MLB departs SoCal with week of memories
From Derby to 5K, from FanFest to Classic, ASG had it all
ANAHEIM -- This will be remembered as the year Brian McCann helped the National League end the longest drought in the history of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game.
But we will remember Anaheim 2010 for so much more than that.
For example, there was David Ortiz outlasting Hanley Ramirez in the State Farm Home Run Derby, with $573,000 going to eight local chapters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
There was Ryan Braun's full-out diving catch to rob Josh Hamilton with one out in the fourth and Josh Johnson's thankful reaction -- ultimately a huge play worth replaying many times. It is a time when normal league rivals are kindred spirits.
Mickey Mouse was everywhere here. There were 36 of him in larger-than-life statue likeness, positioned all around Southern California. He and Disneyland were host to part of the sixth annual Red Carpet Show presented by Chevy.
Hall of Famer Rod Carew was everywhere: He was there at the start to cut the tape for Friday's opening of the All-Star FanFest; there at the starting line to help send off runners for the All-Star Charity 5K & Fun Run; there in the lead truck as the parade grand marshal of the parade; there to throw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday night, and more than all of that. We love our legends.
The introduction of 30 more People All-Stars Among Us thanks to a lineup of presenting celebrities, and the moving reaction by many of the fans' winning choices as they shook hands with All-Star players at home plate in pregame festivities. The feeling when you realized that if these people can make a difference, then ...
Harsh reality intruding alongside the "Happiest Place on Earth." Waking up on two out of three mornings to glorious sunshine and spirits -- and greeted with mournful news that Yankees legends had passed away. On Sunday it was Bob Sheppard, the voice of Yankee Stadium, at age 99. On Tuesday it was his employer, legendary Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, at age 80.
Lifting spirits was the All-Star Charity 5K and Fun Run sponsored by Sports Authority and Nike, benefiting Stand Up To Cancer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Prostate Cancer Foundation and City of Hope. It drew a stunning field of more than 9,000 runners and raised more than $200,000 for those four charities, now a clear success as an All-Star Week fixture.
Jillian Michaels started all those runners, and supercharged them with a morning pep talk in her inimitable style. Other dignitaries were on hand, including Gabrielle Union; Hall of Famers Carew, Reggie Jackson and Paul Molitor; and past Angels legends Tim Salmon and Bobby Grich.
Facts and Figures from the 81st All-Star Game
|78,000||Pounds of ice used in concessions|
|800||Gallons of ketchup|
|10||Roster changes since original announcement|
|6||Number of pitches needed by Cliff Lee to retire the side in order in the fourth|
|45,408||Attendance for the game|
|64,036||Attendance for the 1989 game at Anaheim when it was multi-purpose|
|46,309||Attendance at the first game in Anaheim in 1967|
|85||Game-time temperature in sunny Southern California|
|9||Games Ichiro Suzuki has been AL leadoff hitter, one more than Rod Carew (AL) and Willie Mays (NL)|
|5||All-Star hitting streak for David Wright. He is 6-for-13|
|8||Number of times the All-Star Game has been scoreless through four innings|
|.435||Derek Jeter's All-Star BA (10-for-23) after going 1-for-2 with a walk|
|0||Number of home runs hit for the second consecutive year|
|6||Number hits by the American League, their lowest since six in 1999|
|5||Catchers who have been MVP: Gary Carter (1981, 1984), Terry Steinbach (1988), Mike Piazza (1996), Sandy Alomar Jr. (1997) and Brian McCann|
|11||Number of All-Star Games in California, the most for any state|
|340-339||After 81 All-Star Games, the A.L. has a cumulative one-run advantage|
|13||Number of father-son All-Star combinations. Nick Swisher joined his dad Steve (Cubs, 1976) in playing in the All-Star Game|
|9||Number of years since Andy Pettitte's last All-Star appearance. The longest between appearances was Bert Blyleven (1973 to 1985)|
|2:59||Time of game|
The first gathering of the All-Stars Among Us came on Monday while player interview sessions were happening, and Tigers reliever Jose Valverde from Venezuela entered the room to be the first Major Leaguer to reach out and thank them all personally. "That's something I have to do," he said after posing with them in a group photo. "It's important to me to thank people who help their community that way."
Angels prospects Hank Conger and Michael Trout wowed the crowd and led the U.S. team to a 9-1 win over the World team in the popular XM All-Star Futures Game. It is an event that always becomes a pipeline to the Majors, and you will find many of those Futures players one day at this ultimate All-Star event.
Bryce Harper, Evan Longoria, Cal Ripken Jr. and so many more people made us love FanFest even more. The Anaheim Convention Center overflowed with great interactive exhibits like that base-stealing area, video games galore, contests, vendor paradise for memorabilia collectors, and of course the All-Star shopping action.
If you weren't there, you can always get the same official gear at the MLB.com Shop. You can find an Authentic No. 16 Brian McCann road Braves Jersey with All-Star Game patch there, and his bases-clearing double is what many people will remember most about the 81st All-Star Game.
Salmon had everyone standing for a funny softball event on Sunday. After the Legends & Celebrities Game, he participated in a home run derby with Mike Piazza, and proceeded to go on a Corey Hart-like tear, crushing pitch after pitch -- and then bringing real fireworks. Next door at Disneyland, they were shooting their own nightly fireworks. This was amusement park paradise.
In the fifth inning of Tuesday's main event, Hong-Chih Kuo fielded a slow roller, wheeled and fired into right-field foul ground, allowing Evan Longoria to scamper to third and Joe Mauer to reach second. That brought up Robinson Cano, who drilled a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left, scoring Longoria and putting the AL on the board. It was memorable because it was the only run the AL would score at this year's All-Star Game.
How about Jennie Finch? She became the first woman to ever homer in the Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. And it was all about the long ball in that game. There were 12 total homers, and we got to watch Rickey Henderson do a fabulous home run trot that gets more fun the older he gets.
We'll remember all of the community work that stays as a lasting legacy for the Anaheim area. It was the Rebuild Together project on Saturday at Mary's Kitchen in Orange, Calif.
"Major League Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities, and I am pleased that we will make a significant difference in the lives of so many people by supporting these community projects," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "This will be one of the largest efforts in All-Star Week history, and we are grateful to our sponsors and partner organizations for their support as we give back to the community in a considerable way."
Those are the kinds of words fans will remember. Also these: "You can't live in the past." Jonathan Broxton said that after coming in for the ninth inning and saving the NL's first victory since 1996. We'll remember how he sat out there in the bullpen along with normal rival Brian Wilson of the Giants, just one of those unique scenes you see in the Midsummer Classic.
The All-Star Game comes once a year, and unlike past generations, a week makes a powerful impact and lets no one doubt that it was here. Next year it's Phoenix, then Kansas City in 2012, and no one knows beyond that other than the assurance that the greatest All-Star event of them all will always highlight our summer.