This is part three of my continuing series on my trip to the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. Click here to see parts one and two. We left off yesterday with Prince Fielder winning the Home Run Derby.
Today, we’ll start with FanFest.
Dad and I got up late and went to fix my tire (I found out a couple hours ago that my valve was leaking). Once that was done we headed to the Edward Jones Dome where Fanfest was being held.
The first place we went was the live auction. It was like a traveling baseball museum. They had some neat stuff, but unless you were willing to spend over a $1,000, it wasn’t worth picking up a bidding card. They did give me a 270 page catalog of items and suggested retail prices. If only I had a couple thousand extra dollars.
From there, we went through the Cardinals history part, which was pretty neat. It would have helped if I was more of a Cardinal fan, but baseball history is cool no matter whose it is.
Then we went into the main exhibit hall with the games and vendors. I tried to win an MLB Monopoly game, but I lost. I was able to win an All-Star rally towel by correctly calling three plays without the benefit of video replay. Yay.
We decided not to stand in line for Colby Rasmus, Andre Dawson, oe Juan Marichal’s autograph, but there was no line for Bob Watson, so we got his.
There were memorabilia dealers from all across the country who were selling their stuff in the middle of the exhibit hall which, again, was neat to look at but all of it was way out of my price range.
After walking around there for about three hours we made our way over to the stadium for the opening of the gates. Once again we found our parking on the street and made our way toward the stadium. Once we were inside, we both stopped and bought programs. This might be the only time I get to go to an All-Star Game, so I might as well waste my money on a book, right?
Our tickets were in the left field bleachers, so that’s where we stood for batting practice. It wasn’t nearly as exciting as the day before and we never came close to catching anything. Padres reliever Heath Bell was clearly enjoying himself as he threw almost every ball he got into the stands, which I always enjoy. The only problem is that he kept throwing them up to the Casino Queen deck instead of to us. Unfortunately, all the other players did that too.
Once BP was over, we moved around the stadium, just to check things out. We met several people from around the country who were in St. Louis for the ballgame; the atmosphere was great. I even saw a guy wearing a Leeds United (my favorite soccer team) shirt. He was equally surprised when I wanted to talk to him about his team.
Once the game drew nearer we made our way back to our seats. All the people around us started talking about the snipers who were stationed not so subtly around the stadium. This, of course, was for President Obama’s first pitch. It was just a little odd knowing that there were some guys stationed on the roof who could kill me before I had time to think about it. Luckily, they let me live.
The pageantry surrounding the game was very cool, I don’t know how much was shown on TV, but Busch Stadium did a good job. There were Clydesdales and Cardinals legends and some military salutes. Very good stuff.
You all saw the game, so I don’t need to explain all that. The best play was Carl Crawford’s home run rob of Brad Hawpe. Unfortunately, that play happened right in front of us and it kind of prevented us from seeing it. Either way, it was still cool.
One last thing I feel like I should mention: between the NL and AL batting practices the Army soldiers who held the flag during the National Anthem started gathering in the right field corner. Albert Pujols ran straight over to them and started shaking hands, talking with them and signing things for them. I think Raul Ibanez did the same, but it was tough to see from across the stadium. The NL team portrait was held up because the two of them were still talking with the soldiers and when they emerged the stadium gave them a standing ovation. It was a good moment.
So there you have it. This has been my long winded account of the All-Star experience. It was a great time. If you get the chance, I’d suggest taking it. Plus, the tickets will only get more expensive so you should try sooner rather than later.