Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
During the mid-1940s and into the ‘50s, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League captivated baseball fans throughout the Midwest.
While America was at war and with many young men being drafted, Major League Baseball was at a standstill. Behind financial support from Phillip Wrigley, the women’s league was formed in 1943 and would last until 1954 when it disbanded.
All photos by Josh Greene
By Greg Dillard
The 2011 MLB All-Star FanFest is officially underway at the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix.
With 350,000 square feet of interactive baseball entertainment, FanFest provides visitors with an unparalleled baseball experience. The event, which is now in its 21st year, has drawn more than 2,100,000 fans during the past 20 seasons.
Chase Field is already buzzing for FanFest!
The doors opened at 9 a.m. for early arrivals, with D-backs season ticket holders and SUBWAY Value Meals customers entering an hour early.
At 10 a.m., D-backs fans started streaming in, already in great numbers (with photos to come).
Daron Sutton is conducting a Q&A right now on the stage out at center field, and fans are purchasing autograph session tickets at the plaza ticket windows. Also, check out the yard sale for all sorts of D-backs gear, as well as the memorabilia show for bobbleheads, posters, trading cards and more.
D-backs Training Centers personnel are throwing pitches on three fields located in the infield, and FOX Sports Arizona is filming great D-backs fans to air during broadcasts this season.
Sports 620 KTAR is broadcasting live, with Mark Reynolds and new first baseman Adam LaRoche on air right now. I just ran into Matt Williams downstairs, and he’ll be joining the crew soon. Justin Upton, Clay Zavada and Ian Kennedy are all hanging out together in the clubhouse, and all three will be participating in various activities soon.
You can listen to Sports 620 KTAR’s live broadcast here: http://den-a.plr.liquidcompass.net/player/flash/audio_player.php?id=KTARAM&uid=239
I’ll be back with a lot more, including photos, video and audio very soon!
I love FanFest. And if the huge number of fans in attendance last year is an indication, so do most of you.
I’ve had a few different roles at FanFest in the past, and have had a blast every time. Last year, I got to run around and be a fan with my niece and nephew, who couldn’t get enough of the many inflatable play areas.
On Saturday, the D-backs will host the sixth annual SUBWAY D-backs FanFest at Chase Field from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fans who purchase two Fresh Value Meals at participating Phoenix-area SUBWAY locations, however, can enter Chase Field an hour early, at 9 a.m. Hurry though, that offer is only good through today.
D-backs players will participate in Q&A sessions and autograph signings, with all proceeds from autographs going to the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. It’s a virtual certainty that you’ll have access to your favorite D-backs player or coach, as Manager A.J. Hinch, Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, Chris Young, Conor Jackson and many more are all slated to appear.
One of the popular aspects of last year’s event was the presence of D-backs alumni, which will continue this year with Kelley Stinnett and Quinton McCracken. Of course, former D-backs third baseman Matt Williams will be there, as he is now a member of the D-backs coaching staff.
The team’s radio broadcast partner KTAR will be there from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with its various hosts and D-backs on-air personalities broadcasting live with D-backs players and executives. Here’s a look at the KTAR schedule:
9-10 a.m. — Dave Burns and Paul Calvisi
10-11 a.m. — “Doug & Wolf” with Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley
11 a.m.-12 p.m. — Daron Sutton and Mark Grace
12-1 p.m. — Greg Schulte and Tom Candiotti
1-2 p.m. — “Gambo & Ash” with John Gambadoro and Mark Asher
The same things you’ve loved about SUBWAY FanFest in the past will be included this year, such as tours of the D-backs’ home clubhouse, D-backs Training Centers Wiffle Ball fields and practice clinics, Family Fun Zone with speed pitch and interactive inflatables, a sports card and memorabilia show, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation yard sale and a silent auction hosted by the D-backs wives.
If you think you’re a great, die-hard fan, make sure to wear your D-backs gear for FOX Sports Arizona’s “Be a Fan” campaign. They’ll be taping promotional spots with D-backs fans at a booth near the first base dugout. The network is looking for fans of all ages to show their support for the team.
I’ll be posting here a few times on Saturday, so check to this blog for some observations, photos, audio and (hopefully) video. And if you see me wandering around FanFest, please do stop and say hello.
Here are a few more photos from last year’s event.