Move Over Mickey–MLB All-Star FanFest Comes to Anaheim

Swap out your Mickey ears for a baseball cap this weekend–the Disney Empire will forfeit its reign over Anaheim to the Major League.

The 20th Annual MLB All-Star FanFest, “an interactive baseball theme park and the largest baseball fan event in the world,” opens in the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday, July 9 and runs up to the MLB All-Star Game on the night of Tuesday, July 13. We got to partake in a press preview this morning–here's what you can expect.


Over 450,000 square feet of the colossal convention center on Katella Avenue have been jam-packed with anything and everything paying homage to America's pastime. Although a bit pricey and littered with the signs of corporate sell-out (much like Angel Stadium), FanFest offers young and old an authentic, worthwhile baseball experience.

Whether you try to “Steal A Base, Steal A Taco” by racing a televised MLB star to second base, participate in a baseball clinic led by a Hall Of Famer, make a personalized baseball trading card, or pose for limitless photo ops, you're bound to go home with more swag than you can possibly jam into your oversized SUV.  A definite plus is that the admission charge ($30 for adults, $25 for children) covers everything inside the convention center (minus that Nolan Ryan signed bat you're eyeing).

For those disillusioned by the commercial giveaways and children's activities, FanFest offers a slice of the past for baseball history buffs. Special exhibits pay tribute to the Hall of Fame, Negro Leagues, Women in Baseball, the World Baseball Classic and the Minor Leagues. 

The building is a baseball shrine, overflowing with relics of the sport, from MVP trophies to extraordinarily rare jerseys.

Angels' legend Rod Carew was on hand Thursday, hosting children from a local Boys & Girls Club and members of the press. Carew displayed his saintly patience and calm demeanor as he coached a young girl through a good three dozen slow-balls before bat and ball made contact. Shortly thereafter, he fielded just as many questions from the media.[

“This [baseball] is a great game,” Carew commented.  “You should take advantage of it [FanFest] while it's here.”

Carew recounted playing as a rookie in the 1967 All-Star Game, held right here in Anaheim. He became the first and only rookie to ever start at 2nd base in an All-Star Game.

But now there's nothing rookie at all about his role in MLB FanFest, let alone the sport itself. This OC-local is on deck to coach a clinic at the even from 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Friday.  Dozens of baseball legends are scheduled to make appearances: Rollie Fingers, Tim Salmon, Earl Weaver, Lou Brock, Cal Ripkin, Tony Gwynn, among others.

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