The MLFB All Star Game is in town. I'm not big into professional sports or big crowds, but I needed to get out of the house today, so I headed on my bike toward downtown to check out the Red Carpet Parade. I haven't kept up with baseball since high school when I collected baseball cards. I recognized only a couple of the current players' names (retiring player Derek Jeter for one)--and was thankful for the retired players that lead the parade: Rod Carew, Paul Molitor, Tony Oliva, Bert Blyleven.
A few things I noticed:
Family. Of course, there were plenty of families at the parade. Parents who brought their children to see a athletic hero. But almost all of the players had their families riding with them: wives, children, parents, siblings.
Technology. Most of the people in the parade had out their phone, tablet, or camera taking pictures and videos of the crowd. Even though they're famous, they're still just people who want to preserve the memories of the moment.
Hype. I grew up playing baseball. While I don't watch it often, I enjoy the game. But it's amazing how much fame and fortune we give to men who hit and throw a ball. There were a couple trolleys at the beginning of the parade full of "all star teachers." It was nice recognition for them, but its sad how much we pay those who entertain us compared to those who shape our lives.
But despite it all, baseball is a great sport. I almost said all-American, but a big chunk of players aren't from America any more: Cuba, the Domincan Republic, Japan. Though it doesn't have the reach and popularity of soccer, it's still a pretty accessible sport.
While few of us could afford tickets to an All-Star Game, I appreciate how they make the experience accessible for almost everyone. Free concerts, free baseball movies outside the park, free activities, free parade. I know that the All Star Game did some philanthropic activities in town, too (there was a sign in our front yard the other day directing media to parking for an activity room unveiling provided by the All Star Legacy Project). It was a pleasure to have the All Star Game in town.