SYDNEY, 8 June - Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game showcases the best baseball talent from around world. It signifies the unofficial half-way point to the baseball season, and Kauffman Stadium, home to the Kansas City Royals will be site of the 2012 Midsummer Classic. As host of the All-Star Game for the first time since 1973, the Royals are ready to show off their city and ballpark to a global audience.
1999 was a very special season for Aussie baseball legend and former Milwaukee Brewers’ catcher David Nilsson. He continues to hold the distinction as the only Australian ever to be selected to an All-Star Game. At the break, he was batting an impressive .311, eventually finishing the season at .309 (106-for-343) with 21 homers and 62 RBIs in 115 games. This would mark Nilsson’s final big league season, kick starting his international playing career.
Nilsson, an eight-year MLB veteran was anxious leading up the All-Star Game. “In 1999, I felt I was in really good position and something strange would have to happen to not be selected. I was hopeful in 1994 but didn’t get picked so when Bruce Bochy notified my manager Phil Garner, it was very exciting.”
“I’ve had a lot of experience at Fenway Park and understood how special of an environment it was and what baseball meant to the city of Boston. It is very hard to put in words to describe that atmosphere,” said Nilsson. “A lot of unbelievable things happen in that that All-Star Game. It was an honour to be on the same field as the All-Century team, watching Ted Williams entering from centre field in a gulf buggy. Mark McGwire put on a display at the Home Run Derby and starting pitcher Pedro Martinez dominated the game. I was happy to have family there and to represent Australia. The game was at the back-end of a 16-day road trip so the adrenaline was kicking. It went at the blink of an eye.”
When asked if he foresees other Aussies eventually being selected to the Mid-Summer Classic, Nilsson said, “I think Grant Balfour has put himself in that situation to be considered. A combination of a lot variables need to happen in order for this to eventuate. Hopefully, other Australians have the opportunity to experience this because it really was a very special time.”
Many festivities are planned ahead of the actual All-Star Game on 10 July, 2012. All-Star FanFest (6-10 July), All-Star Futures Game, Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (8 July) and fan favourite, State Farm Home Run Derby (9 July) highlight the excitement leading up to the game.
Commissioner Bug Selig stated “Major League Baseball is committed to ensure a lasting legacy in each All-Star host city,” and this year’s game will sure to be another unforgettable night.
The MLB All-Star Game pins the very best of the National League against the American League as chosen by fans, coaches and managers. The winner of the contest enables home-field advantage for the League’s team representative in the World Series (the grand final of Major League Baseball). 82 Major League Baseball All-Star Games have been played since the first one in 1933. The National League has won 42 and the American League 38 (with two ties).
For more information on the 83rd MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City, click here. Fans around the world can cast votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively on MLB.com, online or via their mobile devices, with the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com ballot. Last year, a record 32.5 million ballots were cast, making the MLB All-Star balloting program the largest of its kind in pro sports.