Thousands of people packed Angel stadium in Anaheim Tuesday for the 81st annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The National League took on the American League, which has ruled every Midsummer Classic since 1996. But last night, the National League finally snapped its losing streak and snatched a victory. It beat the AL 3-1.
Updated 7:59 a.m.
Early in the day, enthusiastic fans hung around outside the stadium. Waiting in the hot sun for an autograph didn’t bother Sylvia Reyes too much. She drove down from south San Francisco to work at the FanFest event this week at the Anaheim Convention Center.
She would have come anyway – she’s a diehard baseball fan. And so are her two young grandsons. Unfortunately, she couldn’t bring them to the All-Star Game. Sylvia said they were a little bummed, but she hoped to bring them back a memento.
“I always take them with me to the games," she said. "So they said, ‘aren’t you taking me this time?’"
Sylvia had hoped to get an autograph from San Francisco relief pitcher Brian Wilson to take back home. She didn't get it, but at least she caught a glimpse of him up close.
Hundreds of other fans did, too. They wore an assortment of jerseys and stood along the red carpet outside Angel Stadium to see their favorite big leaguers. There was Angels centerfielder Torii Hunter, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Yankees third baseman Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez – one of the few who actually stopped to sign autographs.
First timers, like baby Robert, mingled with season ticket holders, while fathers and sons played catch and coworkers barbecued.
RJ remembers attending the All-Star Game in 1989 when he was 8 years old. “Baseball has grown, but my paycheck hasn’t… and dad is no longer buying the tickets, so this is really special.”
Gina Solorsa of Anaheim was happy to be there.
“You never know when the all stars are gonna come back, especially in Anaheim," Solorsa said. "So that’s why I’m here. Actually I had to work here at 1:30 but I came early for this.”
She and her buddy Brian Apel from San Diego did what thousands of other baseball enthusiasts had in mind. They got to the stadium early and made a day of it.
“My first All-Star Game and me and my friend, we came up and make it an event," said Apel. "We’re just not going to show up and for first pitch and watch the game and go home. We wanted to come up, we wanted to do everything, we wanted to see all the sights."
And there was plenty to see, like the morning parade of all-stars through Disneyland not far from Angel Stadium. Fans grew wild at the sight of their favorites like David "Big Papi" Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox, who ruled Monday’s home run derby.
“Technically we’re Dodger fans,” said Chad Thomas, even though his comrades were sporting Angels jerseys. “And we’re hoping that the National league will win. It’s just been way too long.”
Skyler and his elementary school friends agreed. “We’re excited. We’re excited and hopeful for the National League.”
But National League supporters were slightly outnumbered in the sea of red that represented Anaheim’s Angels fans (and American League supporters). According to Anaheim native Cristina, this is because the Angels jersey “just looks better.”
Players and fans also paid their respects to 80-year-old baseball legend George Steinbrenner. The New York Yankees owner died Tuesday morning of a heart attack in Tampa, Florida.