All-Stars make big entrance in Red Carpet Show
Jeter soaks in last chance to meet with fans along parade route in Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS -- Derek Jeter boarded the back of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck along with his family, as he has in so many All-Star Games before.
It was one last ride off into the Midsummer Classic sunset -- complete with a thunderous ovation the entire way -- on his way to Target Field on Tuesday as part of the 10th annual All-Star Game Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet.
"These are fun," he said. "You get a chance to mingle with the citizens of Minneapolis."
Jeter has mingled with fans all across the country, starting with the first such parade outside Comerica Park in Detroit before the 2005 All-Star Game. This was his 14th and final selection.
Then there's an extreme opposite example in Anthony Rizzo, who also boarded his truck with family members. The Cubs first baseman is making his first All-Star appearance, courtesy of the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote after 92 hours of online balloting.
"I've been soaking this all in and really enjoying it," Rizzo said. "It's just surreal right now. It's nice to be in a parade. This is awesome."
All-Stars from the Twins and every other Major League Baseball team traveled through the streets of Minneapolis in Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Silverado and Camaro vehicles prior to the 85th Midsummer Classic at 8 p.m. ET on FOX and streamed live for the first time by MLB.TV.
The parade began with the staging area off a ballroom of the Hyatt at the corner of the legendary Nicollet Mall & 13th Street, flowing through adoring fans who were part of All-Star Week. It turned down 7th Street and proceeded to Target Field on an approximately 5,700-foot red carpet.
Hall of Famer and Twins legend Rod Carew served as grand marshal in a Stingray convertible, along with other greats including Paul Molitor, Bert Blyleven and Tony Oliva. There were two trolleys each carrying 15 of the All-Star Teachers who are being introduced on the field before the big game; a group of Minneapolis Little Leaguers in honor of Little League Baseball's 75th anniversary; the two All-Star managers, Mike Matheny and John Farrell; and of course the Commissioner's Trophy given to the World Series champion and crafted by Tiffany & Co.
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier certainly had a higher profile than before in this city, following his appearance in the Gillette Home Run Derby final round a night earlier. His oldest brother, who also served as his Derby pitcher, and other family members were aboard his truck with him. You could expect Frazier's truck to draw more interest than it might have 24 hours earlier.
"This is great. This is what the All-Star Game is all about, the fans," Frazier said. "It's just a lot of fun. It's a big red carpet, and I think that's pretty cool. Everybody's dressed up, looking good, and hopefully it'll be a fun day."
Was there a carryover from his Home Run Derby bid the night before?
"We went out for a little bit afterwards and had a good time, just happy to be around family and friends," Frazier said. "This is truly a great experience for me."
Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters was with his wife and child, savoring the moment as he walked out of the players' green room at the Hyatt. He had a brace outside the dress shirt of his injured right arm -- unable to play at Target Field, but able to appreciate what it takes to get there.
"It's a great parade, to get to share it with the family and be able to go around and see all the great fans who showed up here in Minnesota," Wieters said. "The great thing is, you see fans from every team and see how well baseball travels.
"My first one was in Arizona and it was a lot hotter. But it was still a great event."
Indeed, the 2011 parade in Phoenix was a shorter version where the focus was on getting the players and their families from point A to point B as efficiently as possible, while still giving fans on the way to Chase Field a chance to enjoy seeing them up close. In this case, it felt a little more like autumn, with temperatures in the low 60s.
"It's a pretty cool experience, I've done it before, obviously," said Toronto's Jose Bautista, the top overall vote-getter for this game. "It's nice to see the local people who come out and support the All-Star Game, and to meet them."
MLB Network will air an abbreviated version of the festivities at 7:30 p.m. ET, before the game.
"It's really cool, it's an opportunity you don't get anywhere else," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, an NL coach in this game. "I was fortunate to go on the red-carpet ride in New York City in '08 with my wife and my little kids, and this one, I get to go with my daughter, Ashley, and her significant other, Eric. Did you see all the fans out there? And to go through the waves of them representing their favorite teams and just to wave and say hello, I think it's a real nice piece of connection done by Major League Baseball with their fan base."