MLB All-Star Game: A KC Masterpiece
Kansas City is always the geographic center of the country, but very rarely is it the center of its attention. All-Star Week changed the latter half of that. Maybe not drastically – and sure, the MLB All-Star Game doesn’t garner the attention of everyone – but the city was electric.
Leading up to the big event, retail establishments that didn’t fork out the hefty fee to affiliate themselves officially with the game had quite the task on hand:
Determining how to get involved in the hype without violating copyright laws.
Some of my grocery retailers decided to give away tickets to the game, but instead of advertising the promotions as “Win tickets to the All-Star game at Kauffman Stadium!”, we had to get a bit more creative.
Win tickets to the big event where the really famous athletes swing bats to hit a ball at the venue on I-70!
Win passes to get in to see people whose names rhyme with Meter and Pain play the sport with the little white ball at the stadium on the way to St. Louis!
I get it:
MLB doesn’t want just anyone tainting the branding of their All-Star game, but ad themes and promotion slicks got quite creative in the weeks leading up to the it.
Starting on Thursday leading up to the game, driving around this city was just a little different. The water in a few of the fountains Kansas City is known for was turned Royal blue for the occasion, monuments were lit up in blue at night, FanatiKCs billboards and crosswalk graphics appeared, and All-Star logos were woven into the city’s fabric.
Kansas City also put together a social media hub completely staffed by volunteers from the Social Media Club of Kansas City. Visitors could tweet questions and comments with the hashtag #KC and have their inquiries answered. It was like knowing a local – but you didn’t have to really know one. Restaurant recommendations, parking tips and museum hours were among the 72,139 messages processed by the center during All-Star Week.
One of the best parts about being on the national stage is the articles that have come from writers familiar with the city. Sam Mellinger word-sleuthed the wonders of the food mixed with our subtle insecurities, and Joe Posnanski captured the endearing mosaic of Kansas City. Often, when people try to ask me about living in Kansas City, the words these guys laid down on paper ruminate – but they’d never crafted quite so well. If you want an idea what this city is like, they capture it brilliantly.
There was some criticism around Kansas City about the mad rush to get the city “pretty” for the game.
Unsightly houses were torn down, and the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods were patrolled differently – enough to crinkle the noses of locals who wonder why it takes a national event to get things done.
But the way I look at it is:
Very rarely do you see a bride sporting exercise clothes at the altar.
Inherently, as humans, we know when it is appropriate to look our best. And sometimes that means spending more money, adding a little makeup and looking a bit different than we would on a normal day.
The Home Run Derby will be remembered for Kansas City fans booing the Yankees All-Star Robinson Cano because he didn’t pick a hometown member of the Royals for the derby. Lots of people called Royals fans classless. At first – while I was watching the derby from my couch – I cringed when we booed him. Then I realized he had said earlier that he’d pick a hometown guy and flat didn’t.
Here’s the thing about Kansas Citians:
We’re a proud bunch.
This was our shot at having one of our own on a national stage. We’re eternally hopeful, yet got our hope dashed. It’s a pretty natural reaction if you ask me. Plus, we only booed him for a little bit the next night.
I have to note:
I’ve been to Kauffman Stadium – where the Royals play – a multitude of times in my life, but the stadium has never looked better than it did for the actual game on Tuesday night.
My decision to go was last-minute. We bought tickets off of StubHub at 3:30 PM – the same time that the gates opened at the park. The parking was too expensive, the lots were crammed with grills and coolers and revelry, and the place was alive. After getting in and walking around a bit – just to take everything in – the game turned out to be a dud. Sure, we booed Cano again, but we also gave the retiring Chipper Jones a standing ovation. Billy Butler, our hometown Royal, batted twice and we loved it – despite his inability to do anything significant.
In the days following the game, there was surely an All-Star hangover; from the attention, to the anticipation, to the excitement.
The best part though?
This city shined, in the center of it all.
- by AWSC
- posted at 11:46 am
- July 19, 2012