Thursday, July 14, 2011

MLB AllStar Weekend - Day Three

Day three of our MLB weekend bonanza started bright and early! We had tickets to FanFest, which opened at 9:00! We wanted to be one of the first people there. When I say "we" I mostly mean the boys.

It seems like I got tons of pictures of their backs this weekend cause they were constantly charging ahead, excited to get to the next thing.

As much as they sometimes don't get along, this weekend was one of those magical times where they pretty much got along constantly. It was great brother time.

We arrived at FanFest, which is basically just filling the Convention Center with everything baseball you can imagine.

There were autograph signings, participation activities for kids of all ages, hall of fame museum displays, monster trucks, memorabilia collectors, free give aways, merchandise of all kinds. We spent about five hours here running from one thing to the next.

At one point, we were walking through the place and Harry was digging in his back pack for something, not really paying attention to where he was going, and he tripped and fell. Some guys in front of us yelled "You're safe!" I asked him if he was okay and he said nothing was bruised but his ego. Mucho embarrassing. Nice of me to share that here, isn't it?

For a kid who loves batting gloves, this was a cool display where you could try on players actual batting gloves. He was in heaven. He got Bautista gloves with the All-Star logo on them. Could hardly get him to take them off.

They also had a sliding activity, where there were four baselines set up and you lined up like you were ready to steal. You watched a big video screen of a pitcher pitching and when he was in his wind up you ran like a bandit and slid into second base. The base area was all cushy with a carpet that protected your slide. The boys both did a regular slide. On Hubby's slide he went head first, took the carpet, the base and slide right through the foam barricade at the end. It was like he was a bowling ball and laid down a strike. Sent everything flying. The workers were like "What the heck?" putting everything back together so the next person could go.

They had a big video game area where every game was MLB Baseball on all systems. It was a big draw for the younger set.

Oh, another funny story. They had a pitching area where you line up to pitch and the radar gun picks up your pitching speed. The boys both did it and had fun! But then dear old Dad lined up to give it a whirl. He threw that ball so hard that the radar didn't even register it. He looks at the worker guy and says "Does this thing not pick up triple digits?" For those of you who don't know baseball, there are just a handful of professional pitchers who can throw a ball over 100 mph. Anyway, there were a couple of old guys in line behind me and when Hubby was throwing they were saying "Oh, this guy has definitely pitched before." So funny. Turns out, when the radar finally did pick up his pitch speed he was tied for third highest speed. Not bad for an old man.

Cal Ripken was there.

The World Series Trophy was there.

There were also fielding events for the fans. Catching pop ups and grounders. Harry caught all of his. My kids always ended up going almost at the same time and I couldn't manage to get pictures of them both.

We made our own baseball cards! All free.

Josh Hamilton was there.

The family taking on the Home Run Derby.

We looked the part, but didn't knock any over the fence.

There was some excessive complaining about the sweet lady behind the pitching machine. Apparently, their inability to hit the long ball was based on her inability to drop the ball in the machine. It was fun anyway.

Before we knew it, it was time for Batting Practice at Chase Field, followed by The Home Run Derby. The boys charged across the street. They knew this place like the back of their hand.

Hello again, Chase Field.

All the big time players were there.

Having a good time. They were not signing autographs, which was a bit of a bummer for my autograph seeker, but it didn't dampen his spirits too much.

These four guys were participating in the Home Run Derby for the National League.

These guys were in it for the American League. The Red Sox are in the American League so we were pulling for one of them. Preferably, Ortiz or Gonzalez who actually play for the Red Sox.

I would be embarrassed to tell you how much we dropped in this store. It was excessive! Harry got a Red Sox hat with the All-Star logo and two gold stars on it. We had to wait around for a shipment so he could get his size. It was worth it. He loves that hat.

Wrapping up practice.

Warming up for the Derby!

It's time....let's hit the long ball. We climbed the stairs to our regular seats, which were in the nosebleed section. Once there we got settled in to watch the spectacle and see exactly how far these boys can hit a baseball. I can tell is FAR!

Also, while in our seats, I got a refresher course on Breastfeeding 101 from the family sitting behind us. They had their five week old baby Aiden there with them. Aiden was latching on, but not staying latched. He finished on the right side, but when she moved him to the left side he didn't seem interested. He was trying to latch on, but crying so hard he couldn't. All this overheard from one row back. It was terribly confusing for me to have a "Bringing Home Baby" episode from TLC going on behind me and mucho testosterone filled homerun hitting going on in front of me. It was weird. I was cheering, sometimes because Gonzalez hit a gagillion hits in a row and sometimes because Aiden burped and finally latched on to the left side.

I would never be able to tell you how many pictures we have of this, cause it makes me tired to count that high. But let me leave you with this little series of pictures from the final home run that won it all for the American League's Robinson Cano. He swings at a pitch thrown by his is home run number 12 which I think was the most homers hit in the final round in Derby history.

It's high enough, it's far enough....HOMERUN. Cano wins the Derby! It was exciting, even if he was a Yankee.

Mobbed by his teammates.

Celebration ensues.

We were officially at one baseball event or another for about 11 1/2 hours on Monday. That is alot of baseball. But it really was fun. Phoenix did just a superb job at all of the events. The venues were beautiful, parking was cheap and plentiful, plenty of workers, everything went quickly and smoothly, no long lines, plenty of well kept clean restrooms...just good clean family fun. We still have the actual All-Star game on Tuesday night, but so far the weekend has not disappointed anyone in our group.

We ate at Boston Market on the way back to the Presidential Suite where we had some great laughs reliving our favorite moments of the day.

It was a good day!

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