It couldn’t have been choreographed better, as Katy Perry’s “Firework” played as the New York Yankee’s Robinson Cano cranked out 12 home runs in the final round to win last night’s State Farm Home Run Derby. The crowd went wild and scrambled to catch one of Cano’s big hits – one fan even dove into the pool in right-field, not even spilling his beer.
I would have to say that last night’s Home Run Derby was one of the most exciting baseball events that I have ever been to. If you weren’t able to make it, check out the photos below for highlights of yesterday’s All-Star Workout Day and Home Run Derby.
The coolest place to be this week is FanFest in downtown Phoenix. If you or your kids are baseball fans, you won't want to miss this interactive baseball fan experience. Exhibits at this family-friendly event include life-sized video batting and pitching cages, clinics taught by Major League legends, and free autograph sessions with MLB legends and Hall of Famers.
On Tuesday, come celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Arizona Diamondbacks World Series win with a $10 Tuesday FanFest ticket (a 66% savings off the regular price!). Enter the coupon code TUES when buying tickets.
Check out some of the highlights from our visit to FanFest on Saturday.
See more photos from FanFest in our MLB All-Star Week photo album on Flickr.
Baseball’s midseason showcase is here, so we’ve put together an “All-Star” list of things to do around Greater Phoenix leading up to the big game on Tuesday.
Official MLB All-Star events can be found in our Major League Baseball All-Star Summer comes to Phoenix blog post.
Food and Drink
Greater Phoenix restaurants and bars are stepping up to the plate with fun All-Star themed menu items and specials.
Citizen Public House in Scottsdale (7111 E. Fifth Ave., Ste. E) will be serving up some home-made “Citizen Jacks,” ala Cracker Jack for $5 (with prizes too). Don’t forget to order their Tender Belly Berkshire dog with pastrami fat-braised sauerkraut, bourbon mustard and house-cured pickle served on a rye bun.
Beckett’s Table (3717 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix ) will also be celebrating All-Star week with free endless homemade popcorn, half-priced draughts all night Sunday through Tuesday. Order the hot dog and garlic fries for a gourmet version of the stadium specialty. Beckett’s will also be giving away special edition MLB-labeled bottles of red blend Decoy by Duckhorn Winery.
If you haven’t tried the latest pop-up restaurant, Cycle (1100 N. Central Ave., Phoenix), this weekend is the perfect time to do so. Cycle will celebrate the MLB All-Star Game with an all day happy hour featuring wine, local beer and specialty cocktails.
District American Kitchen & Wine Bar (320 N 3rd St., Phoenix) is partying all week long with live music on Friday and Saturday, and all day happy hour specials. They’ve also created some fun All-Star themed cocktails. We think the Ball Park Cotton Candy Martini sounds pretty sweet.
This desert town will keep things hot at night with plenty of after parties. Who knows, you may spot one of your favorite MLB players out on the town.
The W Scottsdale Hotel (7277 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale) will host former baseball players like Jermaine Dye, Frank Thomas and more on Saturday at the Coolest Party in the Desert . The party starts at 8pm and is free and open to the public. Sunday at the W, Maxim hosts Neil Diamond Tribute band, Diamond in the Desert. The Wet Deck will be decorated as a baseball stadium, complete with an Old Spice locker room lounge, sports-themed photo booth and a concession stand. Admission is $100 and the party starts at 10pm. Tuesday night after the All-Star game the W will host an after party starting at 8pm that is free and open to the public.
Check out Old Town Scottsdale’s newest nightclub, The Mint (7373 E Camelback Rd.), on Saturday night from 8pm – 2am for the All-Star Jam fundraiser with Tampa Bay Rays Evan Longoria. The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to buy raffle tickets at this Nike sponsored event for $20 to benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Some of the Arizona Diamondbacks will be special guests at American Junkie's (4363 North 75th St., Scottsdale) red carpet affair on Sunday night. The FOX Sports Girls will also be in the house and legendary rapper Biz Markie will be DJing all evening. Doors open at 8pm.
