Festivities of plenty at PNC Park

Festivities of plenty at PNC Park

PITTSBURGH -- Host a crowned-jeweled event, and watch your normally sedate ballpark turn into a who's who of sports and pop culture in general.

The All-Star Game, just like the World Series, isn't all about baseball. It's about pomp and circumstance and celebrities and legends, and everyone is thrown together in one big mishmash of notoriety.

Where else will you see Hall of Famers, Hollywood heavy-hitters and up-and-coming pop stars?

PNC Park, of course.

The pregame festivities began with the Canadian national anthem, played by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The colors were presented by the joint color guard, representing the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy.

Two-time Academy of Country Music Award winner and former "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood belted out a rousing rendition of the American national anthem, which was met with roaring approval from the sellout crowd at PNC Park.

Pirates history was also recognized in full force. Five members of the 1979 World Series championship team gathered at the mound: Kent Tekulve, Bill Madlock, Phil Garner, Manny Sanguillen and Dave Parker. The greatest ovation was directed toward the man who threw out the ceremonial first pitch -- Chuck Tanner, who managed that Pirates championship team as part of a Pittsburgh tenure that spanned from 1977-85.

Tanner was introduced by the public address announcer as someone who is "remembered for his enthusiasm, eternal optimism and his love of baseball. He has represented the Pirates better than anyone."

Tanner also served as Garner's honorary coach during the All-Star Game.

The whole All-Star experience has been overwhelming for Tanner, who said he was brought to tears when Garner called him to ask if he'd join him in the dugout for the MidSummer Classic.

"I'm still on cloud nine," Tanner said.

Also on cloud nine was everyone's favorite former child star Alyssa Milano, who's in town promoting a new clothing line -- "TOUCH" by Alyssa Milano -- geared for female baseball fans who are tired of wearing the same tired old unflattering T-shirts sold in team shops at stadiums across the country.

"It was an idea that was based out of necessity," Milano said. "I'm a huge Dodgers fan, I have season tickets, and I could never find anything cute to wear that wasn't either pink or boxy."

Milano started making her own clothes and quickly learned that using logos of Major League teams was a no-no. So she instead teamed up with Major League Baseball to create a new clothing line. The apparel is expected to be in stores in the spring of 2007.

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