17-07-08 - My 2008 All-Star Game Experience

My 2008 All-Star Game Experience

I really can't put into words what the last week has been like for me. It goes beyond baseball. It goes beyond TOUCH. Sure, it starts with both of those things that I am blessed to have in my life and ends with love and family. In between are the spectrum of memorable moments and a game that blew me away.


As my regular blog readers know from my previous post, my trip actually started last week in Philly where the fans and the Phillies organization took very good care of me at Citizens Bank Park. I always get nervous before a personal appearance for Touch. I think, "Oh God. What if no one shows up and there's only a couple of people?" And to be honest, I'm always surprised when people do show up. So to all who did, thank you. I so appreciate the support. And to all the female fans who have embraced and donned Touch, I promise to continue to put out collections that make you proud to wear the brand. The icing on the very delicious cake was that I was given a ball signed by the entire Phillies team and the Cardinals bullpen signed a hat for me. Hellllloooo? I was so excited -- I squealed. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't add that I made an inspiring new friend named Megan while there. Megan, if you are reading this, it was such a pleasure meeting you and your parents. You are the bee's knees and my thoughts and prayers are with you.


After the game on Thursday we drove to New York and checked into the hotel. I slept like a rock. On Friday, I went shopping with my Aunt Toni. I met her at her store in Soho. It's the Korres store. Korres is a Greek natural beauty line. Guava Body Butter. Yum. We then proceeded to do some sprint shopping in the area. Friday night, Aunt Toni took me to see the musical Spring Awakening (Buzz: Facebook | Myspace ). All I can say is: "Wow." It is such a special show. The cast is unbelievably talented. If you are ever in the New York area you should definitely check it out. There is nothing more inspiring than good theater. On Saturday, I went with my cousin Jesse to see my Nanny Honey. We had fun. Saturday night, the rest of the family arrived from Los Angeles for the All-Star Game festivities. I was happy we were all together. I am very close to my family and due to us being spread out on two coasts it's rare when we are all in the same room. This was the first time in years that we were and I was on cloud nine.


On Sunday, I had an appearance at the DHL All-Star FanFest! Oh God, I love FanFest. If you have never been, it is a huge display of everything baseball. There's vendors, activities, memorabilia, all under one roof. While I was doing my signing, my brother got me a pin with some Yankee Stadium dirt in it!!! I am going to frame it in a shadow box and hang it with my Jackie Robinson at Ebbets Field photo. I thank everyone who stood in line. Thank you, New York.


After the signing, I went back to the hotel, took a little nap (or tried to) and then started getting ready for the MLB.com party. I didn't go to the prom. (No one asked me. True story.) But I would imagine the same prep work applies. Under eye pads, grooming, plucking, applying, combing, painting, spraying, blending, and after what seemed like an eternity, I was ready to go. My parents and Aunt came into our room to see us off and take pictures (really like a prom). My brother, his girlfriend Rachael, my cousin, my boyfriend and I piled into the car and off we went.


Now, let me tell you this... MLB.com knows how to throw a party. There were thousands of people there. All the servers and dancers wore TOUCH, Wyclef Jean performed, DJ Jazzy Jeff was spinning and it was just a great all-around vibe. I co-hosted the party with Joba Chamberlain. Ummmm. I am pretty sure there isn't a nicer human being on the planet. He was such a great guy. The highlight of the entire party was when my cousin realized that Derek Jeter was sitting right next to us. Jesse is a lifelong Yankees fan and to see his face when he realized Derek was five feet away was absolutely priceless. He got so starstruck. My second favorite moment was seeing Joba dance while standing on a chair. That big man has some moves. I said to him, "You are a really great host." He replied, "I have to pick up the slack for you." I was tempted to jump up on the chair next to him and challenge him to a dance-off but, alas, I didn't for fear of the press making more of that moment than what it would have been. I can see the headlines now: "Alyssa and Joba doing the lambada" or something lame like that. I mean, I digress. Have you heard the new one???? That I dated Tom Glavine? I literally met him once briefly in passing. Anyhoo, back on target, we left the party at 3 a.m. when one of my blisters from my shoe started bleeding. Blisters are the barometers of a great party. Many thanks to Noah Garden for allowing me to be a part of such a special night and the blister.


Here are some pictures from the party:


(That's starting AL All-Star catcher Joe Mauer of the Twins in the bottom photo, and the one right above that is me with Joba and Noah.)


