04/05/12 10:00 AM ET
KC legend Brett named All-Star Ambassador
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
The 13-time All-Star will be in a flurry of events leading up to and during All-Star Week, as Kansas City hosts the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 1973. The game will be July 10 at Kauffman Stadium, where Brett broke into the Majors, also in '73.
"I'm going to be busier than I normally am, let's put it that way," Brett said. "A lot of responsibilities, a lot of appearances, a lot of Royals functions -- they've been at it for months, since last year's All-Star Game."
Brett will take part in the MLB All-Star FanFest from July 6-10, will play in the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game and will be the official starter for the MLB All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run presented by Nike, both on July 8.
He sounds especially excited about being manager for the U.S. team in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which features the game's top prospects from the U.S. and around the world. That also will be on Sunday, July 8.
"I asked the Royals, 'Is there any chance of me managing the Futures Game?' They said, 'We don't know.' And I said, 'I'd love to do it, I did it in Detroit [in 2005] and I lost.' Justin Huber, who was a Royal at the time, was the MVP for the World team -- he hit a double off the right-center-field wall to beat us," Brett said.
"So I'd like to get my managing record back to .500 and, sure enough, they said, 'Oh, we'd love for you to do it. But we really didn't want to ask you because we knew you'd be so busy.' "
Busy or not, Brett wanted the job and got it, just as former D-backs star Luis Gonzalez got the job of managing the World team last year when the Futures Game was in Arizona.
"It's fun to meet players from different organizations that are hot prospects and be in the dugout with them. It's always a pleasure and an honor to put on a Major League uniform," Brett said.
"Hopefully Kansas City will go out and support this thing, because they do see a lot of great players. The players of the future are going to be playing in this game -- like the [Eric] Hosmers, the [Billy] Butlers, the [Mike] Moustakases -- and we should have some Minor Leaguers playing in it this year also."
In Detroit, he had Mike Jirschele, manager of the Royals' Triple-A club, in the dugout with him. Brett is asking to have Jirschele assist him against this year, as well as former Royals star Mike Sweeney.
"Hopefully Major League Baseball will allow me the luxury of having someone I know and someone I trust to be my right-hand guy," Brett said. "I think it'd be fun to have a guy like Mike Sweeney there also, who is such a positive guy and has been such a steadying influence on many of our players."
As the All-Star Ambassador, Brett knows he'll have a long list of other events to attend as the event nears.
"Guess what, they want me at every one," he said, laughing. "I don't know how long I'll be at every one of them, but I've got to make an appearance at every one. I'm honored to represent Major League Baseball. It should be a lot of fun."
Although Brett was selected as an All-Star 13 times, none of those games was in Kansas City, because his first appearance in 1976 came three years after the first and only game at what was then called Royals Stadium. So this game has special meaning for him.
"It's a chance for the city of Kansas City and the Kansas City Royals to show what this town's all about," Brett said. "And I know we're going to do a good job. We hope the weather is perfect. In July, the weather can be pretty iffy, but hopefully the Good Lord will keep an eye on us. Kansas City can show the United States, and basically the world -- because this is televised all over the world -- what a beautiful city we have and what great baseball fans we have and what a beautiful stadium we have. I think it's a great opportunity for the Royals."
Brett sounds very much like an ambassador already.
"It's going to be a wonderful, wonderful event," he said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.