Today was a very special and long awaited day in Minneapolis. This was no ordinary Sunday, it was All Star Sunday which marked the beginning of the All Star Festivities! When I stepped off the light rail I was presented with two options: I had a ticket for FanFest so I chose to follow the path on the left. From Nicolet Mall I began my mile walk to the Minneapolis Convention Center, the home of this year’s FanFest. I was impressed with how much downtown Minneapolis dressed itself up for the Festivities: Everywhere I looked was baseball themed. It was pretty neat to see how everything was prepped for the Major League All Star Game. After 10-15 minutes the Convention Center was in site: Upon entering through the front doors I was directed down this hallway: After turning a few corners I found the entrance to FanFest. It was beautiful: Once through the turnstiles each guest received a map and guide for FanFest: As you can see from the picture above, the convention center was packed with 36 attractions which included the All-Star Clubhouse, All-Star Dugout, Bigfoot, Topps Trading Cards, FanFest Batting Practice, Live Radio Autograph Stages, MLB Clubhouse Store, Minor League Baseball, MLB Network, National Baseball Hall of Fame, The Negro Leagues, Trophies of Major League Baseball, and Women in Baseball. The nice thing about FanFest was that all the attractions were free with admission. I enjoyed visiting most places on the map, but there were a few places that I enjoyed more than the rest. Places like… Hometown Heroes: Hometown Heroes highlighted all of the Twins players from over the years who had been born in Minnesota. Notable players include Joe Mauer, Dave Winfield, Tom Kelly, Jack Morris, Kent Hrbek, Terry Steinbach, and Glen Perkins. Oh, there was also some guy named Paul Molitor. Apparently he was a 7x All-Star, the 1993 World Series MVP, a 4x Silver Slugger Award winner, a member of the Major League Baseball All-Time Team, and also a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Ever hear of him? Must not be to important. Minor League Baseball: I was impressed with this attraction in particular. As you can see, there were a lot of New Era hats in the exhibit. Each column of hats represented a MLB team and it consisted of 4-5 hats. The Top hat represented the MLB team, the next hat down represented the AAA team, the hat below that repped the AA team, the next repped the A team, and the final hat repped the Rookie team. It was quite the display of hats! Negro Leagues: This exhibit highlighted the most impressive players from the league. There were old pieces of memorabilia such as jerseys, bats, balls, gloves, and scorecards. One thing that I found interesting was the separate Hall of Fame that the league had. The full Negro League Museum is located at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. If you’re interested in seeing it then head there! The Trophies of Major League Baseball: ‘Nough said. I think this one is pretty self explanatory. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum: I didn’t actually step inside to look at this attraction because I was able to see the real deal three years ago in Cooperstown, NY. Don’t get me wrong, they still went the whole nine yards here in Minneapolis. There were HOF plaques, jerseys, hats, gloves, baseballs, etc. Tons of memorabilia that is normally in Cooperstown! All Star Clubhouse: I only stepped in for a brief moment, but at the time there was a Hall of Fame softball player giving some sort of speech. It was probably a lengthy response to a question that had been directed towards her. The Clubhouse was mostly, if not exclusively, used for Q and A with fans. World Baseball Classic: This was intriguing because the map showed which countries were being represented by certain players in the Big Leagues. Like other attractions there were also pieces of memorabilia here. Bigfoot: I don’t know how to explain this. Regardless, BigFoot was at the convention center. Quickly, somebody tell Anthony Swarzak to get over here, I found bigfoot! For those of you who don’t know, Anthony Swarzak is a believer of big foot and sasquatch. After I explored FanFest a bit more I found a set of the All Star commemoratives… the same ones I would hopefully get my hands on at Target Field: Speaking of Target Field, I arrived in a familiar place at 11:30: I met Tony Voda and his friend Jared at the gates, talked for a bit, and then we rushed inside when the gates opened at two o’clock. Although there was batting practice, I was unable to snag a futures game baseball. On the up side I did get Alex Myers’ autograph on my Futures Game program. Before the game started I watched the pitchers warm up. Hentry Owens started for the U.S. and Jose Berrios for the World: Mateo Fischer had arrived a bit after the gates opened, but at this point we were both hanging out in the left field bleachers. As we waited for the game to begin we noticed the bleachers were being raised: We talked to a few ushers and they told us that this was because the Clydesdales would be taking a lap around the ballpark. Sure enough, the Clydesdales appeared and took their lap: Due to the inconvenience of leaving our seats in order for the section to be raised, each person in that section was given a $15 food voucher that could be spent at any concession stand at the ballpark. I was thrilled when I was given two: When the game started at 4:00 CT I did something that I hadn’t done since 2013. When the game started I actually went to sit in my ticketed seat! When I bought my All-Star ticket strip I picked a seat on the aisle in the grandstand because I figured this would be a decent spot for lefties in the home run derby. Later it was announced that only one lefty, Justin Morneau, would be participating in the Home Run Derby. Here’s a picture to give you an idea of where I was at: Anyways, when I made it up to my seat someone was sitting in it. Normally I wouldn’t care, but this was an All Star event! I went over the whole, “I think you’re in my seat. Here’s my ticket” thing, but apparently rules didn’t apply to them because they thought i’d be completely understanding and let them continue to sit there. There was one person who had seven friends in my row and they wanted to be together so they told me to take their seat that was four rows up and a few seats in. I grabbed a random seat for half of the game, and then decided I would have the usher give them the boot. As I was on my way I realized that even if the one got booted from my section, it would be extremely awkward to have to sit next to the other seven who would still be there. So, I booted my plan out the window and decided to go sit next to Mateo in section 130: Why was Mateo colorful? Earlier that morning he had run in The Color Run MLB 5K, presented by Nike. He didn’t have time to get cleaned up before getting to the game so he was still covered head to toe in paint. The futures game ended after 2 hours and 33 minutes. Since I don’t remember much from the game, you should just watch this recap from MLB: Panic at the Disco performed a short concert in-between the Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball game. I’ve seen a few musicians play before, but this was still my first larger scale concert: I enjoyed the concert and I especially liked the stage effects such as the shooting flames and confetti. Seeing a concert at Target Field was great because it made All-Star Sunday feel different than going to a normal game. I enjoyed every minute of it. Mateo, Leiming Tang, Garrett Meyer and I watched most of the Celebrity Softball Game from here: The best part of the softball game was seeing Jim Thome step up to the plate a few more times at Target Field. He’s one of my favorites. It went by quickly, but the first day of the 2014 All-Star Festivities had come to a close.