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MLB All-Star Week in Minnesota a rousing success

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In American sports: the NBA is a soap opera, the NFL is a highly viewed television show, but baseball actually matters.

"It's a thinking man's game," said San Diego Padres All-Star closer Huston Street, "it's a calculation game.

"But it's also the perfect social event to come and just sit with friends and family wherever, however and have a beer, have a dog and just enjoy yourself."

Especially in Minnesota, who made their baseball team the symbol of the unification of the Twin Cities. This year, the MLB All-Star Week festivities was in Minneapolis, and the people got to showcase their "Minnesota nice" in front of the entire nation.

"It's the perfect size city where it's not too spread out, it' not too small," said NL All-Star 1B Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs. "I knew it was a great city but just the way the fans have responded to all of this has just been great."

"Minneapolis is just one of those cities where it's clean, it's beautiful, the people couldn't be more friendly," Street said.

Since AL All-Star catcher Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, he had the extra time to go around town and play food critic with Minneapolis' culinary creations.

"There's a steakhouse -- I can't remember the name -- by the stadium [that serves] steak and sushi, Wieters said. "How can you combine those two?"

From start to finish, the MLB All-Star week was some of the best that baseball had to offer. The Futures Game on Sunday showcased some of professional baseball's brightest futures. Some of them didn't have to wait until their big league callups before commanding a little star power.

“I saw [Cubs top prospect] Kris Bryant in the airport getting escorted out by police because he was being swarmed by fans,” said Mariners prospect and Futures participate D.J. Peterson.

The Home Run Derby featured a new bracket style head-to-head field that also included mother nature as a contestant. Despite Jose Bautista hitting 10 first-round home runs and Yoenis Cespedes winning the derby for the second straight time, Miami Marlins All-Star Giancarlo Stanton stole the show with six mammoth home runs including one that went to the upper-upper deck for over 500 feet.

He would've won the entire contest had he not been sabotaged by an hour and 20 minute layoff due to "winning a bye", which lead to hitting zero homers compared to Todd Frazier who advanced into the final stage with just one home run against Stanton.

“I can't believe I goose-egged the second round," Stanton said with a smile that masks his embarrassment.

Legend holds that the off and on rain patterns were due to Colorado Rockies All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon absorbing the rain with his beard.

Blackmon denied the myth: "My beard doesn't really like the rain but it is kind of an altering beard. It protects my chin. So my chin was fine."

But his he really just fooling us?

"I think he is," Street said of his former teammate. "I think he's both serious, but he's also Charlie."

Maybe Blackmon is just the American version of the most interesting man in the world. The legend of Charlie Blackmon grows in constant with his divine beard.

"Blackmon's beard probably gives us the advantage," Street said prior to the All-Star Game on Tuesday. "That's like lumberjack American."

The legend known as Charlie Blackmon stole the show in the All-Star red carpet parade when he combined his beard with a shirt made out of the American flag.

"I'm going to go ahead and say that the American flag/stars & stripes shirt does give the National League an advantage," Blackmon said prior to Tuesday's ASG. "For no reason alone other than it's so American."

So American that the very sight and presence of the shirt and all its glory gave the so-called American League players the dirty pants going into the game?

"Exactly," he exclaimed!

Unfortunately for the National League, the legend of Blackmon was no match for the legend that is Derek Jeter, who was not going to be denied in his last ASG appearance.

Everything went right for the 20-year great. In fact, his leadoff double off Adam Wainwright sparked conspiracy everywhere in the social media realm.

"I'm glad you brought that up," said NL All-Star manager Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals, "because I think, I know that has been completely blown out of proportion and taken out of context. Anybody that knows anything about this guy knows that he's one of the greatest competitors that played this game in a long time."

In the forth inning, Jeter was removed from the game ceremoniously while the ever-so-famous song "New York, New York" filled the air.

"I thought it was great," Jeter said. "I didn't know what was going to happen. My back was turned and I heard [Robinson] Cano yelling -- usually when he yells I ignore him. And then I saw [Alexi] Ramirez come out. So it was a wonderful moment that I am always going to remember."

Mike Trout of the Angels drove Jeter home in the first inning with a triple, exactly how MLB Network's Greg Amsinger drew it up. He then drove in another run to win the ASG MVP Award. And like everyone else in attendance, it was an unforgettable experience.

"Chills, goosebumps, you name it," Trout said. "Everything was running through my body."

This was the perfect All-Star Game. The only piece remaining was have Twins closer Glen Perkins -- born and bred in the Twin Cities -- get the save with fellow Twins All-Star Kurt Suzuki there to catch him in front of the beloved home fans.

"I wasn't fighting back tears," Perkins said, "but it was an overwhelming moment to hear. Kind of the build-up as I walked out of the pen and then it got louder and louder, and then I was jogging in. You know, then I think after I got the first or second out they started chanting.

And those are things that don't happen during the regular season and it was a moment like that where you realize why you play the game and what makes the game so fun. And it's the fans in the stands."

Cincinnati has their work cut out for them next year.

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