(A few of the AngelsWin.com members attending the ’11 fanfest gathered for a picture on Friday)
What a weekend it was!
Starting on Friday, March 4th, over 80 fans from AngelsWin.com arrived in Tempe, Arizona to catch a weekend of baseball and to kick off the season with their 6th annual Spring Training Fanfest. As the fans assembled for the game, the Angels prepared to take on the Chicago White Sox. Thanks to a mighty blow from Mark Trumbo, the fans left the ballpark happy with a 3-1 Angels victory.
Later that night, the festivities kicked off with the traditional dinner at P.F. Chang’s. With a large group of friends, good food, and good drinks, the fun continued late into the evening, with many of the fans staying out late at a local piano bar.
On Saturday, the day’s events got underway with a road trip to the Maryvale Baseball Park to see the Angels take on the Brewers. Since it was an early in Spring Training game, it was a mostly cobbled together lineup. Unfortunately, the Angels’ bats were mostly silent during the game. But, for most of the fans in attendance, it was their first opportunity to see Mike Trout in an Angels uniform. Late in the game, he drew a walk and scored the Angels’ only run. Based on what we saw from him over the weekend, the kid can play.
Rather than being disappointed with the loss, the group from AngelsWin.com was excited for the evening festivities. At 5:00, the crowd assembled at Hail Mary’s for their annual dinner. With a packed house, AngelsWin.com was pleased to have as their first set of honored guests the Angels Chairman Dennis Kuhl and Angels’ TV play-by-play announcer Victor Rojas. To hear an interview that AngelsWin.com held with Dennis Kuhl at the beginning of the offseason, please click here and for an interview we held with Victor Rojas at the end of 2010, please click here.
After mingling for a bit, both Dennis Kuhl and Victor Rojas spoke with the fans about a variety of topics, including the offseason, the upcoming 50th Anniversary season, and the team’s prospects for 2011. They both took questions from the fans, and spoke at length. After peppering Dennis and Victor for over an hour, the fans settled down for a good dinner. However, there was more to come.
As Victor Rojas and Dennis Kuhl were finishing up, the fans from AngelsWin.com were in for an additional treat. Minor League prospects Steven Geltz and Matt Oye came to attend the dinner and meet the fans. Both Steve and Matt are pitchers in the organization and rising prospects. Steve had an incredible year in 2010, striking out 17.36 batters per 9.0 IP while Matt played at every level in the organization except the Major Leagues! For an interview that AngelsWin.com recorded with Steve Geltz in 2010, please click here.
After making sure that Steve and Matt were fed (unfortunately Minor League players aren’t paid anywhere near where the Major Leaguers are paid, and every little bit helps), the players spoke with the fans about their lives and experiences in the Minor Leagues. While their humble nature and good manner, they both became quick hits with everyone. When they arrive in Anaheim, they will have a fan base ready to go!
As the evening made its way into the late hours, the fans stayed together to talk with the players and to enjoy each other’s company. But, for most, it wasn’t going to be too late of a night, as the fans from AngelsWin.com were in for one last treat: an early morning meeting on Sunday with Tim Mead in Tempe Diablo stadium.
Arriving at the ballpark at 9:15, the fans from AngelsWin.com entered the stadium early to meet with the Angels’ Vice President of Communications and to watch all the early morning drills. Again AngelsWin.com fans had the opportunity to ask Tim Mead questions about a variety of topics ranging from the Vernon Wells’ deal to looking ahead towards the next collective bargaining agreement. At the end of the meeting, Claude and Rock Bilodeau, the creators of Matsuiland unveiled their latest creation: Toriitown! Upon seeing the sign, Torii was very honored and pleased with their creation saying “beers are on me!” Later, he autographed the sign in the middle of the baseball logo.
After taking a quick break to grab a great meal at Aunt Chilada’s, the fans from AngelsWin.com had one last hurrah watching the Angels take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. Claude and Rock didn’t have to wait long to put Toriitown to the test as Hunter had a great day at the plate going 2-for-3 with a double.
With a 7-2 victory behind them, the fans from AngelsWin.com headed out of the stadium and back towards their home ready for the 50th Anniversary Season to begin. The offseason is over. It’s time for 2011 to get underway.
AngelsWin.com wants to particularly thank Dennis Kuhl, Victor Rojas, Tim Mead, Steve Geltz, Matt Oye for all their time making this weekend particularly special for all the fans. Over the upcoming days, AngelsWin.com will be posting video and audio recordings from all the Q&A sessions, so check back to see all the excitement that happened in Spring Training Fanfest 2011.
Here’s some pictures via a slide show (will add more as they come in) capturing a few of these great moments experienced at our ’11 AngelsWin.com Spring Fanfest.