The Phillies, along with Major League Baseball have recently announced that Philadelphia is getting the 2026 MLB All-Star Game. It is about time it comes back to the City of Brotherly Love.
A couple weeks ago I attended yet another Phillies game with a friend and we chatted about the All-Star Game. With Philly having gone so long without hosting, we agreed this just makes perfect sense. Two days after our conversation, it was officially announced.
Although the ASG is purely exhibition, the media attention alone is worth it for any city. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the All-Star game festivities back in 1996 when it was hosted at the Vet. That was, without a doubt, one of the best experiences of my life.
My Dad, as you know from my last post, is the reason I am the sports fan I am today. In 1992 he was lucky enough to have attended Phillies Dream Week in Clearwater. One of the best experiences of his life, something I hope to do in the near future, but back to the All-Star game. Since he attended Dream Week my Dad was invited for a 4-day, 3-night reunion at the All-Star Game. This was a no brainer for him to do and of course he took yours truly along for the ride.
There were so many things that we were going to be able to do on this 4-day trip. One cool thing was that my Dad was going to be able to put his Dream Week uniform on one more time as they played a game at the Wilmington Blue Hens Stadium. As an 11 year old kid being able to see my Dad put on his own Phillies uniform was a site to see. He loved the game of baseball and it was evident when he was out on the field. Because my dad was playing in the game, I was able to sit in the dugout with him. Seeing my Dad in his element in a Phillies Jersey was a dream come true.
As I said, there were many events and parties that we were able to attend being a part of this reunion. One evening we had dinner at none other than Hooter’s Restaurant with the Phillies Manager at the time, Jim Fregosi, as well as their closer at the time, and current analyst for the Phillies Ricky Bottalico. That was a fun night but not the evening that I remember the most when it came to parties.
The next evening, we had dinner at now closed Katmandu. This evenings special guests, I’d say, were, a step up from the previous evenings. There was Philly Legend Larry Bowa. Larry was one of my Dad’s coaches at Dream Week. The other guest we had that night is not a Phillies Legend but, was one of the best base stealers of all time - Lou Brock. Brock had 938 career stolen bases and was the MLB steals king until the one and only Ricky Henderson broke his record. This was a treat to meet a Hall of Famer and a true great of the game.
While sitting down waiting to eat, a child approached Lou and asked him for his autograph. Lou quickly responded with "young man I am not Lou Brock." The kid looked puzzled as Lou pointed to the man sitting to his left. The kid looked puzzled and said "no my Dad said you were Lou Brock!" The guy sitting next to Lou wanted nothing to do with this but Lou kept insisting that the man next to him was Lou Brock. The kid ran back to his Dad to only come back and ask again. This time the real Lou Brock said "Okay, how about this, I will sign your shirt if this guy signs your shirt too." To get the ordeal over with, the guy sitting next to Lou Brock signed the shirt and so did Lou. The young man's fathers came back to Lou "I know this is Lou Brock’s signature but who in the hell is this guy that signed my kid’s shirt?" Lou’s table as well as the table I was sitting at and even Lou himself started to laugh uncontrollably and was by far one of the highlights of the trip.
The best part about this little story is that Lou Brock is an African-American man and the man sitting next to him was white. Lou did make things right and signed about a dozen things for that young man including getting him another shirt that he signed.
The rest of the trip was a time I will never forget. We got to attend the Celebrity All-Star game and that was followed by the Home Run Derby. Barry Bonds defeated Mark McGwire in the final round that year. He was down to his final out trailing by two and he hit home runs on three consecutive pitches to win the derby.
The game, which was won by the National League 6-0, was a sight to see. With the likes of Frank Thomas. Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, and Tony Gwynn just to name a few players. But the one player my Dad made we watch was the great Ironman himself - Cal Ripken Jr. It was late in his consecutive game streak at shortstop and was actually just a week away from him moving over to third base. My Dad made sure that I watched him warm up and I was amazed at what I saw. He was standing there chatting with the other infielders taking ground balls prior to the game and without looking would throw the ball on the money to the first basemen while he continued the conversation with the other players. I stood in amazement at what I was witnessing that entire trip.
Knowing that we are going to be finally seeing another All-Star game in Philadelphia on the Country’s 250th anniversary is going to be an amazing time in the City of Brotherly Love. I know the chatter that is surrounding this is that Philadelphia is going to be the hub of a ton of events that year and I know that this All-Star game is just one big part of it. I am going to be doing my best to be there that summer and hey who knows maybe I will be having my own Dream Week reunion that week too.
Here is to seven long years, hopefully with a couple championships in there, but I know one thing is that the Phillies will not disappoint us when it comes to the Mid-Summer Classic.
Mike Grimm / Grimm's Philly Tales
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