Civic leaders may have been fantasizing that the All-Star Game would be one big commercial for Kansas City, but Fox’s broadcast was mostly about the game.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum got a nice taped piece in the pre-game show as well as an endorsement from Fox announcer Joe Buck: “If you visit Kansas City, it is a must.” The broadcast included a gorgeous blimp’s-eye view of the sun slipping behind the city skyline, as well as a few other beauty shots — a pit man tending meat at an unidentified barbecue joint, the Union Station rail yards, the 12th Street and Vine marker, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
But no Country Club Plaza towers, no “Scout” statue, no big birdies at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
As usual for most any game, an announcer did praise the ballpark — Kauffman Stadium ranks as “one of the most beautiful” in the country, Buck proclaimed. But the All-Snore Game chitchat was mostly about the blowout at hand, unless it was about a sponsor or a Fox program. (We learned that the “New Girl” bus tour stopped by Kauffman Stadium, but it was cast member Lamorne Morris, not star Zooey Deschanel, on hand to gamely pose for pics with fans.)
The broadcast featured snippets from several versions of the Leiber and Stoller standard “Kansas City” — you know, as in crazy little women. In a taped segment, the song was introduced by Arthur Adams, a bluesman from Los Angeles via Tennessee. Most of the time, Fox didn’t tell the audience who was singing it.Other moments:
• A couple of times Buck commented on how steamy it was here (91 degrees at 7 p.m.), which proves he wasn’t in town last week.
• A grinning Robinson Cano, the guy Kansas City fans love to hate, starred alongside a few other players in a taped snippet on, yes, smiling, set to Barry Manilow warbling “Can’t Smile Without You.”
• The late, great Buck O’Neil got shout-outs, as did former Royals shortstop Freddie Patek — the shortest All-Star player ever.