Baseball Fever Sweeps D.C.

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Fans of all ages were seen at the Washington Convention Center for Major League Baseball's Fan Fest. Photo by Bill Starrels.

Major League Baseball’s 89th All-Star Game will commence Tuesday night, July 17, at Nationals Park. Leading up to the big game is a lineup of events at the stadium, the convention center, bars and restaurants, even the Library of Congress.

At the Convention Center, the 2018 Geico All-Star Fan Fest got underway on Friday. A baseball lover’s dream, MLB calls it the “largest interactive baseball theme park in the world.”

“Everyone in attendance has the option of participating in various activities including hitting in batting cages, participating in a virtual reality Home Run Derby competition, running the bases, sliding into second and practicing fielding drills,” according to MLB. “Younger fans were able to stop by the “Rookie League” area and practice throwing at targets and hitting off tees. When not taking part in the physical activities, fans could take pictures with the World Series trophy, take a walk through the Minor League and Negro League exhibits, purchase autographed jerseys or baseball cards of past and current players and even get their own Topps baseball card printed.”

Fan Fest runs from 9 a.m to 8 p.m., except for Tuesday, when it ends at 7 p.m.

There’s also Play Ball Park — today and tomorrow — open at 10 a.m. It is at the lot northeast of Nats Park at First and M Streets SE, offering baseball programs, games and softball, too.

On Monday at 8 p.m. at Nats Park, there’s the always entertaining Home Run Derby, where sluggers pop out the homers. This leader of the pack is Bryce Harper. Gates open at 5 p.m.

The main event — Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game — will begin to swing the bats at 8 p.m. (gates open at 4:30 p.m.) at Nats Park. The game will be televised on Fox.

Meanwhile, the Library of Congress has just opened the exhibition “Baseball Americana,” which “features items from the Library of Congress collections and those of its lending partners to consider the game then and now — as it relates to players, teams, and the communities it creates. Although baseball has stayed true to many of its customs, it has also broken with tradition through the invention, competition, and financial interests that still make it the most played sport in the country.”

Ryan Zimmerman signs autograph for Nats fan. Photo by Bill Starrels.

The last time Washington, D.C., hosted an All-Star Game it was 1969 at RFK Stadium. Counting this year, the nation’s capital has hosted the game five times. Photo by Bill Starrels.
Photo by Bill Starrels.
Photo by Bill Starrels.
Photo by Bill Starrels.
Photo by Bill Starrels.
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