Welcome to Fanfest Sunday! You can find a PDF of the Fanfest map through this hyperlinked text. A full schedule of the events has not been published yet, but we do know a few things.
This year, doors will open at 10:00 am, and there will not be a fanfare of player introductions, so bad news if you're a fan of Dick Callahan's booming voice. Aside from that, all the other events that were scheduled last year appear on the map, and will be streaming online at www.athletics.com.
Which players are coming?
According to the A's, the following players and coaches are confirmed as coming to the event as of January 22:
- Returners: Sonny Gray, Sean Doolittle, Stephen Vogt, Josh Reddick, Billy Butler, Marcus Semien, Eric Sogard, Danny Valencia, Jesse Hahn, Kendall Graveman, Danny Coulombe, Chris Bassitt, Aaron Brooks, Mark Canha, Sean Nolin, Fernando Rodriguez, Max Muncy, Josh Phegley, Joey Wendle, Billy Burns;
- New arrivals: Yonder Alonso, Rich Hill, Liam Hendriks, Marc Rzepczynski, John Axford, Andrew Lambo;
- Coaches: Manager Bob Melvin, Hitting Coach Darren Bush, Assistant Hitting/Catching Coach Marcus Jensen, Pitching Coach Curt Young, First Base Coach Mike Aldrete, Bullpen Coach Scott Emerson, Third Base/Fielding Coach Ron Washington.
A January 19 press release indicated media availability for reliever Ryan Dull and bench coach Mark Kotsay as well, though they're not listed in the public facing Fanfest page at this time.
That's 26 or 27 players, then, up from 22 last year! Missing players from the 40-man roster this year (and any publicly mentioned excuse) are: Raul Alcantara, Henderson Alvarez (new baby), R.J. Alvarez, Felix Doubront, Ryan Madson, Jarrod Parker, J.B. Wendelken, Tyler Ladendorf, Jed Lowrie, Renato Nunez, Rangel Ravelo, Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, and Jake Smolinski.
Don't read too much into the list of missing names as players often have prior engagements in the weeks leading up to reporting to spring training.
Crowds, Tickets, and why January 24?
Well there's good news and bad news. The bad news is the A's only won 68 games last season and there are Coliseum schedule issues I'll get into. The good news is this should mean it should be easier to get around. Everything is pretty much where it was located last year, with the A's making use of the entire Coliseum for the smaller breakout events away from the Q&A sessions at Oracle Arena.
Some 15,000 people attended a rainy Fanfest in 2015, which was declared sold out with no tickets sold at the doors that year. This year?
The scheduling was a problem, but possibly an unavoidable one, with Fanfest going against NFL's conference championship games. I think the addition of an electronic music festival designed to coincide with the Super Bowl appears to make Coliseum logistics difficult.
Fanfest often takes place during the bye week before the Super Bowl, but this year there is a crowded Coliseum/Arena calendar. Saturday, January 23 the Arena was reserved for the Harlem Globetrotters. Saturday, January 30 is a supercross motorcycle competition in the Coliseum with piles of dirt making up the course.
The stadium will have to be turned around within a week for the Super City 50 EDM festival the day before the Super Bowl, which probably means lots of noisy equipment moving around the field to take out the piles of dirt on Sunday, January 31 so that there's time to construct the EDM environment.
The weekend after the Super Bowl, the Arena is booked up both days. After that you're so close to the start of spring training that a lot of players are starting to report to camp anyway.
What do I do first?
There are really two options for what you want to do first if you enter at 10 o'clock. Make a beeline either for the clubhouse tour behind section 113 or for the memorabilia sale in the Gate C (first base side) team store. The line for the clubhouse tour builds up quickly and stays lengthy all day but memorabilia sells quickly at the event.
Autographs and photos
With no player introductions, the dynamics for autograph queues may change a little bit. Like last year, there are three queues, two for free autograph sessions and one for paid autographs.
As for the nuts and bolts, free autograph (no pictures) queues begin near the left and right field flagpoles. Queues for photos with players (no autographs) are in the lower lobby of the Eastside Club. Pictures with Oakland's four World Series trophies are in the Eastside Club North Alcove. Pictures with the giant headed Hall of Fame racers will take place by B gate, near section 100.
One piece of the schedule we do know:
I can't make it! Can I watch it online?
Unlike last year, where streaming was unavailable due to technical problems related to converting the Mitsubishi Diamond Vision scoreboard to the new Daktronics scoreboards and sound system, yes!
It looks like the rule for Fanfest is that the day's weather will be the opposite of the prevailing pattern. For the past two years, it was pouring rain in the middle of extreme drought years. This time in the midst of a stormy winter, Sunday's National Weather Service forecast calls for Partly Sunny conditions with a high of 56 degrees and not much wind.
So leave those umbrellas at home, but bring a light jacket!
Who can I follow on Twitter for Fanfest updates?
I'd say I'm the most active on Twitter among our writers here, though I know bernie_til_i_die has said he'll be going. Alex Hall will be there, too, though he's not the live tweeting type. Our good friend Bill Moriarity of A's Farm will be there, too, attending the BlogFest event with us.
Right field denizen Nick Badders (7000 Coliseum Way blog) will also be at BlogFest, as will Swingin' A's podcaster Tony Frye from Hardly Serious. Plus it looks like a few folks from Reddit's Oakland Athletics subreddit will be making it too!
And hang out here with us!
I'll do my best to update here or in the comments when critical information like the schedule of events is posted, so let's look forward to a fun day at the Coliseum!