A true All-Star experience - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

A true All-Star experience

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Beverly Stidham

Posted: Friday, July 15, 2011 10:00 am | Updated: 1:27 pm, Wed Oct 10, 2012.

Being a huge baseball fan, I have to say Tuesday, July 12 was a dream come true for me. When my husband, Cliff, and I renewed our Diamondbacks season tickets, we knew it meant we would have a great chance of purchasing All-Star tickets, which we ended up doing. Well, I can cross that off my bucket list now, which is very long by the way!

The thought of attending the Futures Game, the All-Star Legends and celebrity softball game, the Homerun Derby and then the All-Star game itself almost made me hyperventilate. What more could top that off? Well, something did.

About three weeks before All-Star weekend, I placed a call to our season ticket representative at the D-Backs ticket office to ask a quick question. The next morning she called back and left a message regarding something we might be interested in helping out with. I called her back immediately. Since she knew we were big baseball fans she thought of us when the MLB called the ticket office looking for volunteers to be a part of the pre-game ceremonies for the All-Star game. They were looking for people to help hold the flag on the field during the singing of the national anthem. Are you kidding me? My husband was out of town when I received the call but I knew what his answer would be. I immediately said yes.

The Futures Game and the Legends and celebrity softball game took place on Sunday evening. I was beside myself seeing true legends such as Ozzie Smith, Rollie Fingers, Bernie Williams, Fred Lynn, along with celebrities like Jordin Sparks, Nick Jonas, Jesse Williams and my personal favorite legends Mark Grace and Luis Gonzalez, right there in front of me. And it was only the first night! The homerun derby was Monday night. I was a little bit disappointed Justin Upton was not invited to participate but I knew there would be some great talent. And I was not disappointed. It was a blast - literally!

The balls were going up and out everywhere. People were falling all over each other trying to catch each home run hit. One man nearly fell out of the stands trying to catch a ball, but fortunately his family and friends were able to hold on to him and not let him fall.

The next day was All-Star Tuesday and I was getting nervous. We were told to report to Chase Field at 8 a.m. to spend time practicing the flag ceremony. I knew the flag would be big, but not this big. It weighed 1,100 pounds and stretched out 300 feet. The flag was put together in pieces. The stars were all one large piece and the stripes were individual pieces. It was put together with clips about every foot. We were told to line up along the edge of the flag and that would be where we would be standing during the actual ceremony. Cliff and I decided to take the top right-hand corner. Though there was a lot of standing around time, the practice went great and only took a little over an hour. We were asked to report back to the field at 3:30 p.m. for the 5 p.m. ceremony. Again, more standing around time and butterflies were starting to set in. Finally, the time came to walk out on the field. I was the last one out the door and on the field, standing in front of 47,000-plus people! It was amazing. We were on the field with the All-Star players in the major leagues. It was great seeing the entire ballpark filled with fans. We waited for the announcement of all the umpires, reserve players, starting players, coaches and special guests. Finally, it was time for Sparks to sing the national anthem. We waved the flag while she sang. There were cheers, light bulbs going off and goose bumps up and down my arms. This was a true All-Star experience.

The National League won the game 5-1, which is who I was pulling for. That would mean, should the Diamondbacks make it to the World Series this year, they would have home field advantage, being a National League team. Maybe MLB would need some experienced flag holders again right here at Chase Field. It would my honor to accept.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7924 or bstidham@ahwatukee.com

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