July 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals former player George Brett (right) is greeted by current player Billy Butler (left) after the ceremonial first pitch before the 2012 All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE
It was only the third time Kansas City has hosted the Major League Baseball All Star Game, but it is not one many will forget for quite some time. And, no. I'm not speaking of the anti-climatic game Tuesday night.
Kansas City here they came, and as far as the National League All-Stars were concerned, they conquered, and just like that a year's worth of planning and anxious anticipation was done and in the rear view mirror.
The All-Star Game itself was really a downer for the fans and All-Stars of the American League -over after the first inning, for all practical purposes - with the NL winning in a runaway, 8-0. But it says something when all the events, fan festivities, and salutes to the National Pastime that went on practically 24/7 in the four-to-five days leading up to the main event were as grand as the actual game.
It was Kansas City's time to shine, and if you ask me - and probably several thousand others inside and outside of the metropolitan area - we hit a grand slam out of the park. I say "we," but only in the collective sense. The full credit belongs to those responsible for bringing Kansas City its third Major League All-Star Game (and first in 39 years), and even more so to the countless volunteers who stepped up in grand and gracious style to make the 2012 MLB All-Star Week the biggest and best sports event in the history of our city, but also arguably the most spectacular All-Star Game buildup in the history of Major League Baseball.
For those from around the country who traveled into the city for the game and some of the pre-game events and exhibitions, there wasn't anyone who spoke out publicly or was interviewed before, during and after the game by the local and national media, at least no one I heard or read about, who had a negative thing to say about Kansas City, our beautiful ballpark, the many fun things to do and see and the ravenous support and passion of the Kansas City fans for their Royals and the game of baseball.
Every event around the city tied to the All-Star Game over the last five days - to list all of them would literally take another 10 inches of space - has been a virtual sellout. And as the franchise face of the Royals, Hall-of-Famer George Brett said on network television Tuesday night, How many times do you have (nearly) 40,000 fans show up to watch an exhibition game of future MLB stars or to see a rag-tag bunch of characters play a softball game? That's a tremendously strong testament to the love the fans in this city have for baseball.
All of the All-Star activities featured something for young and old alike, just like the game of baseball, and they were all conducted in seemingly flawless fashion and with the utmost class
Fans who attended the Home Run Derby competition or Tuesday night's All-Star Game who had not been to the recently renovated Kauffman Stadium had to have been impressed with the architectural beauty and fan-friendliness of the 39-year-old venue, actually the sixth oldest in Major League Baseball. Once you've experienced it, it is easy to see why people like Fox Sports lead announcer Joe Buck described "The K" as one the best facilities in which to watch a game in all of baseball.
A tip of the hat and a big hand to you, the fans and residents of Kansas City! You done us extremely proud this week and showed the rest of the country and the world why everything is up to date in Kansas City.
Like legendary pro golfer Arnold Palmer used to say, "Kansas City is a well-kept secret." After this week, I doubt it is for much longer.