All-Star events will be held nearly every evening from Friday night through the big game on Tuesday night at Club Silver (136 East Washington St.) in downtown Phoenix. The parties taking place Sunday through Tuesday will also feature the duo, Mando and Fuego, appearances by Arizona Diamondbacks players, and special giveaways. Doors open at 8pm each night. Admission is $10.
NFL legend Roy Green will host a charity pool party on Saturday afternoon at the Millennium Resort (7401 North Scottsdale Rd.) in Scottsdale. Attendance is expected by such greats as Eric Dickerson and William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Gates open at 11am and admission is $20.
MLB announced an all-star roster of musical guests throughout All-Star Week.
Country music star Jason Aldean will perform before the State Farm Home Run Derby at 5pm on Monday, July 11. He will also play in the Taco Bell Legends and Celebrity Softball Game on Sunday, July 10th.
Bernie Williams will perform the National Anthem acoustically with his guitar at the Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, in which he will also play.
Phoenix native Jesse McGuire, an internationally famous trumpeter who's performed the National Anthem for three U.S. presidents, will perform the National Anthem prior to the Home Run Derby.
Hometown girl and American Idol star, Jordin Sparks will sing the National Anthem before the big game on Tuesday and Sedona native, Michelle Branch will perform during the 7th-inning stretch.
“The Voice” judge Cee Lo Green, the Soul Machine, will perform at the Major League Baseball Gala at the Phoenix Convention Center.
If you’re looking to catch some local music before or after some of the All-Star events, on Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10, The Foundry on First (402 S. First St., Phoenix) will host a two night grand opening party. Cowboy Mouth will play both nights to celebrate downtown Phoenix’s newest music venue.
Also in downtown Phoenix, Kepi Ghoulie plays The Trunk Space (1506 W. Grand Ave., Phoenix) on Saturday night. Doors open at 7:30pm.
Have an All-Star Week!
Batter up! This summer Phoenix welcomes baseball’s midseason showcase - MLB All-Star Summer July 8 - July 12. This is the first time that Phoenix has hosted the MLB All-Star Game and we're ready to bring the heat with fun events for everyone leading up to the big game happening at Chase Field on July 12.
July 8 - 12: Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest at Phoenix Convention Center
During the five days leading up to the big game, All-Star FanFest will transform the Phoenix Convention Center into the world's largest interactive baseball fan experience. Exhibits at this family-friendly event include life-sized video batting and pitching cages, clinics taught by Major League legends, and free autograph sessions with MLB legends and Hall of Famers.
Get tickets for All-Star FanFest.
July 10: Taco Bell All-Star Sunday at Chase Field featuring XM All-Star Futures Game & Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game
The Taco Bell All-Star Sunday features a double-header at Chase Field beginning with the XM All-Star Futures Game showcasing some of baseball’s best young prospects from the U.S. and all over the world. The day concludes with the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game.
Get tickets for Taco Bell All-Star Sunday.
July 11: Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Chase Field featuring State Farm Home Run Derby
Watch the top hitters from the American League and National League in an exhilarating contest to see who can hit the most home runs!
July 12: 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field
Come watch baseball's biggest stars at the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at our very own Chase Field!
Get your tickets for the 82nd MLB All-Star Game.
When the Cardinals were in the Super Bowl, one of the big story lines was, "Can they contain the excitement, busy schedule, and pressures of Super Bowl week to make it to the actual game fresh?"
Good thing I wasn't playing. The six days of events for All-Star week were so exhilarating and exciting, that it left me with a happy exhaustion. To be so near all the players, celebrities, NBA "alumni," and let's just face it - other big time sports journalists - was completely thrilling. In the midst of all that was going on, I remembered you, my dear blog followers (new word: "blogowers?") and tried to snap as many shots as I could. I twittered my fingers off to bring you up-to-the-minute coverage (and don't think I didn't have twitter wars with the other media sitting next to me), which you can see at www.twitter.com/visitphoenix, by the way.
