July 6-10: All-Star FanFest
(Bartle Hall, Kansas City Convention Center)
If you want to revel in All-Star Game festivities but can't get your hands on the scarce game tickets and can't afford the $180–$345 tickets to the Home Run Derby, the All-Star FanFest is the best option. The five-day event held at Bartle Hall (301 West 13th Street) is a carnival of baseball activities, autograph sessions (including several former Royals), exhibits about baseball history, and a large display from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Sunday, July 8: Charity Fun Run 5K, All-Star Sunday with Futures Game, and Legends & Celebrities Softball Game
Spend the morning running around downtown for the All-Star Game Charity 5K and Fun Run. (There's also a one-mile run.) The registration fee for runners includes a T-shirt and a finisher medal. Race proceeds benefit Stand Up to Cancer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
After the run, head to Kauffman Stadium (1 Royal Way) for the All-Star Futures Game, which pits clubs' top American prospects against foreign-born prospects. The American prospects are managed by George Brett, and the world players are under the tutelage of former Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams. The six-inning Legends & Celebrities Softball Game caps the evening with lineups that are stocked with Hall of Famers and A-list entertainers. Celebrities include Mad Men's Jon Hamm, Kansas City native Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family and University of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self. They take on Bo Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Ozzie Smith, Dave Winfield and other baseball greats. Fireworks follow the game.
Monday, July 9: All-Star Workout Day and Home Run Derby (at the K)
Unfortunately, Royals fans aren't accustomed to seeing many dingers at Kauffman Stadium. The team ranks near last for bombs in their home park. So a ticket to the Home Run Derby is a wise investment for homer-starved fans. There likely won't be any Royals in the contest, but that's OK. It is far more fun to watch MLB's biggest power hitters launch balls into the fountains.
Tuesday, July 10: All-Star Game
(6:30 p.m. CDT at the K)
One criticism that has plagued the NFL in the last decade or so is its shortage of stadiums deemed worthy of hosting the Super Bowl. Florida, California and New Orleans regularly get the game, with a few new stadiums sprinkled in. Major League Baseball has avoided a similar routine with the All-Star Game. Once a ballpark hosts the Midsummer Classic, the stars might not return for decades. Kansas City last hosted the game in 1973, and it's not a stretch to think that the game won't be back for another 39 years. After all, there isn't a shortage of newish MLB parks itching to be showcased during the All-Star Game. So it's not crazy to consider putting up huge bucks to have the game-day experience. And let's be clear: We're talking huge bucks, like the price of a Chevy. Tickets behind home plate are selling on StubHub for as much as $15,000. As the seats get farther back, they drop into the $3,000 range. Upper-deck cheap seats that normally go for $10 are moving at $319. If you want to stand, it costs you around $300. And tickets aren't much cheaper on Craigslist. Ungodly expensive, yes, but certainly a check on the sports bucket list.