Originally Posted by Nelfox02
-I walked out with a lot of autographs, but the getting Goose Gossage out of nowhere in the lobby was wild. He had just finished checking in on Saturday and my friend and I were the only ones who noticed him, he walked up to us and offered to sign our baseballs, really nice guy. It was great because I ve never met him before, and going into this weekend was not planning on seeing him there at all
-Watching Addison Reed hang out with a ton of kids in the lobby on Saturday night and talk baseball and take pictures. To me, this is what Sox Fest is really about, and what makes the event special. The unofficial interaction that you see with players and fans at Sox Fest is great, and a lot of other team's fan fests have nothing like it. Kudos to the players that took extra time to hang out in the lobby and interact with fans of all ages, Reed and TCM won my top honors in that category this year.
We spent some time late Saturday night loitering in the hotel lobby and saw Reed and Ramirez mixing with the crowd, though we didn't talk with them; they were surrounded by plenty of others who were. We talked briefly with Roland Hemond, but if Goose Gossage was there we missed him.
This was only my third SoxFest. ChiSoxGirl is the champ, having attended the last 20, and I've always deferred to her judgment in SoxFest logistics. Her advice was to hang around the lobby to see Sox players outside their natural habitat. Had I been a keener observer I might have seen Gossage.
SoxFest really is total immersion therapy when hot-stove talk is at a low ebb. Autographs are great for collectors, but for me that process it more about getting a chance, however brief, to tell the player (or former player) that I appreciate his work. Pete Ward was there this year, and I was able to talk with him long enough to let him know that I was glad to see him after 45 years and that I appreciated his work too. He genuinely thanked me and told me how much he enjoyed being there.
Love the seminars. It's to the organization's credit that players, as well as Ventura and Hahn, take unrehearsed questions from the floor. In my experience the questions have been insightful and interesting and I think the players appreciate that. These folks know their baseball and they know their White Sox history, and it shows in the quality of the questions and the thoughtful responses given by the players and staff. I learn something at every session.
The best example was Aaron Rowand's sincerity when he was asked about his reaction to being traded after the 2005 season. He didn't fall back on bromides and clichés, but said without hesitation that he was devastated. He spoke of coming up through the Sox organization, his experience in the city, of being a Bears fan, and how he was moved when someone in the autograph session said to him, "welcome home."
As a fan I understood exactly what he was talking about and I understood how he felt. Between the quality of the seminars, the hilarious anecdotes among the current and former players, and the chance to thank them all, it's a great weekend. And all the while surrounded by hundreds of others who share my zeal. For my money, all of that is the best part of SoxFest.