KANSAS CITY -- Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of business, summed up expectations of organizers for the 83rd All-Star Game when he told families at a Make-A-Wish welcome reception at a downtown hotel here on Saturday night: "We think this All-Star Week is going to be the greatest one ever."
Every All-Star Week host aspires for just that. Now, after all the planning and the balloting and the buildup, it is time to shine the bright lights on the City of Fountains, the Heart of America. As the final games of the regular season's first half play out, it is time to turn attention to Kauffman Stadium and get it all started.
"I'm looking forward to all the events," Commissioner Bud Selig said last week. "We're having a remarkable year on the field on and off the field. It's probably the second-best start we've ever had in attendance. We have great races, we have the two additional Wild Cards. It's just been a terrific year. We've had five no-hitters, a pair of perfect games. ... We have a lot of great young players in the game this year, which means a lot.
"I'm excited. This is the first time we've been in Kansas City for an All-Star Game since 1973, and I think you'll like very much what they've done. ... We're really looking forward to what should be a great celebration of our game."
All-Star Week is a song that gathers power gradually from start to finish, concluding with a Midsummer Classic that decides whether the American or National League will have home-field advantage in the World Series this October. Here is a look at the events:
All-Star Game 5K Charity & Fun Run
The third running of this event starts at 8:30 a.m. ET on Sunday at the Sprint Center on Grand Boulevard in the Power & Light District, and MLB donates 100 percent of net proceeds to three charities supporting cancer research and awareness -- Prostate Cancer Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer and the Greater Kansas City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Celebrities on hand to offer their support for cancer research and education include: All-Star Ambassador and Hall of Famer George Brett; 2008 "American Idol" winner and former Royals staffer David Cook; former Royals Jeff Montgomery, Mike Sweeney, Willie Aikens, Tom Gordon and John Wathan; and Alison Sweeney, host of "The Biggest Loser."
SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
The 14th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game can be seen live at 5 p.m. ET Sunday on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World team dugouts during the game by following @USDugout and @WorldDugout.
Bryce Harper and Mike Trout played for the U.S. team in last year's Futures Game at Phoenix, and now they are selected to Tuesday's All-Star Game. That is typical of this event as a career rocket launcher. These are baseball's best prospects, including 22 of the top 50 on MLB.com's Top 100 list. Guys like Omaha Royals outfielder Wil Myers and Tacoma Rainiers pitcher Danny Hultzen are on the brink of The Show, and this is a great time to appreciate them at this stage.
Yankees legend Bernie Williams, a native of Puerto Rico, will manage the World Team. Brett, the All-Star Ambassador this week, will be the USA skipper.
Taco Bell Legends & Celebrity Softball Game
This annual nightcap for Taco Bell All-Star Sunday is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET, or right after the conclusion of the Futures Game. Brett will change his jersey and stay around to play, joined by Jon Hamm of "Mad Men," Cook and Haley Reinhart of "American Idol" fame, and past greats Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, Rickey Henderson, Ozzie Smith, Dave Winfield, Joe Carter, Mike Piazza, Bo Jackson and Mike Sweeney, among others.
The game is televised on ESPN immediately after the following night's State Farm Home Run Derby.
State Farm Home Run Derby
Now that Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen has replaced Miami's Giancarlo Stanton on Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp's NL quartet, the field is set for the big Monday night event. McCutchen joins Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies on the NL side. For the AL group, reigning champ and AL captain Robinson Cano of the Yankees has chosen Mark Trumbo of the Angels, Prince Fielder of the Tigers and Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.
You can follow the Derby live on ESPN and MLB.com starting at 8 p.m. ET Monday. The event is preceded by one of the best batting-practice sessions you'll ever see, as all the All-Stars hit the cage and put on a show. Then they plop down in foul territory and just bask in the moment with the rest of us. At that point, you know the best of The Show are here.
83rd All-Star Game
The Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.
Believe it or not, the NL is on a winning streak. It ended that long winless skid by beating the AL at Anaheim in 2010 and then made it two straight last year at Chase Field. In both cases, the NL got home-field advantage and made good use of it, by the Giants in 2010 and the Cardinals last fall, both times at the expense of the Rangers.
Starting lineups will be announced by managers Tony La Russa of the NL and Ron Washington of the AL during the day on Monday, and then the anticipation will build. All uniformed field personnel will ride trucks, usually with families, through The Plaza during the All-Star Game Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet, before heading over to The K. Then it's showtime. Another Midsummer Classic unfolds, capping a week in the heartland where everyone will know whether it truly was "the greatest one ever."