Halos host All-Star Week, not just game

Halos host All-Star Week, not just game

ANAHEIM -- Angels owner Arte Moreno, whose club will host the 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday at Angel Stadium, has said he has to pinch himself to make sure he's not dreaming about the Midsummer Classic coming to sunny Southern California.

But now Moreno can stop pinching himself, because the All-Star festivities at Angel Stadium are finally here, beginning with Taco Bell All-Star Sunday featuring the XM All-Star Futures Game and the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game.

And it leads up to Gatorade All-Star Workout Day and the State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday, before the MLB All-Star Game begins Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

"It means a lot for us, because it means we get to showcase our fans and our stadium: what we call our baseball experience," Moreno said. "We like our fans wearing our colors and we promote that a lot, and we like to see the stadium as a sea of red."

It all starts Sunday with the 12th annual XM Futures Game, which features baseball's top Minor League prospects on 25-man rosters for the U.S. Team and the World Team.

The game can be seen live at 6 p.m. ET on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on XM 175.

It also will have plenty of Angels' flair, with former Angels slugger Don Baylor serving as the U.S. Team manager and former Angels manager Cookie Rojas serving as the World Team manager.

Baylor, who spent six seasons with the Angels and won the 1979 American League MVP Award with the club, is certainly excited about returning to Angel Stadium for the Futures Game.

"Heck, yeah, it's exciting, having USA on my shirt," Baylor said. "They didn't have to ask twice, just put it that way."

Rojas, who worked in the Angels' front office and scouted for the club before serving as manager in '88, was similarly excited for Futures Game to kick off Sunday.

"I think it's a great honor that I was asked by Major League Baseball to manage the team," Rojas said. "Having been with the Angels and with the All-Star Game there, it made for a perfect combination. I think it's very nice that I was asked to go back to where I stayed a lot of years."

The game has seen its fair share of its players become solid big leaguers, including Ryan Howard, CC Sabathia, David Wright and most recently Jason Heyward, who participated in last year's event.

This year's version will again feature many of baseball's top prospects, including three from the host Angels, with catcher Hank Conger and outfielder Mike Trout on the U.S. Team and infielder Luis Jimenez on the World Team.

"I'm definitely excited about the Futures Game," Trout said. "It's going to be sick. I wanted to have a good year so I could do this at Angel Stadium, so it gave me the chills when I found out."

And immediately after the Futures Game, the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game will be played and later televised immediately following the State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday on ESPN and ESPN HD.

Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Gary Carter, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor, Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield are expected to play, while celebrities scheduled to participate include Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Tracy Morgan (30 Rock), Billy Bob Thornton (actor), James Denton (Desperate Housewives), Jennie Finch (USA gold medal softball player), Mario Lopez (Extra host) and Maria Menounos (Access Hollywood host).

"The celebrity softball game is always a lot of fun," Angels chairman Dennis Kuhl said. "There's always plenty of talking back and forth so it should be exciting."

And then on Monday, it's time for the Major Leaguers to get involved with Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, followed by the State Farm Home Run Derby, which will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes, ESPN 3D and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, Brewers outfielder Corey Hart, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday, D-backs outfielder Chris Young, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells and Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher are scheduled to participate in the event.

Young and Swisher were the last two added to the event on Thursday and now the field is set for the always entertaining Home Run Derby.

"It could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in a Home Run Derby," Young said Thursday, when he first got the invitation to participate. "So I would love to go out there and enjoy the experience. It's an honor."

And then Disneyland helps kick off the All-Star Game festivities on Tuesday with the MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevy. The event, which begins at 2:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live by MLB Network, is scheduled to feature all Major League Baseball All-Stars as well as the AL and NL All-Star team managers, as they make their way down an approximately 6,000-square-yard red carpet, stretching three quarters of a mile from the corner of South Harbor Blvd. at Convention Way to Disney Way, before continuing down Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland Park.

It all leads up to the 81st MLB All-Star Game, which begins at 8 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

The Midsummer Classic is certainly the crown jewel of All-Star Week in Anaheim, but as Kuhl noted, it's much more than just the All-Star Game at Angel Stadium.

"Not every fan get tickets to the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby, but everyone has an opportunity to see something happening whether it's FanFest, the Futures Game or the Celebrity Softball Game," Kuhl said. "There's something for everybody. That's why I really have to praise MLB for putting on an event, not just a game."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.