All-Star game in Kansas City brings back memories

Sitting here Monday, I discovered my office mate Allan Vought's column, taking a look back on Major League Baseball's All-Star Game from 50 years ago in 1962. The fact is, I wasn't alive 50 years ago, so I obviously have no memory of that game, nor have I been fortunate enough to attend one.

That said, if ever there was a, MLB All-Star Game that I would have liked to attend, it was last night's game played in Kansas City, Mo.

Unlike Allan's account of that classic game a half century ago, I have a just a few memories of all-star games played throughout my childhood and teen years.

I recall watching baseball back in those days of the early 1970s in my lightweight pajamas with my younger brother, Greg. More than the all-star game though, I remember Monday Night Baseball, and on the weekends, it was This Week in Baseball with Mel Allen. Pretty good stuff.

My true interest in baseball, other than playing it or collecting the baseball cards, came a few years later when I learned who George Brett was. Almost instantly, Brett became my hero on the playing field as the hard-nosed third baseman of the Kansas City Royals.

Watching Brett play the game, it didn't take me long to understand the game and appreciate those who played it. Especially when played with the energy and desire I saw displayed daily by Brett.

Brett was an All-Star 13 consecutive years, leaving me plenty of opportunity to see the game with him in it between 1976 and 1988. My best memory came in 1984 with the game played in San Francisco's Candlestick Park.

Brett, batting sixth in the order, hit a solo home run to what I remember as dead center field. As it turned out, Brett's blast was the only run of the game for the American League stars who were 3-10 in the big game during Brett's 13-year run.

So, forward to this year's fest, right in Kansas City. I was fortunate to visit there, some years ago, when a photographer and I made the trip for professional football reasons. It just worked out that we could take in a Royals game the night before.

The MLB Futures Game was played Sunday and you know who was managing the American team? Brett, of course. Former Yankee Bernie Williams was managing the World Team.

It was another Yankee who got real royal treatment at Monday night's home run derby. Robinson Cano, the defending derby champ, was booed and cheered at the same time. Going back a whole lot of years, there is no love lost between the Yankees and Royals.

Add in that Royals fans believed that Billy Butler, one of their own, should have been part of the derby, well you get the picture. The boos turned to cheers with every Cano swing that resulted in an out. As it turned out, Cano went homerless.

Although I don't condone the actions, I understand them.

Maybe someday, the Yankees and Royals will meet in another postseason series like so many years ago. That will be something to cheer about.

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