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Padres see big crowd, excitement at FanFest

Special to MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Manager Andy Green wasn't looking to compare turnouts, but if this year's attendance at Padres FanFest was any indication, fans are eager to see what the future holds for a club brimming with quality young talent.

Over 10,000 people filed into Petco Park on Saturday to participate in the interactive exhibits, question-and-answer meetings, autograph sessions, kid experiences and more at Padres FanFest.

SAN DIEGO -- Manager Andy Green wasn't looking to compare turnouts, but if this year's attendance at Padres FanFest was any indication, fans are eager to see what the future holds for a club brimming with quality young talent.

Over 10,000 people filed into Petco Park on Saturday to participate in the interactive exhibits, question-and-answer meetings, autograph sessions, kid experiences and more at Padres FanFest.

"The passion of the fan base is astounding, with where we are in the process that they'd show up to a day like today," Green said. "It's enjoyable for me. It's enjoyable for our players. We appreciate more than they can possibly know."

• Tickets for Padres Theme Games

Fans had the opportunity to play catch and mingle in the outfield -- with a fly-ball simulator set up in right field -- while being able to run from first-to-third on the bases as well.

The Padres also celebrated the anniversary of their 1998 team, which reached the second World Series in franchise history. Green and Padres general manager A.J. Preller fielded questions from fans at Park at the Park behind the batter's eye in center field, with assorted players joining in.

"A lot of times when you're sitting in the stands, I know as a fan growing up, you feel that connection because you see the players on TV every night," Preller said. "To get an opportunity to hear somebody speak, get an autograph or shake somebody's hand, that's a huge part of it."

Video: Tony Gwynn Jr. discusses the Padres' 2018 outlook

Old and new faces alike were on display Saturday.

Top prospects Cal Quantrill and Luis Urias joined players such as Clayton Richard, Luis Perdomo, Dinelson Lamet, Travis Jankowski, Brad Hand, Carlos Asuaje, Kirby Yates and many others in meeting with fans. Randy Jones was one of several Padres alumni on hand for the event.

"It means a lot for me having the support of the fans here," Perdomo said through a team interpreter. "For us to be able to come out here and interact with them and meet with them, it's a cool day."

Quantrill and Urias represented the wave of talented players in the team's Minor League system. Quantrill is ranked as the No. 38 prospect in all of baseball, per MLB Pipeline, while Urias is ranked No. 49. The Padres have seven players in the Top 100.

The team also confirmed that Quantrill and Urias, along with fellow prospects Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Lauer, Josh Naylor and Joey Lucchesi, will begin Spring Training with the Major League club.

"I think we're all aware of it; there's a lot of excitement about what's coming," Quantrill said. "I don't think any of us take it as, 'We need to be this. We need to be that.'

"We all know we're talented players, and I think we all know what we're capable of doing."

Video: FanFest: Grant messes around with Orsillo

Along with the field attractions, fans were able to throw off the mound in the Padres' bullpen and tour the visitors' clubhouse. They also had the chance to take part in the Padres Foundation Garage Sale, with several kids attractions taking place in Park in the Park as well.

"I think [the turnout today] gives us a more crystallized desire to give the fans what we want to give them, which is a World Series championship to celebrate in San Diego," Green said. "We're pushing like crazy to get there as fast as we possibly can."

Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

San Diego Padres