Another FanFest has come and gone. It was a fun day with around 9,000 fans, slightly fewer than last year, attending at the Baltimore Convention Center. FanFest always gets you ready for another season after a day of talking baseball and talking with Orioles players, coaches and front office staff.
Over the next week or two, I’l continue to post some interviews, quotes and stories from the day. For today, here are some quotes from FanFest.
Dan Duquette on his fan forum and meeting fans: “It was great. I love the passion of the fans and their interest in the team. When they start asking about players in the minor leagues, that shows they are really engaged in the club. I was heartened by the question about (Manny) Machado and then the woman that asked about the adjustment of these players coming from Japan to the U.S. to play.”
Duquette was asked if the offseason additions are complete: “Well, we should be able to sign a few more players to supplement our roster or players that we can at least take a look at in camp. We will continue to work on building our roster. That never stops really, but I think there is a good opportunity to add a few more players here in the next few weeks.”
New relief pitcher Darren O’Day knows that, as a right-handed, submarine-style pitcher, he needs to be very effective against right-handed hitters: “That’s kind of my job, naturally I will face more righties than lefties. But I do pride myself on not being just a righty guy. When I was having my good years when I was healthy, I was getting lefties out too. My splits were pretty good. I know to be on this team I need to get righties out whenever they ask.”
Zach Britton said he looks forward to getting to know foreign-born pitchers Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen: “I think it is great to have some diversity there. Koji (Uehara) was a guy that was awesome to have in the clubhouse. He had a different way of pitching with fantastic command. So, yeah, I’m anxious to work with Chen too. I saw some of his video. I haven’t seen Wada throw. I don’t know if I need to get Rosetta Stone like Wiety (Matt Wieters), but I am going to find a way to pick his brain about pitching.”
Tommy Hunter on how he felt he pitched last year after joining the Orioles: “I didn’t throw well at all. It was rough at the beginning. It was a transition, I was in the bullpen for about a month and a half with Texas and coming back to starting it was tough. But I didn’t throw well enough to win. I started getting back in the groove late in the year.”
Mark Reynolds on the key to playing better defense at third base in 2012: “A lot of it has to do with my confidence going into spring. And, obviously coming in more mobile (after losing 20 lbs.) and agile and being able to move the way you need to move over there. I will put in a lot of extra work in spring and not take anything for granted. I’m going out like I don’t have a job. I’m going to work my butt off and get better.”
Ryan Adams had sports hernia surgery after last season ended: “It went well. I went to a specialist in Philadelphia and he told me I had a significant tear. But he now thinks it will be stronger than before. I’ve had a good offseason in recovery and I think right now I’m really close to 100 percent. Sometimes, in working out, I feel it at times, but I’m running full speed and I’ll definitely be ready to go come spring training.”
A couple of other quick impressions from yesterday:
* A couple Orioles I asked off the record about Jim Johnson felt he has all the tools and pitches to be a solid starter.
* Reynolds seemed very determined to put last year’s bad defense behind him and prove to the doubters that he is much better than that.
* We are just going to have to get used to the fact that Dan Duquette evades some issues and I am sure has very good reasons for doing so. He just won’t be pinned down on what level of interest, if any, the club has in Prince Fielder. For some reason, while he continues to get chances in interviews to say the Orioles have no interest in Manny Ramirez, he never says that.
* Duquette is clearly a strong believer in Rick Peterson and his biomechanical pitching analysis.
* Hunter is the funniest and most entertaining Oriole since Kevin Millar.
* Despite the belief of some fans that Adam Jones has no interest in staying with the Orioles past 2013, I felt his comments yesterday about a contract extension were sincere and he is very open to staying here. The Orioles now have to decide if they want to extend him and they need to make the appropriate offer.
Feel free to leave some comments on any of this or your impressions and thoughts from FanFest if you attended Saturday.
If you have not seen it, the Orioles have unveiled a Web site devoted to the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards.
Check out some video interviews from FanFest in our media lounge.