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FanFest fuels optimism for Padres in coming season

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SAN DIEGO -- Threatening skies Saturday morning didn't deter fans from attending FanFest at Petco Park.

The Padres had 13,944 fans attend their annual FanFest event, the unofficial start to the 2013 baseball season.

"It was a great day," said Padres president and CEO Tom Garfinkel. "All of the fans I talked to were excited and optimistic about the season, and to see the players interacting directly with them so much was fantastic."

Over 20 current players attended the event and took part in autograph sessions as well as question-and-answer segments. Manager Bud Black was on hand to meet fans as well, conducting a forum atop the home dugout with assistant general manager A.J. Hinch.

The Padres Garage Sale was a big hit. Merchandise like one-of-a-kind autographed jerseys, game-used equipment and clubhouse memorabilia were sold to raise $64,395 to benefit the Padres Foundation.

Several Padres players who attended the event were flying to Arizona late Saturday or Sunday for the start of Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report to the team's facility in Peoria on Tuesday.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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