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2011 MLB All-Star Game: City Of Phoenix Shines Brightest

I just got back from the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, and all I can say is one thing: wow.

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The City of Phoenix delivered in every possible way. From reliable public transportation (Valley Metro had a cavalcade of light rails on the track as the game ended) to a fan-centric, friendly environment, the All-Star Game went off without a hitch.

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Over the past few years, Chase Field was upgraded for this exact occasion, with a huge HDTV installed in center field and the APS Solar Pavilion built outside for fans looking for a respite from the hot summer sun.

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From the heartfelt remembrance of the tragic shooting in Tucson in January to the wild video rendition of Smash Mouth's "All Star," there was plenty to enjoy before the game even started. Jordin Sparks was lovely and Michelle Branch did an admirable job while singing "God Bless America."

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Oh, and the baseball game was pretty interesting, too -- the National League gets home field, so our Diamondbacks might be given the opportunity to play four games at home during the World Series! Hey, it's fun to dream, right?

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The "Value Menu" was still in effect for the All-Star Game, and fans were able to enjoy $1.50 hot dogs and $4 beers. Satisfied fans are likely to come back to Chase Field to catch the pennant race in the coming weeks after such a positive experience at the ballpark.

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Even as the game let out and the crowds poured into the streets of Phoenix, the light rail was capable of handling the situation. I quickly entered a car and was lucky enough to gain access to a seat.

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Mother Nature complied as well this weekend, keeping temperatures at 100 degrees or below for the majority of the events. This allowed the air conditioning to kick into overdrive, keeping fans legitimately cool during the game.

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Phoenix just gave itself a shot in the arm, proving to the nation that it can be a first-class city full of interesting events and reasonable weather patterns. Congratulations to those who planned this, because it was flawlessly executed.