KANSAS CITY -- Ryan Braun has done this five straight summers, starting with a sweet ride up the Avenue of the Americas in New York's midtown in 2008. On Tuesday afternoon, the Brewers' left fielder climbed into the back of a Chevrolet Silverado as part of the All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet, and this time he set out onto a fan-lined parade route through Country Club Plaza to say hello to fans on the way to the 83rd Midsummer Classic.
"It's a lot of fun," Braun said. "It's a tremendous experience for us as players. You realize how fortunate we are to be here and have the support that we have from the fans, so it's cool to give back a little bit. For them to get to see us outside of our baseball uniforms, and I know it's been a really enjoyable experience in years past, I'm definitely looking forward to the event today."
Major League Baseball threw its July parade for the eighth consecutive year with a staging area at the Intercontinental Hotel. A red carpet stretched half a mile from the corner of Ward Parkway and Wornall Road to Nichols Road and Central Street inside the Plaza.
It all started with a roar when Hall of Famer and Royals 13-time All-Star George Brett and wife Leslie waved to the crowd from the back of a Chevrolet Silverado. He served as Grand Marshal, just one of the many functions handled by this week's All-Star Ambassador.
Then it got even louder when Royals first baseman Billy Butler passed by in his truck. Robinson Cano rode with popular-everywhere Derek Jeter, his teammate.
"It was fun to see Billy Butler, and to hear him get the big round of applause," said Jane Fee of Kansas City, watching behind the barricades at the start along with husband Mike. "It was great. He got a big round of applause and he was very deserving of that.
"It's fun to see the players up-close and personal, and to also observe them sharing this with their families. It's very special. ... Also, when you see them on TV, it's so different than to see them in person."
AL manager Ron Washington and NL manager Tony La Russa led their teams down the carpet in Camaro convertibles. MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds and Alanna Rizzo hosted the event's national telecast.
"The MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet is a unique and unforgettable way for baseball fans in Kansas City to take part in All-Star Week," said Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president of business. "Thanks to the continued support of Chevrolet, we are able to give our fans the chance to get an up-close view of their favorite All-Stars and take away a lasting All-Star memory."
Rangers closer Joe Nathan rode in the first such parade in 2005 at Detroit, and Tuesday was his fourth truck ride on red carpet.
"It's actually pretty cool to have my kids in there and have them experience it, too," Nathan said. "It's nice to get a chance to interact with the fans a little bit and have the kids get a little taste of being out there in front of the crowd, so it's pretty sweet."
With the outcome of the All-Star Game again determining which league will have home field advantage in the World Series, the World Series Trophy crafted by Tiffany & Co. brought up the rear. After all, it is always the last thing you celebrate in the baseball season.
"Chevrolet customers love baseball, and events like the MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show give us a chance to help our customers connect with their favorite MLB players," said Phil Caruso, Chevrolet national promotions manager.
For the second year in a row, a team of fashion and beauty experts were on hand to dress a group of players' wives exclusively for the Red Carpet. Fashion house Tory Burch provided dresses and parade attire, and Bobbi Brown make-up artists were on-site prior to the parade for beauty treatment and application.
"Of course, it's part of the All-Star Week," Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said. "The fans, you can wave at 'em and have a good time."
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.