Twenty-three former Nationals, including manager Davey Johnson and several players from the team’s inaugural 2005 season; seven Hall of Famers; two Olympic gold medalists and Ryan Zimmerman are among the guests scheduled to appear at next month’s FanFest at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center ahead of the All-Star Game at Nationals Park.
Major League Baseball on Monday announced additional details for the five-day event to be held July 13-17, where fans will have the opportunity to get autographs, participate in question-and-answer sessions and clinics led by former players and explore roughly 50 interactive exhibits and attractions.
The former Nationals expected back in D.C. include Carlos Baerga, Ryan Church, Chad Cordero, Nick Johnson, John Lannan, John Patterson, Jose Vidro and Dmitri Young. (Whither Nook Logan, Steve Lombardozzi and Terrmel Sledge?)
The list of legends (non-Nationals division) scheduled to attend includes former Dodgers shortstop and D.C. native Maury Wills, who won the first All-Star Game MVP award at the 1962 Midsummer Classic held at D.C. Stadium (later renamed RFK Stadium). Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Sharon Robinson, and Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, Ferguson Jenkins, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Tim Raines are also expected to make appearances. Dawson and Raines, both former Expos, are enshrined in the Ring of Honor at Nationals Park. Jennie Finch and Lisa Fernandez, gold-medal winning teammates on the 2004 U.S. Olympic softball team, are also scheduled to attend.
Other attractions at FanFest include pitching tunnels, batting cages where fans can have their swings analyzed with Blast Motion technology, a PlayStation video game trailer featuring “MLB The Show,” Hall of Fame artifact and MLB trophy displays, a Negro Leagues exhibit and several baseball diamonds. Fans who register for the FanFest experience pass can track their statistics from FanFest’s various interactive games and will be automatically entered to win various prizes, including tickets to the Home Run Derby.
FanFest will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Friday through Monday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Each day will feature a different theme and giveaway.
Friday, July 13: Kids Day
The first 3,000 fans will receive a special edition Ryan Zimmerman bobblehead. Baseball and softball clinics targeted to younger fans will be offered throughout the day. There will be a kids home run derby, skills contests and games and a kids news conference with an MLB legend.
Friday player appearances (in alphabetical order and subject to change): Carlos Baerga, Jamey Carroll, Ryan Church, Lisa Fernandez, Rollie Fingers, Alex Gonzalez, Livan Hernandez, Juan Marichal, Justin Maxwell, Manny Sanguillen.
Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15: Military Appreciation Weekend
The first 3,000 fans on Saturday will receive an All-Star Game performance headband. The first 3,000 fans on Sunday will receive a commemorative coin. Junior ROTC members will present the colors for the national anthem and all active and retired military will be eligible for discounted tickets.
Saturday player appearances: Rick Ankiel, Chad Cordero, Lisa Fernandez, Jennie Finch, Steve Finley, Jerry Hairston Jr., Ferguson Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Jim Robinson, Pedro Sierra.
Sunday player appearances: Sean Burnett, Bert Campaneris, Matt Capps, Andre Dawson, Lisa Fernandez, Ferguson Jenkins, Davey Johnson, Nick Johnson, Fred Lynn, Gaylord Perry, Preston Wilson, Dmitri Young.
Monday, July 16: Social Media Monday
The first 3,000 fans will receive a limited edition Bryce Harper bobblehead. Fans who share their FanFest experiences on Twitter or Instagram will be entered to win various prizes.
Player appearances: Johnny Bench, Lisa Fernandez, Rollie Fingers, Kevin Frandsen, Lenny Harris, Ferguson Jenkins, Austin Kearns, John Lannan, Jason Marquis, John Patterson, Tim Raines, Sharon Robinson, Maury Wills, Dave Winfield.
Tuesday, July 17: Youth Leagues Day
The first 1,000 fans ages 12 and under wearing their youth team jerseys will receive an All-Star Game jersey patch. The first 3,000 fans of all ages will receive a limited edition Max Scherzer bobblehead.
Tuesday player appearances: Carlos Baerga, Johnny Bench, Orlando Cabrera, Lisa Fernandez, Rollie Fingers, Joel Hanrahan, Livan Hernandez, Tony Oliva, Jose Vidro, Brad Wilkerson, Ryan Zimmerman.
Attendance at last year’s FanFest in Miami was 111,049, which was down five percent from 2016’s event in San Diego, according to Sports Business Daily. Single-day tickets are typically $35 for adults and $30 for children ages 3-12, but $10 tickets are available for Monday, July 16, using the coupon code FFMM for a limited time. All FanFest attractions and autograph opportunities are included in the price of admission. The only additional costs are for concessions and memorabilia.
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