SAN FRANCISCO -- It takes a lot to get to the All-Star Game. You have to sign that first professional contract. Then you have to make it up to the Major Leagues. Then you have to rise to an elite caliber at the highest level. After all that, you still have to convince savvy fans to vote you onto the roster or a rainmaker group of uniformed peers.
Only at that point can you finally claim the status of All-Star. So after all of that, you don't want to take a taxi to the big game.
Major League Baseball continues a popular new tradition on Tuesday with the third annual MLB All-Star Game Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet. Starting at noon local time, an hour-long parade of Chevy Silverados and Impalas will carry the American and National League All-Stars, managers and their families down The Embarcadero and King Street toward AT&T Park for the night's 78th All-Star Game.
"It's to get people closer to the players they love," said Tim Brosnan, executive vice president, business, for Major League Baseball. "How much closer can you get than four feet away? I'd say it's kind of a combination of red carpet and Mardi Gras. [It is] fun for everyone involved."
In addition to current All-Star players and their families, 2007 Hall of Fame inductees Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. also will ride in the parade.
The event is free and open to the public. Fans can line up all along the street. Limited bleacher seating is available in front of AT&T Park.
Last year's parade route was memorable for crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge on the way to PNC Park in Pittsburgh -- and for being led by a truck carrying the Clemente family. "Over the top," Brosnan called that one. This year's parade will start at Pier 30/32 (The Embarcadero at Brannon) and will run southwest along The Embarcadero toward AT&T Park. The parade route ends at Willie Mays Plaza at the corner of King Street and Third Street.
The Red Carpet is, indeed, a red carpet. It starts at Townsend and King Streets, and runs the remaining length of the parade route. The fabric stretches for more than 2,000 feet and is made of 100% recyclable material. In fact, "green" is very much a theme for an event known for its redness. The parade vehicles include 65 2007 Chevrolet Silverados and two Chevrolet Impalas, and all vehicles have FlexFuel capability -- which means they can burn E85 ethanol, unleaded Gasoline, or a combination.
For fans who want to get close to the All-Stars -- especially those fans in the area who don't have a ticket for the Midsummer Classic -- this has become as much of a treat as all those Baby Ruths that the players and their families throw into the throng that turns out to watch the vehicles carrying all of those Boys of Summer.
"It was unbelievable," said Pittsburgh infielder Freddy Sanchez, who rode in last year's parade at home and will ride in this one into AT&T Park. "Just getting in the car with my family and seeing the fans and getting the ovation they gave us was truly incredible."
FOX Sports Net will produce and air the MLB All-Star Game Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet nationwide from 7-8 p.m. ET as a lead-in to the live national network broadcast of the All-Star Game.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.