The participants in the Ban Johnson Baseball League All-Star Game on Sunday morning at Kauffman Stadium not only had the distinction of being named an elite player in the leaguer, but they relished the opportunity to play at Kauffman Stadium.
For many of the amateur baseball players, that meant competing on the same field where they’ve watched some of their idols.
It was a game between two squads — the B’s all-stars and the J’s all-stars. Ian Barker, who doubled in a run for the B’s and plays outfield for the Midwest Orioles, pointed to the center field wall and recalled Carlos Beltran climbing that wall to rob a batter of a home run.
“It’s unreal being out here,” Barker said.
Tyler Cox, the Ban Johnson All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player, said the fans created a fun atmosphere.
“For this type of game, it was a good fan base,” Cox said. “Good experience, had fun out there.”
The J’s manager — Will Meier — said the game allows for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the players.
“It’s always fun,” Meier said. “It is for the players because most of these guys have never been here before. But even us, year after year, it’s fun that the Royals let us do this.”
The B’s manager, Kevin Shaw, managed his 25th all-star game this year, but “it never gets old.” He said he had more fun as a player at the all-star game because of the pressures of making sure players get in the game so their families can see them.
Chris Pinne, an outfielder for Seabord, said that when he was in the outfield, he realized how vast the stadium felt. He added that hitting was also much different than what he’s used to.
“I had never really had a backdrop like this when I was hitting,” Pinne said.
Barker, meanwhile, took Snapchats so all of his friends could see him in the Kauffman Stadium atmosphere.
“Oh yeah,” Barker said. “I ran out to centerfield and took a selfie with the scoreboard.”