It's been a poorly kept secret, but it looks like Kansas City will get the All-Star Game in two years, which I really do find to be a "very special announcement", despite some of the negativity associated with the game in general. To the naysayers, it's an tax-expensive non-necessity that will really do very little for the Royals and the city in the long run. Hey, I say it's very nice that MLB is not running back to the same cliched history wells of Boston and New York and putting the Royals and their fans in the spotlight for once. I'm making plans now to go, and I'm hoping the team puts their best foot forward and makes us all, team, city and fans alike, look good. With that said, here's a few ways to make the ASG a greater success and avoid any, um, disasters:
1. Send more than one player to the game. We'd love to see Moustakas start at 3rd, Gordon roam the outfield, Greinke start the game on the mound, and Billy Butler deliver a game-winning hit for the AL squad. What we don't want to see is some retread that the Royals have signed who fills up a meaningless stat line with a noticeable first half who becomes the lone Royals representative based on the every-team-must-be-represented rule. Right now, KC has the longest active streak of sending just one player to the ASG (since 2001). Extending that streak to '12 will be embarrassing.
2. Contend! We don't want to be like the Pittsburg Pirates who were already an amazing 30 games below .500 when they hosted in 2006, no, not even close. Hopefully, the team will be in the throes of a genuine youth movement with a pleasantly surprising win total at the worst.
3. Don't charge an arm and a leg for the FanFest. Look, most of us aren't rich and beautiful, so getting into the game itself or the home run derby is a pretty tall order. However, the FanFest offers a cheaper alternative for the less-affluent but no-less-passionate fan. That being said, admission to this year's event in Anaheim is $30 without Ticketmaster fees. In this economy, that's a little steep. A family of four will have to shell out a lot of dough for tickets alone, not to mention concessions, parking, and an authentic black ASG hoody for the teenage fair-weather goth in the bunch. All I'm saying is, if the experience is affordable by the time KC gets the event, more people will show up.
4. Get Buck O'Neill in the Hall of Fame and celebrate it at the 2012 ASG. Major League Baseball could go a long way in righting a grevious wrong in their recent history. It would have been so much better for the Negro League great and baseball ambassador to enjoy this honor while he was living. But we can honor his legacy greatly by making it a center of attention at the Midsummer Classic in the city he came to love.
See you in KC, July 2012!
Justin Masterson, The Royals and You
6 hours ago