The week was so busy - we saw TO, "Chuck," and the GlobeTrotters bust it up on the court, saw the press conferences with Shaq and Kobe (see their smiling pics below), saw Kevin Rudolf perform "Let it Rock," spotted Muhammad Ali, Jay-Z and Beyonce courtside (who, by the way, would NOT kiss each other when the "Kiss Cam" came on), saw LeBron get up to the dunk challenge next year, saw the winning Nate Robinson dunk (see pic below), and Lisa Leslie charm the crowd.
So in addition to Scott's celebrity game post, here are some shots for you to reminisce:
A few weeks ago, when the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association held its annual convention and tradeshow at the Phoenix Convention Center, I wandered through the building and was surprised to find live bulls and broncos roaming about its lower level.
I figured that was as surreal a scene as I was likely to see in a downtown convention center until I walked into the same building Friday night and witnessed Magic Johnson and Julius Erving exchanging pleasantries in the center of a full-size basketball court as a half-dozen NBA mascots flipped about like Mexican jumping beans and that guy from Chuck ducked a camera boom to bump fists with Stuart Scott.
It was like 1982 NBA Finals meets Pan’s Labyrinth. Or maybe SportsCenter meets Hollywood Squares. Either way, it was weird.
The occasion for all this frivolity was the McDonald’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, which brought together NBA legends, TV and film stars, and (refreshingly) members of the Harlem Globetrotters for an evening of light-spirited hoops.
I won’t bother recapping the game, but in the spirit of Oscar season and obligatory blog snarkiness, here's a list of highly unofficial awards that recognize the evening’s best personalities and performances. Enjoy.
Best Athlete on the Court: Terrell Owens. T.O., who won his second consecutive Celebrity Game MVP award, could log productive minutes at small forward for several NBA teams, including the Suns. Come to think of it, being on the receiving end of Steve Nash’s passes rather than Tony Romo’s might be better for his stats and his ego.
Fan Favorite: Chris Tucker. His voice is higher than his vertical and he’s a few sacks of rice heftier than his Rush Hour heyday with Jackie Chan, but Tucker still knows how to solicit laughs and cheers.
Awww, That’s Too Bad Award: To former “Human Highlight Reel” Dominique Wilkins, who couldn’t quite elevate for a dunk under the basket. When it comes to old guys and windmills, Dominique now plays second fiddle to T. Boone Pickens.
Chivalry is Dead Award: To Arizona alum and Harlem Globetrotter Eugene “Wildkat” Edgerson, for waylaying Lisa Leslie. Edgerson, who is 6-foot-6 (6-foot-11 with afro) and 245 pounds, rumbled from one end of the court to the other to swat the shot of the spindly WNBA star, sending her into photography row. That’s no way to treat a lady, especially on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
Biggest Bruiser: Micahel Rapaport. If it moves, Rapaport (Beautiful Girls, Mighty Aphrodite) will foul it. Then he will complain about the call in an over-the-top Brooklyn accent. This schtick was pretty funny the first seven times, but by foul No. 8 even his teammates seemed tired of it.
Ageless Wonder: Dan Majerle. Phoenix’s favorite adopted son scored 13 points and hit 3 of 4 shots beyond the arc. If you don’t guard Thunder Dan, he will make you pay. Still. (And he serves up a fine burger to boot.)
Best Mike D’Antoni Impression: To East team coach Julius Irving, who seemed to have little use for some of his reserves, particularly Zach Levi (Chuck) and James Denton (Desperate Housewives).
Hardest Theoretical Question: Who would win a celebrity smile-off between Magic Johnson, Curly Neal and Rick Fox? It's a tough one, but I have to lean toward Neal, the legendary Globetrotter. He's pure happiness in a red warm-up suit. I found his smile infectious when I was 7 years old, and it got to me again Friday night. Basketball could not ask for better ambassadors.