DISCLAIMER: This is a true story.
That, in short, was how I would describe my experience down in Washington D.C. for MLB All-Star Weekend.
I couldn’t make the All-Star Game itself on Tuesday, as I had work and live two hours away.
However, I got a group of friends together to attend the MLB All-Star FanFest and the 2018 SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game and the MLB Legends and Celebrity Softball Game on MLB All-Star Sunday.
It was everything that expected and more. It exceeded all expectations. It was truly baseball heaven. There is nothing like it. Now, I have to explain it in words.
Here we go.
MLB All-Star FanFest
FanFest was held on the lower level of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, near Capital One Arena.
Free autographs from current and former players, mostly Nationals players, but some Hall of Famers sprinkled into the mix. I managed to get HOF Gaylord Perry’s signature, which was cool.
Tons of exhibits, free stuff, batting cages, fielding practice, wiffle-ball sized baseball fields, expensive merchandise, corporate sponsorships, giant baseballs, fans from every team, including like 16 Rays fans. Outside of the Tampa Bay area, that was probably the largest gathering of Rays fans I’ve seen.
I took a picture with the World Series trophy, the closest the Rays will ever get to winning the damn thing.
Whenever I saw a Rays fan, we showed each other love because Rays fans “don’t exist”. It’s a close bond.
I even saw ballhawk Zack Hample there, who was nice enough to take a picture with me. He also noticed my Rays gear and gave me props because like I said, Rays fans “don’t exist”.
It’s a pretty good pic. Two GOATs in the same picture, but I look like I’m dying on the inside. I can confirm I wasn’t.
Sensory overload to the max.
MLB All-Star Futures Game and Legends and Celebrity Softball Game
I needed to let out another one. My excitement needed to be let out once again.
Nats Park wasn’t all decorated in Nats stuff for the most part, which was redeeming. They gave away garden gnomes of Teddy Roosevelt, one of the featured presidents in the Presidents Race.
I almost fell going down the stairs to get to my seat because I was so excited. Totally worth it.
Unfortunately, I came up empty during BP, but I did get an autograph from White Sox prospect Luis Basabe, who did something during the game that I don’t think I’ve ever seen done.
Hunter Greene, a prospect from the Cincinnati Reds who throws 100+ mph pitches, threw a 102 mph fastball to Basabe. He pulled a 102 mph pitch and hit it with an exit velocity of 104 mph into the right-center field seats. Scenes.
Also, my arch nemesis Torii Hunter was the coach of Team USA. We’ve had some encounters in the past, but that storyline continues later.
Team USA beat Team World 10-6, and eight home runs were hit, and of course, none to me or near me.
The Legends & Celebrity Softball Game followed, arguably the bigger of the two events for two reasons really: Bill Nye and Tim Kurkjian.
Yes, Bill Nye the Science Guy. His theme song wasn’t played, to the disappointment of basically the entire crowd. He got the biggest ovation, even bigger than John Wall, who can’t field worth a lick. It was embarrassing, like the Wizards in the playoffs.
Kurkjian’s a short guy, a baseball analyst for ESPN, and a Maryland grad, so I had to cheer him on. They were entertaining to see.
This is where the Torii Hunter story continues. He struck out in a slow pitch softball game. He didn’t know I was there, but I can tell that he definitely felt my presence, much like the force in Star Wars, and karma finally came back to him. I emerged victorious.
You don’t need to see the video. It was too embarassing.
Kurkjian legged out a fielder’s choice and scored from second on a hit. That was fun to see. Bill Nye got a single. Bill Nye made contact with the ball and he got on base.
Rays legend Carlos Pena went deep and I was like the only person to get hype about it, but it was fantastic.
We ended up leaving in the fourth inning of the softball game, purely because we had to drive back home, but wow.
Sunday was not only the best way I could spend the final day of my teenage years, but one of the best, if not the best baseball experiences I’ve ever had in my life.
Shoutout to my friends, Mike, Dan and Jesse for coming. Mike came up with the idea. GOAT.