ALL-STAR WEEK: FRIDAY TO FRIDAY
It all seems a blur.
At this very moment a week ago, Lisa Braun and I were at the Holy Grail Banks attempting to rally the troops in getting Johnny Cueto voted onto the National League All-Star team. Unfortunately, our All-Star “week” didn’t get off to a successful start – Johnny finished second in the voting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned that the voting letdown would carry over into the rest of the week. I’m glad it didn’t. And despite the defeat, the #VoteCueto Campaign Party on Friday was very much worth the effort.
There were so many moving parts and fast-going events to All-Star week, that the days seem to have blended into one another. The one constant for each day, however, was the threat of bad weather. Mother Nature has been a season-ticket holder at Great American Ball Park all year and it appeared she wasn’t staying home during All-Star week. Thankfully, an eleventh-hour intervention by the Baseball Gods preserved three amazing events at GABP, with minimal weather interference.
And speaking of Baseball Gods (and weather), did they also influence the Home Run Derby? I can’t imagine a more perfect outcome to an event that was, quite frankly, becoming kind of stale in the years prior. The timed bracket play was simply genius, and by reducing the rounds from 5 minutes to 4, Baseball made a great idea better. The reduced time was due to inclement weather in the forecast and if you remember, as soon as the derby ended, the skies opened. In my opinion, 4-minutes was the perfect amount of time. I wouldn’t be surprised if MLB sticks with it rather than revisiting the 5-minute idea.
There’s so much behind-the-scenes stuff going on to create All-Star week. In addition to the employees of MLB and the Reds, there are folks from other teams and other companies that get involved to assist in putting together the Midsummer Classic. All hands are certainly on deck!
For the Futures Game on Sunday, I was on pressbox duty. I kept score of the game and maintained correspondence with both dugouts for game substitutions. When each team made in-game changes, I’d announce those substitutions to the press boxes (main press box and the two auxiliary press boxes for overflow media) in order to keep the writers and broadcasters up-to-date on who is in the game. Those announcements also keep PA announcer Joe Zerhusen and the two official scorers in-the-know.
I was honored to be on hand for the All-Star Gala at Union Terminal on Sunday night. What an extraordinary event attended by so many people involved in the game of baseball. And wow, I’ll never forget how awesome Union Terminal looked that night.
Monday might possibly go down as my most favorite day ever on the job. I spent half of it with Todd Frazier and his family. I escorted Todd to the Duke Energy Center for his appearance at FanFest. When we arrived and he walked in, many fans erupted into applause. Todd’s mom was moved to tears by this. Little did she know, she hadn’t seen anything yet! Frazier took photos with fans and signed the giant baseball that was on display. He was even joined on stage by Johnny Bench, who helped Frazier pose for photos with his many supporters.
Following the public appearance at FanFest, Todd and the rest of the All-Stars were asked to make time for the media at the Westin Hotel. Each player had his own “booth” where credentialed media were allowed access to the player for approximately 30-35 mintues. Following the media pow-wow, Todd was part of the Home Run Derby press conference hosted by ESPN’s Karl Ravech and attended by all of the Derby participants.
On the ride back to GABP, Todd and his brother Charlie talked strategy for that night’s home run derby. I’ll never forget Todd telling us that if he could keep his first-round opponent Prince Fielder to under double-digits, he’d could “take him.” Prince reached double-digits, but you know how it ends.
Also on Monday, I was given a list of All-Stars from both leagues. I was expected to take those listees to media areas set up in the ballpark where folks from FOX and ESPN (MLB ASG rights-holders) would interview and take photos of them. All of the All-Stars on my list were very cordial and agreeable to what were asked of them.
I had similar duties on Tuesday, but instead of media areas, I was at the Westin Hotel to assist in getting All-Stars to their specific red carpet truck. Because the event was more laid back and the players were permitted to bring their families with them, the All-Stars seemed to really enjoy it. I really liked chatting with Mr. and Mrs. Madison Bumgarner. They were very friendly and seemed down-to-earth. It’s easy to root for the good ones, even if they don’t play on your favorite team. Being nice goes a long way!
The game itself went by fast. It felt like a few minutes passed between the time Mike Trout opened the game with a home run to him choosing what car he wanted as his MVP prize.
And just like that, it was all over.
Some of my personal favorite moments of the week:
- Marlana VanHoose knocking the socks off 45,000 people with her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner prior to the Home Run Derby
- The Mystics showing the world how talented they are
- Spending time with my friends/colleagues from other teams and from Major League Baseball
- Getting to see Cincinnati immerse itself in a much-needed baseball celebration
- Seeing a packed ballpark Stand Up 2 Cancer
- Feeling an overwhelming sense of pride for my co-workers who worked so hard for this
Well, that’s that. I can’t believe it was here and gone already.
Time to get back to work!
Expect good news,