Another sure sign that Opening Day is right around corner is the announcement of various team meet-and-greets. The names and formats of these events vary between each program, but they are all just a warm-up for the new season. (And, often, a helpful fundraiser.)
Illinois has a Hot Stove Banquet scheduled for February 6. The special guest is former big leaguer Andy Benes.
MLB umpire Tim McClelland headlines Iowa's Lead-Off Dinner. The date is February 17.
Former Spartan Steve Garvey will be the keynote speaker at MSU's First Pitch Dinner on February 8. The former Los Angeles Dodgers star will receive the 2009 MSU Baseball Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Ohio State's annual Meet The Team Luncheon is scheduled for February 14.
I believe Northwestern usually has an annual event, although I haven't found any details for such an occurrence this year. I know Michigan does have a casual gathering shortly before each season begins, but, here again, no details have been posted. Keep your eye on each university's website or even this space for updates.