“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out to the crowd …”
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack … it’s time for Major League Baseball’s 85th annual Midsummer Classic!
The festivities kick off at Target Field in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Twins, on Friday, July 11, with All-Star Fan Fest. Whether you wanna scoop up a 2014 All-Star jersey of your favorite player, or take part in a clinic hosted by some of baseball’s top coaches and players, this one-stop-shop is the perfect place for any baseball fanatic.
The actual baseball begins on Sunday, July 13, with the MLB Futures Game. The Futures Game shows how truly deep the MLB pipelines run, when up-and-coming stars from all over the globe, from every MLB farm team (minor league), are divided into 2 teams — US vs. The World — to showcase their skills and claim bragging rights for the future of baseball.
Following the Futures Game on Sunday evening is the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, featuring Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern. Andrew will be joined on the field by some of baseball’s greatest legends, including Rollie Fingers, Andrew Dawson, Mike Piazza and Dwight “Doc” Gooden. But they aren’t the only sports superstars getting in on the action. With the game being played in Minneapolis, which all-stars would be better to rep the hometown team than Minnesota’s own Adrian Peterson (6-time NFL Pro Bowl running back for the Vikings) and Kevin Love (3-time NBA All-Star power forward for the Timberwolves)?
Fans of the long ball can rejoice come Monday, July 14, when Target Field turns into target practice for some of baseball’s biggest power hitters, when they face off in the 30th Annual (29 if you don’t count the one postponed due to rain) Home Run Derby. The players involved are divided into 2 teams of 5, chosen and represented by captains Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies — representing the National League — and Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays — representing the American League. In an attempt to keep the batting crown in the American League, Oakland Athletics’ Yoenis Cespedes looks to follow up last year’s performance with another dominant showing.
The All-Star festivities come to a head on Tuesday, July 15, at 7:30|6:30c, when the best and brightest in the American League, led by Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, square off against the best and brightest in the National League led by St. Louis Cardinals skip, Mike Matheny. To add additional incentive for victory, not only is the game played for ultimate bragging rights, but the league that comes away with the “W” also wins home field advantage for baseball’s biggest stage — the World Series.
However, the conclusion of the game doesn’t just cap another great night with baseball’s brightest stars. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this would be the final time Yankee and baseball legend Derek Jeter will grace the field for the Midsummer Classic. Not only does the game mark the halfway point of the MLB season, it also marks the midseason stopping point on the Derek Jeter Farewell tour. Don’t miss out on all the excitement of the game … this could be one of your last chances to take in one of baseball’s greatest.
Looking for more excitement while in town for the big game? Check out Andrew Zimmern’s Guide to Minnesota.
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