First FanFest goes swimmingly -- and singingly

First FanFest goes swimmingly -- and singingly

First FanFest goes swimmingly -- and singingly
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers All-Star center fielder Matt Kemp has accomplished plenty on the baseball diamond in his career.

His on-stage singing resume? Not quite as impressive, although he unexpectedly began piecing it together Saturday with his appearance at the Dodgers' inaugural FanFest.

More than 9,000 fans took part in the FanFest presented by State Farm. The event, which took place in the parking lot behind the outfield pavilion, ran more than seven hours and included autograph opportunities, games and on-stage player interviews.

When Kemp, who is currently on the disabled list, took the stage, he was asked by a fan if he could sing happy birthday to that fan's family member. Kemp obliged.

"You always wonder what a fan would want to ask you, and they come up with some surprising questions," Kemp said, laughing.

The atmosphere, Kemp said, was impressive. But it's nothing he didn't expect, having played for Dodgers fans the last six seasons.

"They were chanting and screaming and doing a lot out there," Kemp said. "They're definitely excited about this season and what's going on around here. We're excited, too. We feed off that."

Almost every current Dodgers player made the trip out beyond center field to interact with the fans. So, too, did a handful of former players, legendary announcer Vin Scully and manager Don Mattingly.

Catcher A.J. Ellis was among the players at the FanFest. He signed autographs, and he said the fans were extremely encouraging in thanking him for his hot start.

"It was the first time I've ever done something like that in all my time here," Ellis said. "It was a really neat event. Even that long before the first pitch, seeing all the fans out there and the excitement and the people, it's just a reminder for all of us who we're playing for."

Adrian Gonzalez, a Dodgers fan from nearby San Pedro, called the event "the best thing in the world."

"You can't ask for anything else," he said. "Free autographs, good music and good people."