Tuesday, March 19, 2013

By Ellen Bell, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer -- 

Spring Training is a time of renewal and recommitment to your team. It’s the one time of the year when all baseball fans have the luxury of believing that this could be their year. In those precious, optimistic weeks of March, before a single pitch has been thrown on Opening Day, anything is possible. 

That’s exactly why I buy my ticket to AngelsWin.com's Fanfest each year. It’s not only a chance to reconnect and share baseball optimism with online fan friends. It’s also a weekend of events and experiences that remind me of why I became a Angels fan in the first place.

At the 8th annual Fanfest Dinner on Saturday night, the ever expanding group of AngelsWin faithful gathered to see Tim Salmon. He spent an hour sharing stories and answering questions from grown adults who seemed more like giddy kids who were meeting their childhood hero.

Salmon didn’t come to boast about his many accomplishments or to bask in the glow of fan appreciation. He simply came to share his gratitude for a blessed career and to  honor the people and players who have helped him along the way. And then Big Tim Salmon, all-time Angel Great, left to watch his son perform in a school play, which simply confirms that he is the perfect man after all. 

Speaker after speaker spoke with humble eloquence of what Angels baseball means to them. General Manager Jerry Dipoto shared his belief that, even though statistical analysis is important, players are human beings and much more than numbers on a sabermetrics stat sheet. Broadcaster Victor Rojas spoke with reverence and respect for the game he has grown up with, and demonstrated the value of giving back with his #LTBU campaign for the Miracle League of Orange County. 

But the highlight for me every year is the Sunday morning, State of the Team Talk with Tim Mead, VP of Communications. If Angels Baseball is the gospel, Tim Mead is its preacher. Every year he speaks from the heart, sharing his personal convictions and memories of a team that he has served for more than 30 years. 

Honesty. Credibility. Character.

These are rare words in the world of professional sports today. When they appear, they shine like the Halo after a victory. 

#AWFanfest13 reminded me of why I’m an Angels fan. 

What happens on the field makes me a fan for the day. But it’s the franchise, the people and the players whose character I admire, that make me an Angels fan for life.

Here are some of the highlights (below) of what was a weekend to remember for me.

AngelsWin.com Spring Fanfest '13 Highlights from AngelsWin.com on Vimeo.

Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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