The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game ballot was unveiled during a special on-field ceremony at Kauffman Stadium, where the "Mid-Summer Classic" will be played July 10. While fans can just now begin casting votes for their favorite players, all attending the ballot unveiling Thursday, April 19 agreed the game's biggest winner may have already been determined -- the Greater Kansas City region.
Not since the 1988 NCAA Final Four has a sporting event of this magnitude been held in the Greater Kansas City region. It's expected to give the local economy a grand slam-big jolt.
"The game and all the events surrounding it should generate $60 million for local vendors, hotels, restaurants, business owners and memorabilia distributors, among others," said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. "It's a tremendous impact on the local economy."
The All-Star Game is about more than just one game played on one night, showcasing baseball's best players. It has grown into a five-day gala since Kansas City last hosted the game back in 1973. Fan now have multiple opportunities to get involved, including:
•FanFest, a baseball-oriented theme park, that is expected to attract more than 100,000 people to Bartle Hall July 6-10.
•On Sunday, July 8, the Futures Game featuring some of the top prospects in baseball, as well as the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium. That same day, the All-Star Charity 5K/Fun Run will be held in downtown Kansas City.
•The game's best sluggers swinging for the fences during the Home Run Derby at "The K" on Monday, July 9.
•A red-carpet parade the afternoon of Tuesday, July 10, through the Country Club Plaza, giving fans a chance to see the All-Stars up close free.
•The All-Star Game itself on the evening of July 10. Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer George Brett will serve as the Major League Baseball (MLB) Ambassador for the 2012 All-Star Game. In addition to managing one of the teams in the Futures Game, he'll participate in FanFest, serve as the official starter for the charity run and play in the Legends & Celebrity softball game.
More Than 210 Countries Watching
The event is a rare opportunity to promote Kansas City on a global stage. The game will be broadcast to more than 210 countries, according to MLB.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James said, "The All-Star game is not just a financial opportunity for this city, it is an opportunity to enhance in the eyes of our own citizens our character, our feelings about the city we love and to show to the world how the people of Kansas City treat visitors. This will be a time for Kansas City to shine."
Thank You To The Residents Of Jackson County
The citizens of Jackson County made bringing the All-Star Game to Kansas City possible by approving a sales tax to renovate both Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums.
"When we stepped up and renovated one of the most beautiful stadiums in baseball to bring it up to the standards we now have, [baseball] commissioner [Bud Selig] said Kansas City deserves the All-Star Game and awarded it to us this year," said Kansas City Royals owner David Glass. "This is our chance to show not just the rest of the country but the whole world what we have here."
Also representing the Royals at the ballot ceremony were Brett and current outfielder Alex Gordon. "I'm looking forward to helping show off our town to the world," said Brett, who made his Major League debut August 2, 1973, less than a month after Kansas City hosted the All-Star game at what was then a brand new Royals Stadium.
Beyond promoting Kansas City and the $60-million boost to the economy, the 2012 All-Star Game will make enduring memories, Sanders pointed out.
"Great sports moments are about more than just the game," he said. "They're about life-long memories. So, 40 years from now some other people will be at a podium recalling their memories of this game in 2012 in Kansas City."