Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders expressed the enthusiasm of a baseball fan anxiously anticipating the first All-Star Game to be played in Kansas City since 1973 -- the same year "The K," then called Royals Stadium, opened.
"We've been in the on-deck circle for 38 years," Sanders said. "Now it's our time to hit. Let's play ball."
County Executive Mike Sanders recalls watching the 1973 All-Star Game and notes that fans have been anxiously awaiting the game's return to Kansas City ever since.
Mayor Sly James jokes that fans who visit Kansas City for the 2012 All-Star game won't want to go back home.
Royals Manager Ned Yost recalls participating in his first All-Star game as a coach in 1996.
Hosting the 83rd All-Star Game will put Kauffman Stadium in rare company. "The K" will become one of only four ballparks still in use today where two All-Star games have been contested. The others are Angel Stadium (Los Angeles) and two of baseball's most revered venues, Wrigley Field (Chicago) and Fenway Park (Boston).
Joining Sanders for the logo unveiling were Royals President Dan Glass, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and MLB Executive Vice President for Business Tim Brosnan, along with several Royal All-Stars, from both the past and present.
According to Brosnan, the annual All-Star festivities should attract around 250,000 fans to the area -- most of whom won't be seeing the game live at "The K" yet will be spending money during their stay in Kansas City. All-Star activities include a week-long gala, a FanFest interactive theme park, an All-Star Futures Game for top minor-league prospects and the Home Run Derby all building up to the game featuring baseball's top talent.
"The game will deliver somewhere between $60 million and $100 million in incremental economic activity," Brosnan said. "It will showcase the Kansas City region and this great ballpark to over 200 countries around the world. It'll be covered by more than 2,000 media outlets at the game."
He added, "At the end of day, 250,000 baseball fans will have a unique memory of their All-Star summer in Kansas City and a unique connection to Kansas City baseball they didn't have before."
"Between the fountains in the outfield, the barbeque and the jazz, I don't think fans are going to want to leave Kansas City," joked Mayor James.
Former Royal All-Stars Frank White, Kevin Seitzer, Jeff Montgomery, Willie Wilson and John Mayberry were on hand for the unveiling. A video message from Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett was also shown.
Sanders vividly recalled Mayberry, the starting first baseman in the 1973 All-Star game, giving the hometown fans cause to cheer when he smacked a double in that contest, which the National League won, 7-1.
"Those memories -- because it's such an event -- those memories of that game, of this game, the game of baseball, are forever burned in people's minds," Sanders said. "Here I stand now, 39 years later, talking about that double. I still remember how excited I was."
In addition to the past greats, two current Royals -- pitchers Aaron Crow, Kansas City's representative on the 2011 All-Star roster, and Joakim Soria, a two-time All-Star -- participated in the unveiling along with team manager Ned Yost.
Yost admitted he never gave much thought to going to an All-Star Game until he was a coach with the Atlanta Braves in 1996 and Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox invited him to be a part of his All-Star coaching staff that summer. Yost recalled how he "as a dad" felt about taking his kids to the game and all the other events surrounding it.
"The fans of Kansas City," Yost said, "I'm so excited for them for next year, for the experience of the entire week of programs that go on. It's going to be amazing."