On Monday, it was time for the State Farm Home Run Derby. I brought my brother on the field for batting practice. After I was done doing my on-field press, we got a picture on the field. We are dorky. We are getting quite a collection of pictures of the two of us at different ballparks. It's always a surreal moment for me to be on the field. I look around, seeing all my heroes do what they do, and count my blessings that somehow in the midst of life, I am part of this sport in the very, very small way that I am. I know all the sports journalists by name now. We hug when we see each other. The players graciously say "hi" as they walk by. It's such a totally weird and yet amazing experience. Thank you, God.


How about Josh Hamilton's historic first round of the derby? His longest home run was 518 feet, and that was his 18th of a record 28 baseballs that he would hit out that round. And what an amazing story this guy has. To see the New York fans give him a standing ovation gave me goose bumps. That performance was the highlight of the derby for me. When we were ready to leave, the amazing John, Ray and Mike security team (thank you for being so good to me and my family) walked us out. And lo and behold, there (again) was Derek Jeter. I literally bumped right into him. Why is this so special? It was special because my cousin Jesse was with me. Derek was kind enough to take a picture with him. You had to see Jesse during the car ride home. He literally stared at that picture the entire drive. Baseball will make little boys out of grown men. It's one of the things I love so much about sports. It gets you in a place that you didn't think existed anymore.


On Tuesday morning, at 6:15 (ugh), hair and makeup arrived to get me ready for my segment on TOUCH for Fox News' "Fox and Friends." I went on around 8:45 and the gang over there was awesome. I had a great time doing the show.


I went back to hotel for a nap and then it was time to get ready for the game. We listened to sports radio on the way to Yankee Stadium, and the hot topic was Boston's Jonathan Papelbon's supposed comments about feeling he should close the game over Yankees great Mariano Rivera. (I find it really hard to believe that Papelbon would say such a thing, so I am going to choose to believe he was misquoted.) Cory and I were on the field again for batting practice. I did my TOUCH push for media. When it was all said and done, and as I was leaving the field, I turned around and just took a moment to breathe in Yankee Stadium and say a fond farewell to The House That Ruth Built.


Can we talk about the All-Star Game Hall of Fame Celebration (above) for one brief moment? I mean, what can you say? I had 16 friends and family in the crowd and everyone was weepy. It so exceeded any of my expectations. Forty-nine greats took the field for pregame introductions and walked to their former positions where they stood with this year's All-Stars. I was in awe looking out and seeing all those legends together on one field. They included: Hank Aaron, Luis Aparicio, Ernie Banks, Yogi Berra, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, Rod Carew, Gary Carter, Orlando Cepeda, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Reggie Jackson, Ferguson Jenkins, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, exec Lee MacPhail, Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Bill Mazeroski, Willie McCovey, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Gaylord Perry, Cal Ripken Jr., Robin Roberts, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Earl Weaver, Billy Williams, Dick Williams, Dave Winfield and Robin Yount. I am kind of at a loss for words in trying to articulate how utterly moving the ceremony was. It was a perfect tribute to not only baseball, but also to the ballpark itself.


And that game? Russell Martin made the Dodgers organization and fans very proud as the sole representative from the team. He looked like a goalie on a couple of those plays protecting home plate, and he kept the game alive with the tag after Nate McLouth's throw from center (video). A Hollywood writer couldn't have written the game drama any better. A 15-inning battle and Michael Young won it for the AL just as he did a couple of years ago. Yup. It has now been 12 years since the NL won behind then-Dodger Mike Piazza. And even though I am a Dodgers fan and would love to see the NL win an All-Star Game and get home-field advantage for the World Series, I am happy that my goodbye to Yankee Stadium, where I saw my first baseball game, ended in a win for the home team.


At heart, I am still that little girl from Brooklyn walking around the streets holding my parents' hands. I haven't changed much. I look back on my life -- and all that I am blessed to have experienced -- and it truly all seems like a dream. Just like those two words burned into the barrel of Hamilton's bat in the derby: "The Dream." During this trip, walking the same streets of Brooklyn as a 35-year-old woman, being surrounded by my family at Yankee Stadium, it reminded me of those early days.


And so with time, baseball has changed and grown...but at heart, it hasn't changed much either.


Thank you, Yankee Stadium. It was love at first sight.







P.S. Thanks to the readers who defended me and my loyalty to my fans. Despite what this person who posted negative things believes, the first thing I do in the morning is read the comments on this blog and the Celebrity Loop message boards. It's my way of staying connected to the community we have all built here and there. I am always in the house. Pinky swear.


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