Stars shine down upon Comerica
Celebs, former Tigers greats attend pregame festivities
DETROIT -- As is the case with any Major League Baseball spotlight event, the scene prior to Tuesday's All-Star Game at Comerica Park was buzzing with stars from both the baseball business and Hollywood.
From batting practice to the pregame ceremony, the sellout crowd at the Detroit Tigers' downtown stadium was not deprived of the pomp and circumstance that always accompanies the most-watched exhibition game of the year.
Several recognizable faces appeared at batting practice, including Tigers great Cecil Fielder, who played in Detroit from 1990-96. Former Angels owner Jackie Autry made an appearance, as did singer Michael McDonald and boxing historian Burt Sugar.
Legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who retired as the voice of the Tigers after 55 years in 2002, attended batting practice and was set to call the fourth inning on ESPN Radio.
Several holdovers from Sunday's celebrity softball game reappeared during the parade that transported the All-Star players to the red carpet ceremony that took place earlier on Tuesday. Actors Jon Lovitz ("A League of Their Own"), James Denton ("Desperate Housewives") and Richard Schiff ("The West Wing"), along with political consultant James Carville, drove Chevrolets that carried the players to the ballpark.
The pregame ceremony began with the National and American League reserves lining up on the first- and third-base lines, respectively. The cheers and boos were as expected. Big cheers cascaded upon AL All-Star coach Alan Trammell, who not only manages the Tigers but is also one of the most popular players in the history of the Detroit franchise. Even bigger cheers went to catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, the Tigers' lone All-Star representative.
A smattering of boos were directed toward Yankees Gary Sheffield and Mariano Rivera, and even louder boos went to Rangers lefty Kenny Rogers, who participated in the All-Star festivities despite the recent controversy surrounding his June 29 altercation with a pair of television cameramen.
The starters of both teams emerged onto the field via a red carpet, surrounded by dry ice at their feet and sparklers on either side of the entrance. The NL starters were first, followed by the AL.
Colors of both Canada and the United States were presented, followed by the Canadian national anthem. The announcer asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the recent terror attacks in London, and then the British national anthem was played. Finally, Motown recording artist Brian McKnight performed "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Hundreds of silver streamers fell from the upper deck to cap the pregame ceremonies. The final order of business drew the largest cheers from the crowd when Tigers legends Willie Horton and Al Kaline threw out the ceremonial first pitches.
Kaline joined the Tigers organization in 1953 as an 18-year-old, having never played in the Minors, and he played 22 seasons on his way to his Hall of Fame induction in 1980. Kaline hit .297 in his career with 399 home runs, 1,583 RBIs and 3,007 hits.
Horton, a Detroit native, signed with the Tigers at age 18 and played 14 of his 18 seasons with his hometown team. He hit .273 in his career with 325 homers. Horton was a four-time All-Star.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.