CLEVELAND-- Baseball's biggest stars will converge on Progressive Field and three of the biggest stars in Tribe history will serve as Cleveland's official ambassadors for the All-Star Game.
The last time Cleveland hosted the Midsummer Classic was 1997 when Sandy Alomar Jr.'s home run earned him the MVP award. Now, 22 years later, Alomar is joining longtime teammate Jim Thome and three-time All-Star Francisco Lindor as ambassadors.
Their first act in their new role was surprise young players from the Cleveland RBI program Tuesday afternoon. The baseball and softball stars of tomorrow played a pick-up game in right field when the Indians legends jumped in.
Since the kids already had a shortstop, Lindor lined up at second base.
"They're the future of the game and seeing the smiles on their faces, helping them believe that it is possible to be a professional baseball player, it's special," Lindor said.
Thome reminded everyone why he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, blasting a ball over the outfielders' heads, before Alomar showed off his swing.
The ambassadors are thrilled that Cleveland is back in the MLB spotlight.
"Cleveland is a great sports town and it's going to show it that week," Thome said. "The last few years, you've seen, with the playoffs, being in the World Series, that's similar to what we had here in the 90s. It'll be a great week for family and tradition, ultimately what it's all about."
Closer to the game, the ambassadors will be unofficial tour guides and help with clinics at the Play Ball Park at the Huntington Convention Center.
All-Star festivities start on July 5 leading up to the game on July 9.