SAN FRANCISCO -- All-Star week is about a month away, but San Francisco fans got an early taste of what's to come at the DHL All-Star FanFest Sneak Preview on Saturday.
The Sneak Preview was hard to miss, mostly because of a 12-foot tall baseball sitting in the middle of it all. "The World's Largest Baseball" was too much to resist for some baseball fans strolling The Embarcadero, and upon investigation, they discovered former Giants first baseman J.T. Snow and some tempting batting cages. Snow was on hand to give fielding, hitting and baserunning clinics to the Junior Giants who showed up for the Sneak Peak at 10 a.m.
The preview was just a small sample of what will be at the actual DHL All-Star FanFest that is expected to draw more than 100,000 fans. The FanFest kicks off the All-Star Week and runs from July 6-10 at the Moscone West Convention Center. The enormous baseball will be there and so will historical exhibits, life-size video batting and pitching cages, free autographs from Hall of Famers and baseball legends and youth skills clinics taught by pros like Snow.
Before Snow started instructing, he added his signature next to Will Clark's name on the World's Largest Baseball. The enormous baseball replica was created in '92 and is covered with legendary names and former All-Stars like Ted Williams, Darryl Kyle, Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan and Ben Sheets.
After Snow added his signature he herded about a dozen Junior Giants down to the batting cage for their first lesson.
"Everything happens in your fingertips and a good rule of thumb is to line the knuckles up," Snow instructed the kids.
Snow emphasized grip, stance and being comfortable at the plate. The Junior Giants looked pretty comfortable as they ripped some Wiffle balls hard enough to make those standing by step back nervously.
Next, Snow's pupils grabbed their gloves and took to the grass. The kids rolled grounders to each other while Snow instructed them to keep their gloves down and use both hands.
"I call it the alligator mouth," Snow said. "When you field it the bare hand's on the top, you close in on the ball and bring it to your bellybutton."
The final clinic in baserunning was 12-year old Victoria Pangilinan's favorite part. The Junior Giants' shortstop raced down the makeshift baseline after the imaginary sacrifice fly was caught.
The Sneak Preview ended at 1 p.m., but Snow will be around for more clinics at the actual FanFest in July.
Individual and family pack tickets to the FanFest are available at www.allstargame.com, 1-888-FanFest, and the Giants Box Office. Ticket Prices are $22 for Adults and $17 for children 12 and over, senior citizens and military personnel. Children under the age of 2 are admitted free of charge.
Becky Regan is an associate reporter at MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.