It was a fantastic week for the city go Cincinnati. It was able to showcase everything that it had to offer Major League Baseball and its fans. From the multi-day Fan Fest at the Duke Energy Center, the Home Run Derby all the way up to the All Star Game itself; things could not have gone better in Cincinnati.
MLB Fan Fest
I was one of the lucky few people on the planet that was able to attend all three of these major events, and I could not be more appreciative of that.
In the context of the MLB Fan Fest, it was one of the coolest thing a fan could attend if they were not fortunate enough to attend the Derby or All Star game. The best part is, it was completely affordable. For a low price fans could go and experience booths and attractions that cities normally do not have.
There were all of the normal ones. The how fast can you throw booths and the obligatory batting cage were all represented, but on the third floor was something extraordinary.
There were three rows lined out to be base paths. A fan could stand in the base line and get a lead off first base. It was at this time that the fan had the option of choosing between Mike Trout, Bryce Harper or Billy Hamilton. When the gun went off, the fan would then race to the next base (sliding and diving pads were provided) to “beat the thrown” and steal second, while at the same time watching how fast Hamilton could burn you.
Not too many of the 12 year olds could run a 3.31 to first base, just sayin’.
There was so much more to go into with Fan Fest, but I will just highlight a few more before going into the next section.
In miniature playing field there were two events that I was able to witness. First was the kids and parents baseball “nerfball” game featuring the Nasty Boys. Rob Dibble was the catch, Randy Myers was the hitting instructor, and Norm Charlton was pitching.
The other event on the mini field was one of the more heart warming stories. The wheel chair softball game took place and I stayed around to watch a couple of batters. Keep in mind that they use their arms to power the wheels on those chairs, the power that these men had in their arms without striding was remarkable. It was fun to watch.
Home Run Derby
I think by now we all know what happened on Monday night. Todd Frazier won a the contest in a way that couldn’t have been written better in a Kevin Costner movie. In all three rounds that Frazier advanced he did it on the last swing with time expiring. And when he accepted his award he had his child in one arm on the trophy in the other. Almost Drew Brees-esk.
Frazier needed 9 home runs in the final minute and 45 seconds. He went on a tear, and tied it with three home runs in the final 55 seconds.
He then hit the last home run on the first pitch of his bonus time to win the Derby. What was remarkable is that Frazier averaged a swing every 6.5 seconds through the whole night.
The stadium was rocking in a way that resembled a division championship. I personally have not seen or heard a stadium that loud in Cincinnati since Jay Bruce hit the walk off home run to clinch the division in 2010.
“Let’s Go Frazier”!!
Side note. At one point in the Derby Prince Fielder set a Derby record with 77 home runs. Frazier had 38 in that one night. Keep in mind that the rules for elimination were different with a time clock now part of the rules, but still note worthy.
All Star Game
Of course the big story was Mike Trout winning is second straight all star MVP; however, Cincinnati fans would beg to differ. The story was Pete Rose. The fans did not get too rowdy during the actual game itself, but before hand, when Pete Rose was announced on the field it actually brought a tear to the fan’s eye sitting next to me.
It was more than the all star game to Cincinnati, it was moment for the city to shine. It was a moment to gorget about the bad and remember the good. A moment for young and old fans a like to remember why they love baseball.
It was a moment for Pete and the Fans.