The Oakland Athletics will have their 2012 fanfest Sunday, Jan. 29.
In the past, prior to each season, the Oakland Athletics would hold an event for the fans in combination with either the team's pre-season workout or with an exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants at what is now the O.Co Coliseum.
This year, the team decided to put on a more traditional fanfest - which is when a Major League team hosts an indoor event during the winter.
Fans will have the opportunity to experience a bit of the old and new this Sunday, Jan. 29, and mingle with their favorite A's players, as well as, get to know some of the new faces on the team. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way in Oakland.
"One of our main concerns with previous January events in the Coliseum was the risk of inclement weather," Bob Rose, the director of Public Relations for the Oakland Athletics, said. "Also, the field is typically set up for an event other than baseball in January. In planning this year’s event, we have felt great that the Oracle Arena eliminated any weather risk and provides a comfortable environment for our fans to interact with our players."
Rose also said that although there are advantages and trade-offs to whatever fan event a team decides on, the Oakland A's want to try new things and see what fans like best.
"We are optimistic that this will be a great event," he said. "We are pleased to have special appearances this year from A’s 'legends' like Gene Tenace, Vida Blue, Joe Rudi, Scott Hatteberg and David Justice, who will help launch our anniversary celebrations of the 1972 and 2002 teams."
Still, perhaps the biggest change from previous Oakland A's fanfests and what will most likely be the biggest draw for this year's event: Fans will have the chance to meet one-on-one with A's owner and managing partner Lew Wolff, who has drawn a lot of criticism from "die-hard" A's fans for his previous and current attempts of moving the team out of Oakland for cities like Fremont, and now San Jose, that would be willing to build a new state-of-the-art stadium for the team.
However, despite the "love/hate" relationship between Wolff and A's fans, the team's 2012 fanfest will have many of the same elements that were provided in previous years like free autograph sessions, photo opportunities with the A's four World Series championship trophies and Q & A sessions with players.
Tickets for the 2012 fanfest are currently still available. The price of admission for adults is $8 and $5 for children 14 and under. Admission is free to season ticket holders or those who put a deposit down on season tickets for the upcoming season.
"Most all of the activity inside the arena is free," Rose said. "One of the only exceptions is the memorabilia sale, which raises money for our community fund. In addition, we are offering free parking to all fans."
Aside from the A's "legends" already mentioned, other players scheduled to make appearances at the fanfest are Coco Crisp, Jemile Weeks, Dallas Braden and Kurt Suzuki among others.
This offseason, the A's have made several trades and changes to its 2011 roster including moving pitchers Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and outfielders Ryan Sweeney and David DeJesus in return for many young talented players, who are scheduled to be a part of the fanfest experience.
"With so many new faces, this is the most important time to have such an event, because it allows fans to get to know our players and develop those connections," Rose said. "We would expect fans to be curious about all our young talent acquired in these offseason trades, many players of whom will make their first-ever appearance as an Athletic this Sunday."
"This event is intended to bring our fans closer to our players, to introduce our new faces this year and to provide a fun way for the A’s to start building excitement for the upcoming season," Rose added. "It should be quite a spectacle for our fans."
For more information on purchasing tickets, visit oaklandathletics.com/fanfest.
A's FanFest presented by Comcast SportsNet California
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29
Where: The Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way in Oakland
Price: $8 for adults, $5 for children 14 and under. Parking is free to all fans with parking gates scheduled to open at 8 a.m.