07/09/2004 10:12 PM ET
Fanfest is a fan's dream come true
No shortage of activities for a baseball lover
By Michael McHugh / Special to MLB.com
This is the third installment in a series of reports on the 2004 All-Star Game from Michael McHugh, a 13-year-old sports reporter from Friendswood, Texas. McHugh is a regular contributor to The Reporter News, serving Friendswood and Pearland, Texas. He also writes a column for the official web site of the American Hockey League's Houston Aeros. He was recently featured in SIKIDS Sports Radio.
FanFest Is FanTastic!
That's the best way to describe this event being held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. There is something for everyone and it's the best place in the world if you are a baseball fan.
I have to admit that I am exhausted. I was so excited last night that I didn't get any sleep. I kept thinking about my assignment, and how lucky I was to get the chance to work for MLB.com, and what a blast it was going to be. I must have dozed off at some point though, because my mom was there to wake me up at 5 a.m. so I could get ready to go to FanFest for the opening ceremonies held this morning.
Nolan Ryan was present for the opening and participated in a question and answer session where fans had the chance to ask the Hall of Famer questions. After watching that for a while, I went to explore all the fun things for kids to do.
One of my favorite exhibits was a game that was set up like the TV show Jeopardy. Contestants selected a baseball topic and a host read questions. For every correct answer the contestants were awarded points. I played along from the audience and did pretty well, except for when they got to some of the historical trivia.
Playstation 2 had an area where you could play games and there were lots of hands on activities for fans. You could try your skills at video batting, where you face your power pitcher of choice. Another game allows you to pitch against a power hitter like Barry Bonds and you try and strike him out.
Another really cool exhibit was the Baseball Hall of Fame treasures. Among the treasures on display, you can see Babe Ruth's shoes, and lots of other legends' equipment and jerseys.
Tomorrow I am going to try my hand at being a sportscaster. There are a couple of places where you can sit in front of a camera and read the sports like the professionals.
Everywhere you turn, they had tasty treats to eat. There were the usual hot dogs (which I had),Texas bar-b-que, pretzels, ice cream, chips, sodas, cookies, nachos, and well, you get the idea. You definitely won't leave hungry.
Ken from Murphy, Texas said, "There has just been a ton of stuff to do, and I'm having a blast."
"I like that most of the things are free," said Pete Jackson.
Lee Smith, a 10-year-old from Houston agreed, "I had no idea how cool this place is."
It really is an awesome place, and I had a blast.
There is so much to do that I have to go back tomorrow. I hope to put together my top ten things to buy at FanFest and check out the collectibles. That is, after I get a good night's sleep from all the excitement!
If you get the chance, be sure and stop by. You will have the best time!
Michael McHugh is a student at Friendswood (Texas) Junior High and is a special contributor to MLB.com. He will provide special coverage of the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.