By Alan Shope, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
The excitement is building across Kansas City for the All-Star Game, and the fans are pouring in from all over the country getting ready for Tuesday night's big game.
For baseball fans, one of the best ways to celebrate the Midsummer Classic at Kauffman Stadium was spending the day at FanFest at Bartle Hall.
The All-Star FanFest celebrated players and moments in Major League Baseball history during the opening ceremony with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and players from the Negro Leagues, including Ernie Banks, Monte Irvin, Minnie Minosa, Jesse Rogers, Ulysses Hollimon and Ernest Johnson.
The first 1,000 fans in attendance received a Pioneer Day tumbler.
KCTV5's Brad Fanning participated in the celebrity home run derby for a good cause with other local media stars swinging for the fences. The event went toward raising money for the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Fanning did not win.
Superstar Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard also held a hitting clinic for area children Monday.
Howard said he knows just how important it is to give back. Growing up, he used to love events like the one he held Monday.
When Howard was in college, he used to go over to the Boys and Girls Clubs and referee basketball games and play pick-up basketball games.
"I was that dramatic referee. So, to be able to team up with State Farm and help out with the Go to Bat Program and be able to be here and have this for the Boys and Girls Clubs is going to be a lot of fun. We are going to get out here and see what they got," he said.
Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn held a question-and-answer session to talk all things baseball. Gwynn, along with recently retired Chicago Cubs All-Star pitcher Kerry Wood and former Kansas City Royal Cookie Rojas, held autograph sessions for fans..
"We come to FanFest and you can see it in the kids' eyes. They love the game, they love the players who play the game, they love all the pageantry and they love everything about it," Gwynn said. "It makes our job as guys who played the game before a whole lot easier because that's all we do is talk about the game. So I think the game is in good hands right now, and they are doing a great job with it."
Doors are open at FanFest until 8 p.m. Monday and 6 p.m. Tuesday, the day of the All-Star Game.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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