The Diamondbacks 11th annual FanFest will take place at Chase Field this weekend, but there are a couple of significant changes from last year. The event, which drew a crowd estimated at 25,000 in 2014, has moved from Saturday to Sunday, and is also kicking off later in the day, with the doors opening to the public at noon [there's early entry for season ticket holders at 11:00 a.m, and they also get a special autograph session] I'm curious to see how that affects attendance, though it's probably safe to say posting the worst record in the major-leagues will likely have a bit of a dampening impact on pre-season fan enthusiasm!
Summary of events
- D-backs home clubhouse tours, courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Ownership
- Fans can hit in the batting cages, catch a fly ball on the field
- Player photo opportunities, courtesy of Smile Generation
- Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation Yard Sale
- D-backs Race Against Cancer registration, presented by University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph's
- Goldy's Fund 4 Kids where fans can purchase limited-edition Goldy Bleacher Creatures
- D-backs Team Shop Merchandise Truck
- Sports card and Memorabilia Show
- @Dbacks Social Media Zone
- Live music by The Walkens
- Family Fun Zone featuring speed pitch, T-ball and other interactive inflatables, presented by Cox GIGABlast
- Wiffle ball fields featuring D-backs players, coaches and staff from the D-backs Baseball Academy, presented by Phoenix Children's Hospital
- Live Sports broadcast on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and La Mejor 1400 AM throughout the day
- FOX Sports Arizona and Sanderson Ford KidKaster auditions
- Sanderson Ford Cronista Infantil D-backs Spanish broadcast auditions for La Mejor 1400 AM
- Kids' activity area, including face painting, airbrush tattoos and balloon artists courtesy of Banana Boat ® sunscreens
- Receive information about National Anthem, Rally-backs, Golden Glovers and D-backs Legends Racers tryouts
- Fans will have the opportunity to sign up for Gila River Casinos' KachingKo promotion
- First 3,000 fans will receive a SUBWAY® cash card loaded with amounts ranging from $1 - $100
Seems like more or less the same kind of things as usual, which may explain why my interest in going every year has kind waned a bit - there's only really so many times you can snake through the clubhouse before the novelty value wears off. If you compare it to something like the Cubs convention - obviously, an event which has been going on for longer - there does appear to be room for improvement, especially with the convention center literally across the street from Chase Field. Still, much like the RenFair, it's still something worth going to every so often, and I'll be returning for it on Sunday, for the first time since 2012.
- Players: Nick Ahmed, Chase Anderson, Bronson Arroyo, Jake Barrett, Aaron Blair, Archie Bradley, Enrique Burgos, Trevor Cahill, Andrew Chafin, Josh Collmenter, Patrick Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa, Randall Delgado, Brandon Drury, Paul Goldschmidt, Tuffy Gosewisch, Jeremy Hellickson, David Hernandez, Oscar Hernandez, Aaron Hill, Daniel Hudson, Ender Inciarte, Jake Lamb, Will Locante, Evan Marshall, Kevin Munson, Vidal Nuño, Peter O'Brien, Chris Owings, Jordan Pacheco, Cliff Pennington, David Peralta, Óliver Pérez, A.J. Pollock, Robbie Ray, Addison Reed, Matt Reynolds, Cody Ross, A.J. Schugel, Braden Shipley, Matt Stites, Yasmany Tomás, Mark Trumbo, Allen Webster and Brad Ziegler.
- Staff: Manager Chip Hale, Bench Coach Glenn Sherlock, First Base Coach Dave McKay, Assistant Hitting Coach Mark Grace, Third Base Coach Andy Green, Pitching Coach Mike Harkey, Bullpen Coach Mel Stottlemyre, Jr., Coach/Interpreter Ariel Prieto, Quality Control Coach Mike Fetters, President & CEO Derrick Hall, Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa, Senior Vice President & General Manager Dave Stewart, special assistants Luis Gonzalez and J.J. Putz, and other former D-backs players.
- Broadcasters: Bob Brenly, Steve Berthiaume, Greg Schulte, Tom Candiotti, Rodrigo Lopez, Oscar Soria and Richard Saenz.
That's quite some list and, on both the players and staff side, really underlines the massive changes which the team has gone through since this point last year. I put in bold the players who weren't at the event last year, either through not being with the organization, or not meriting an invite. I didn't bother on the staff side, simply because it would have been easier to bold those who were: Glenn Sherlock, Dave McKay and the two special assistants, J.J. Putz and Luis Gonzalez. Though the former was still our closer at that time...
The Subway FanFest stage
As in previous years, there will be Q+A sessions here, in which players and staff take questions, both from the broadcast team, and the audience. New this year though: a Spanish-language session (I think that's new) and a performance by four musically-inclined Diamondbacks. Let's just hope Bronson Arroyo doesn't strain anything in his elbow, attempting a particularly strenuous bit of shredding on his axe.
- 12:10 p.m. - Hosted by Putz with guests: Goldschmidt, Hill, Pollock
- 12:30 p.m. - Hosted by Rodrigo Lopez and Oscar Soria (in Spanish) with guests: Tomas, Peralta, Inciarte
- 1:10 p.m. - Hosted by Berthiaume with guests: Hellickson, Webster, Ray
- 1:25 p.m. - Hosted by Berthiaume and Collmenter with guests: Bradley, Shipley, Blair
- 1:50 p.m. - Musical performance by Arroyo, Hill, Pollock, Trumbo
- 2:30 p.m. - Hosted by Schulte with guests: Hall, La Russa, Hale and Stewart
And finally, although not really my scene: it involves a lot of standing around for something that's usually illegible and impersonal. But if that's your thing, fans have the opportunity to purchase autograph session vouchers for $5, with proceeds benefiting the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. Fans may purchase a maximum of one table per session and two vouchers per table, and they go on sale to the public at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday at the Chase Field Box Office. However, season ticket holder and D-backs Insiders will have the ability to buy them online before that. The autograph session times and locations are as follow:
|12:15 - 1pm||Owings
|1:15 - 2pm||Anderson
|De la Rosa
|2:15 - 3pm||Delgado
|3:15 - 4pm||Arroyo
The D-backs will also have an area in right field at Chase Field for kids 12 and under to receive free autographs from players, coaches and broadcasters during four sessions from 12:15 - 4:00 p.m. Vouchers for each session will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis 15 minutes prior to each respective autograph session in front of the Kids Autograph Area. Up to one parent can accompany each child in line.
We'll report back on Sunday night, with pictures, and stay tuned on Twitter for live updates on Sunday afternoon.