A couple of teams held winter fan fests over the weekend, offering autographs and some game-used items for sale. One future Hall of Famer showed up unannounced.
The Cincinnati Reds made a splash in the free agent market by signing relief ace Francisco Cordero out from under division rival Milwaukee. That helped put a jolt in the annual RedsFest.
The team sold some game-used items and held an autograph session that was highlighted by the surprise appearance of one of its biggest star.
Meanwhile, some extra-excited Phillies fans got in line as early at 5 a.m. for a crack at some of the game-used sports memorabilia on sale.
Some showed up to meet Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas and Phillies alums Milt Thompson, Terry Harmon, Mitch Williams and Gary "Sarge" Matthews.
"I got some great stocking stuffers," fan Dave Brunner told the team’s web site. He dropped around $200 for game-used bats and a Chase Utley banner. "I got here fairly early, at around 7:30 a.m., and the line was already around 25 deep. I make this trip every year, and what I like is that they have enough here for everyone. I usually take my wife, but this is the first time I wanted to get here this early. She stayed home. For me, I’m a true collector who doesn’t resell, so this is a great thing."
Kailey Labovitz also received an early Christmas present. The 10-year-old accompanied her father, Alan, to the event this year, and her eyes lit up when her father told her the Utley banner they bought would likely be hung in her room.
"We come every year to build our collection," said Alan, who drove from nearby Abington, and took home with him some game-used jerseys and autographed bats.