Sunday, January 29, 2006

Fan Fest Summary

Yesterday (January 28), the Rangers had their annual Fan Fest, otherwise known as the Winter Carnival. They had autographs, Q&A sessions, and other activities. In this blog entry, I will summarize my day and put some questions and answers from the Brad Wilkerson Q&A session.

At 10am, as me and my dad were walking, we saw three incredibly long lines and luckily we weren’t in any of them. We were in a short line for Frisco RoughRiders pitcher John Danks and Rangers pitcher CJ Wilson at the Newberg table. CJ Wilson was not scheduled to come but Newberg got him to sign autographs. John and CJ both are really good characters and John even remembered me from the banquet the night before.

At 11am, we went to the Brad Wilkerson Q&A session. Here are some of the questions and answers. These are not the exact words.

Q: Who was your favorite teammate of all time to play with?
A: Vladimir Guerrero because he would always work as hard as he could. Brad Wilkerson once saw him throw a ball from deep right field to 20 rows behind home plate.

Q: How was it to have Frank Robinson as your manager?
A: It was tough at first because the players are different than when Frank Robinson played. It was also great because he’s a Hall of Famer, so all of the players learned a lot from him.

Q: How do you compare American fans with Canadian fans?
A: American fans have more knowledge of the game and Canadian fans are louder than the American fans. Canadian fans are also more into the hot dogs, especially on dollar hot dog day.

Brad seemed very nice and like he might be an easy autograph target during the year.

Once the interview was over at 11:30am, we hurried over to the Newberg table so we could get Joselo Diaz and Nick Trzeniak’s autographs. You can read about Joselo Diaz in my blog entry ‘Diaz and Anderson Sign’. Nick Trzeniak was in the Padres’ organization last year and he seemed very friendly.

After that, we stayed at the Newberg table to get High-A Bakersfield Blaze catcher Justin Hatcher’s autograph. He was very friendly and he tended to talk pretty fast.

I met Kathleen O’Brien, the Rangers writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, at the Newberg table after getting Justin Hatcher’s autograph. She was friendly and gave me advice on how to write when I grow up.

At 1pm, me and my dad had lunch and went back to the Newberg table to get Josh Lewin and Jon Daniels’ autographs (both unscheduled). Josh Lewin and Jon Daniels have both been very nice to me and never wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

As me and my dad were walking out of the Diamond Club, we saw how empty the lines were for new Rangers first base coach Bobby Jones, new Rangers reliever and former Cub Jon Leicester, and Rangers reliever Erasmo Ramirez. We went downstairs to get autograph tickets for these players and coach. We went back to the Diamond Club and got their autographs.

At 2pm, we were in a big rush to get through Rangers bullpen coach Dom Chiti and Rangers bench coach Don Wakamatsu’s autograph line so we could get to the Buck Showalter and Jon Daniels Q&A session on time.

Sure enough, after we got the autographs, we had plenty of time to get to the Q&A session. Maybe a little too much time because we saw part of the Baseball Comedy Improv, which started at 2 o’clock. I will give you the question and answer of the question I asked Buck Showalter. These are not his exact words either.

Q: Not including current Rangers, what were your favorite players to manage?
A: Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson, and David Cone

At 3, we waited in line in case Thomas Diamond and Travis Metcalf came to the Newberg table because they had said that they might be there. They weren’t able to make it.

As we were leaving, we got Jose Guzman, Dave Hostetler, and Pete O’Brien’s autographs even though we didn’t have an autograph ticket for them. They were very nice to sign for people that didn’t have tickets.

That was the end of our day at Fan Fest. The Rangers organized this very well but must have been disappointed with the rainy weather keeping people from running the bases, catching pop flies, and throwing in the bullpen. The Newberg table was definitely the best table for me.

4 comments:

Bruce Schiller said...

Grant,

Great summary of Fan Fest. YOu asked excellent questions and provide Rangers fans with "insider" insight.

David said...

Wow, that's quite a day you had. You did an excellent job of writing about it. I almost felt like I was there. It sounds like you met a lot of great people from the Rangers' organization. Hopefully, this will be their year.

I'd love to hear a summary of the awards dinner you went to on Friday night.

Ken Pittman said...

Always great to hear your experience. I'd love to hear about the awards dinner as well.

You've got a very bright future.

grantlovesbaseball said...

Thanks for the nice comments. I will write about the banquet next weekend unless something else happens with the Rangers.