If FanFest is about a great day to talk Orioles baseball and get excited for a new baseball season in Baltimore, then mission accomplished. Once again, more than10,000 fans packed the Baltimore Convention Center and it seems many of us left the building wishing today were opening day.
* Seeing Buck Showalter walk to the main stage shortly after 10 a.m. to a standing ovation from season ticket holders.
* Hearing Brandon Erbe talk about the steady progress he is making since his August labrum surgery.
* Seeing a slimmed-down Josh Bell sending a message that he will be heard from again in Baltimore.
*Meeting new O’s first base coach Wayne Kirby and realizing the fans will come to love his enthusiasm for the game.
* Hearing Zach Britton say he could walk through the building and a lot of people didn’t recognize him. That won’t last for long, Zach.
* Seeing young players Erbe and Brandon Snyder cracking on each other and having fun during a fan forum. It was a pleasure to host that forum where fans got to really see some of the young players personalities come out.
*Being asked about Vladimir Guerrero constantly, as expected.
*Being asked if Guerrero really was behind the curtain.
* Hearing Showalter say the door is still open on the possibility of Jim Johnson pitching in the rotation. While it still seems like a long shot, it is not being ruled out right now.
* Seeing the lines to get in wrapped around the building.
* Seeing the smiles on kids’ faces when they meet the players.
*Hearing from fans that the new autograph policy seemed to work well.
There really seemed to be a good buzz in the building with genuine excitement and hope that this year, finally, will be one where the O’s show progress.
The passion for O’s baseball is there, it never really went away, it just gets beat down by all the losing. But fans can’t wait to get behind this team, the club just has to give them a reason to do that.
If you were at FanFest, feel free to write in today with some of your impressions. What did you enjoy the most? Which players were interacting the best with the fans? Did the new autograph policy work well? Did you get a chance to get your picture taken with Roch Kubatko?