue
  • Dallas Braden
  • Adrian Cardenas
  • Chris Carter
  • Coco Crisp
  • Chili Davis
  • Joey Devine
  • Mike Gallego
  • Chip Hale
  • Scott Hatteberg
  • David Justice
  • Brandon McCarthy
  • Bob Melvin
  • Tom Milone
  • Jermaine Mitchell
  • Jarrod Parker
  • Brad Peacock
  • Cliff Pennington
  • Anthony Recker
  • Josh Reddick
  • Rick Rodriguez
  • Adam Rosales
  • Tyson Ross
  • Joe Rudi
  • Scott Sizemore
  • Seth Smith
  • Eric Sogard
  • Kurt Suzuki
  • Michael Taylor
  • Gene Tenace
  • Neil Wagner
  • Tye Waller
  • Jemile Weeks
  • Curt Young

So basically, everyone. According to Joe Stiglich, apparently Billy Beane won't be there, which is disappointing, but there's probably a soccer game for him to watch somewhere. Here's another fascinating piece of Sunday's event, straight from Joe's article:

The most intriguing FanFest attraction: The chance to meet one-on-one with A’s co-owner and managing partner Lew Wolff "to discuss a variety of topics in an intimate setting," according to a team release. I’d like to be a fly on the wall for some of these conversations. Wolff has taken substantial heat from fans in recent years for a number of reasons, so I’m somewhat surprised he’s making himself available. Fans can sign up to meet Wolff at the information booth on the plaza located between the Coliseum and Oracle Arena from 9-10:30 a.m.

That could get interesting. It either shows that Wolff is extremely confident in his position that the A's can't build a stadium in Oakland, or he has no idea what the common fan's perception of him is. Probably both.

It might sound silly, but events like this are nice ways for organizations to do something for fans. For the past couple of years, the Indians have done an event called "Snow Days" at Progressive Field. They basically use the offseason to create a winter amusement park, complete with an ice skating rink, a tubing hill from the the left field bleachers to the field, and other smaller attractions. They even held high school and collegiate hockey games there this winter. It's a way to get people closer to the team and the field, and it helps fans connect with the team, something the A's should be desperately trying to do.

If you go, I doubt you'll be disappointed. Even if you're too shy or have no interest in talking to players, walking around a building with a bunch of major leaguers is just kind of cool (no jokes about whether or not they are actual major leaguers). There'll be some fun exhibits and you'll almost certainly walk out knowing more than when you walked in. If you do talk to players, you'll surely be introducing yourself to a lot of new players.

By my quick count, at least five of the players acquired in this offseason's trades will be there, and a bunch of other kids too. I'm looking forward to meeting the next generation of A's, because whether you like it or not, they're ours for the next couple of years. Plus you might get an opportunity to verbally attack Lew Wolff (or be super super sweet to him, your call).

Let me know in the comments if anyone else is planning to attend.