All-Star James joins FanFest lineup
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February 6, 2008 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – Frontier League All-Star Jason James is a last-minute addition to the guest list for Rockford RiverHawks FanFest 2008.

The team’s annual hot-stove event, scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Thursday at Giovanni’s Restaurant, 610 N. Bell School Rd., is sold out. Ticket proceeds will benefit the Rockford Boys and Girls Clubs.

Randy Bush, assistant general manager of the Chicago Cubs and a two-time world champion with the Minnesota Twins, will be the featured guest. Wayne Messmer, the public-address announcer at Wrigley Field, will be the event’s master of ceremonies. Other guests include three members of the Cubs’ 1984 National League East championship team. Leon Durham, Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier will appear.

The RiverHawks will be represented by manager Bob Koopmann, pitcher Ryan Brnardic and catcher Andrew Sweet, a Belvidere native who played for Rockford last season and will be with River City this year.

James’ first home run as a professional came in his first playoff game for the RiverHawks, two years ago against Evansville. Last year, his first full season as a professional, he was a Frontier League all-star. James hit .345, second in the Frontier League, with seven home runs and 61 RBI.

“For the RiverHawks fans attending the event, it’s a special treat to see Jason as he became a fan favorite last year and has developed into one of the best hitters in the league,” RiverHawks general manager Josh Olerud said.

FanFest has been revamped to resemble the annual Cubs Caravan, which will not visit Rockford this winter. Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. An autograph show featuring former major-leaguers, former RiverHawks and current members of the team begins at 6:30 p.m. Bush and the other guests will take questions from the audience starting at 8 p.m.

Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase RiverHawks souvenirs and apparel. In addition, the RiverHawks’ inflatable speed pitch from the stadium will be at Giovanni’s.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 16th season in 2008. Most games are broadcast live on WNTA (1330 AM) and the internet. Advertising and season-ticket information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255.


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