Cheap Seats

80th MLB All-Star Game pre-game

I'm going to do this diary style for clarity's sake. So scroll down to see the latest updates, which I will add frequently throughout the game:




2:30 p.m.


If you haven't worked your way to the ballpark and you plan to be here, you better get a move on. At 2:30 lines to get through the metal detectors were already starting to form...







Traffic both of the vehicular and foot variety is slow because streets around the ballpark are blocked off for Presidential security. And the Red Carpet Parade of ballplayers to the stadium didn't help much either. (Although I wonder if riding in a parade through the streets of St. Louis to Busch Stadium might help Roy Halladay push the Blue Jays to trade him to St. Louis. If so, it's well worth it.)







You can see the Secret Service in the crowd. And their job probably is a lot rougher than it was when former President George W. Bush was here in 2004. Busch Stadium II formed a concrete shield around the field. This more open stadium surely poses more security threats. It's amazing to watch the Secret Service do its work. And, if this is anything like the 2004 visit, you should look for guys in baseball uniforms -- whose body language makes it look like they never played the game in their lives -- on the field when the President makes the first pitch.





On the field, electric fans are being used to dry the All-Star logos on the base lines.The stadium is early empty and looks like a fresh dusting of snow has just fallen -- despite the temperatures in the upper 80s, because every seat is covered with a white All-Star Game seat cushion.



....


The seats are starting to fill as the National League players are working out. So far the rain has held off, and I think Casey Stengel would approve. Famous for saying the old Busch Stadium held the heat well on a 100-degree plus St. Louis day during the 1966 All-Star game, it's an unseasonably cool 79 degrees three hours before gametime... Although the humidity makes it feel closer to 89. Still, it's a lot more comfortable than it could be.




blog post photo

The National League All-Stars work out at 4 p.m. 


....


The National Leaguers have concluded batting practice and are getting their team photo taken in front of the centerfield wall. The American Leaguers are taking the field.




Having the President throw out the pitch is a good omen for the homestanding National League Squad. Four times the President has thrown out the first pitch (John F. Kennedy, 1962; Richard Nixon, 1970; Gerald Ford, 1976 and 1978.) and all four times the senior circuit has come home with the win.




Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that the National League used to dominate the game in much the same way the American League has the last decade plus.




The president also attended the All-Star Game in 1937 (Franklin D. Roosevelt), 1989 (Ronald Reagan), 1991 (George H.W. Bush and 1992 (Bush) but did not throw out the first pitch -- and in those games, the American League has won each time.




Other interesting factoids:


-- St. Louis is the fourth city to host the All-Star Game in as many as three different ballparks, Sportsman's Park, old Busch Stadium and the current Busch Stadium. New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh are the other cities.


-- The 42-year gap between All-Star Games is a MLB record. The longest current drought belongs to Kansas City, which has not hosted the Midsummer Classic since 1973, a span of 36 years. 




-- While it has been a long time between games, St. Louis is in a tie for third most All-Star Games hosted with five. It trails New York (8) and Chicago (7).




...


Stan the Man is in the house and will, in fact, be able to participate in the pre-game ceremonies.




It warms my heart that Musial will get some of the national media attention that was afforded to Ted Williams, who in many ways was his closest peer when he played. I can't wait to see how MLB and the Cardinals pull out the stops for Baseball's Perfect Warrior.




...




5:55 p.m.
President Barrack Obama has arrived at the ballpark. His motorcade just pulled up on the south side of the ballpark and he exited his limo, AKA The Beast, with Hall of Famer Willie Mays.






....


6:53 p.m.




Getting ready to start. The Budweiser clydesdales just made their lap as the St. Louis fans clapped and everyone else wondered what THAT was all about. It may be a huge commercial. But I still like it... Even if the King sold out. 




7:43 p.m.




Nice job with the opening ceremonies. It was cool to see Albert Pujols say "wow" in response to the reaction he got from the home crowd. I wonder how far that will go at contract time...




There were loud ovations for all the local boys, St. Louis natives Mark Buehrle and Ryan Howard and former Cardinals player and manager Joe Torre. It was downright deafening for manager Tony LaRussa, reliever Ryan Franklin and catcher Yadi Molina. Boos were reserved for one player: Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly. Nice.




Well, there was a smattering for President Obama, who went into the full windup in his White Sox jacket before tossing his first pitch to Pujols.




The only disappointment is that they only had Stan Musial ride around the field in a golf cart. I guess he is too frail to do too much. But couldn't they at least have showed a video of his career accomplishments while he was on the field?


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