Monday, March 16, 2009

By Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

The month of March means a lot of things for different people. Whether it's March Madness for college hoops fans or St. Patrick's Day parties for those who love their corned beef and cabbage with Irish brews. And for us baseball fans, there's nothing like the sound of the ball smacking the catcher's glove and the crack of the bat, signifying that baseball is back. Though we may enjoy all of the above during this time of year, we folk most look forward to our annual Spring Fanfest in Tempe, Ariz., every year. There is nothing like breathing in Angels Baseball when it's new and fresh, while bringing to life all that is shared on the forum throughout the season with long time friends or putting faces to new names.

This event, like all of the others, did not lack an effort by the Angels to make the experience all the more special. Tim Mead, Angels vice president of communications, made a call to Rex Hudler and Terry Smith and asked him to visit with us at Hail Mary's, a restaurant/bar in Tempe. Tim had to fly out to San Diego to help with the WBC. Both Terry and Rex were incredible guests, answering fan questions and talking Angels Baseball and the things they've experienced over the years being in baseball.

As you can tell from the slide show pictures, Terry and Rex had as much fun as we did, but as usual Rex brought excitement and his passion for Halos baseball to the room and it energized us all. When he left, after hanging with us for two hours, he showed his 2002 World Series Championship ring to the crowd of guests and said we're going to get another one of these in 2009. As he clinched his fists and let his voice be heard, he created a buzz in the room that had all of us pumped up well into the early stages of the morning. I do want to mention Hudler's book, which I just ordered, titled "Splinters." You can order your own from his Website. Rex also plugged our Website on the air during Sunday's day game vs. the Oakland A's. You can listen here to the sound bytes.

Besides witnessing all three Angels games over the weekend, including a comeback win on Saturday in Mesa against the Cubs, a good size crowd had food and drinks at one of our favorite spots in Tempe, PF Changs. We spent a good portion of the night there as a group before heading our separate ways.

All in all, the weekend was incredible, but it took several people to make an event of this magnitude successful and fun for everyone. Here's a list of thank yous to all who made this event a special one; one that will be memorable for all who attended.

Special thanks to: Tim Mead, Rex Hudler, Terry Smith, Dennis Kuhl for stopping by Throwbacks on Friday night to visit with those who couldn't make it to Tempe, AM 830 KLAA Angels radio, Rob Goldman, Photographer Tommy B., Geoff Bilau for the Fanfest Logo, Cassy Carlson, Hail Mary's owner Renee, driver Andrew Zauner, Dan McKechnie for providing me with awesome seats and Eric Notti, who bought me a seat in the front row at Sunday's game vs. the A's.

There are many more to whom we owe kudos and appreciation, making our motto, first borrowed six years ago, come to life. is an Angels Website of the fans, by the fans, for the fans.

FANFEST2009.jpg picture by chuckster70

For more about the entire Spring Fanfest and the activities and stories surrounding the weekend, visit our message board and view this thread.
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