Tune in at 8:15 PM ET for the MLB All-Star Game. Callum Hughson will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
Baseball's youthful dynamic duo of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper will be watched by millions on tonight as the All-Star game returns to Kansas City and beautiful Kauffman Stadium for the first time since 1973.
Just 19, Harper is the youngest position player in All-Star history and a key part of the Washington Nationals' emergence as a first-place team. Trout, a year older, is leading the American League in hitting and helping the Los Angeles Angels turn around their season after a sloppy start.
Coincidentally, both came up to the majors leagues on April 28, Harper for his debut and Trout for his return following a pair of stints last year. They are among a record five rookie All-Stars, joined by Texas pitcher Yu Darvish, Oakland closer Ryan Cook and Arizona pitcher Wade Miley.
For now, both will start tonight's game on the bench.
A son of former Minnesota minor league infielder Jeff Trout, Mike was taken by the Angels with the 25th pick on the first round of the 2009 amateur draft. Idolizing Derek Jeter, he played shortstop at Millville Senior High in New Jersey until he was moved to the outfield in his senior year. He understands why he lasted so late in the first round.
Harper had the greater renown, on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was just 16 with the headline "CHOSEN ONE." With sunglasses hanging from the top of his shirt and a neatly cropped beard, he has the big league look. A hint of acne reveals he's still a teenager.
Joining a Nationals team that already has a top youthful star in ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg, Harper has a .282 batting average with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 63 games. The only younger All-Stars were Bob Feller in 1938 and Dwight Gooden in 1984, both closer to their 19th birthdays than Harper.
While Harper is polished following years of interviews, Trout projects a golly-gee demeanor, with close-cropped hair and a beaming smile. After he twice crashed into the center-field fence at Denver's Coors Field last month, teammates Jered Weaver and Dan Haren suggested he turn down the enthusiasm by a few notches.
He's hitting .341 with 12 homers, 40 RBIs and 26 steals in 29 chances.
With the result determining home-field advantage in the World Series for the 10th straight year, the AL manager Ron Washington will start reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander. The NL's Tony La Russa, the first inactive All-Star manager since the AL's Bob Lemon in 1979, chose San Francisco's Matt Cain -- coming off a perfect game last month -- over knuckleballer R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets.
While Trout was an All-Star shoo-in, La Russa appeared reluctant to select Harper and added him on Saturday as a replacement when Miami's Giancarlo Stanton got hurt.
Even the 67-year-old La Russa, who managed his first World Series champions before they were born, appreciates the focus on the new stars.
They hope this is just the first of many All-Star appearances. For every Willie Mays, who played his 24th and final All-Star game in Kansas City, there is a Gooden, who was selected in four of his first five seasons and then flamed out because of injuries and drug use.
Harper and Trout know what they can become. They are the next generation, playing alongside the present.
Detroit's Prince Fielder became only the second player to win multiple titles in the Home Run Derby, thrilling a crowd of 40,351 with eight splash shots into the right-field fountain and beating Toronto's Jose Bautista 12-7 in the final round. Ken Griffey Jr. won it three times.
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American League starter Justin Verlander is expected to work the first two innings, according to pitching coach Mike Maddux. After that, manager Ron Washington and Maddux are planning to use these seven pitchers for one inning each (in order): The Rays' David Price, the Rangers' Matt Harrison, the Angels' Jered Weaver, the White Sox's Chris Sale, the Athletics' Ryan Cook, the Orioles' Jim Johnson and the Rays' Fernando Rodney.
Following Matt Cain, the tentative rotation mapped out by NL manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan is the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez, the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, the Phillies' Cole Hamels, the Mets' R.A. Dickey, the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, the Cardinals' Lance Lynn and then, in the ninth, probably a combo of the Reds' Aroldis Chapman and the Braves' Craig Kimbrel.
The bench players from each team have made their way out onto the field for introductions. Following that, the starting nine for each team will be introduced.
RA Dickey gets a nice round of applause from KC fans.
Royals fans doling out polite applause to players from their divisional rivals. Classy.
They are now doing backflips over Billy Butler. He seems overwhelmed.
@Pete Jacklin He was upset that he didn't get the start, not so much that Cain got it.
Former Royals Melky Cabrera and Carlos Beltran get loud ovations.
Cano is introduced; the boos rain down. He smiles and takes it in stride.
The Canadian and US National Anthems are being played, slowly.
George Brett throws out the ceremonial first pitch to Billy Butler. A strike.
The American League takes the field. Justin Verlander will face Gonzalez, Cabrera and Braun in the top of the 1st.
@Ryan Not a big deal. Fans felt slighted so they're going to boo. That's baseball.
The first pitch is a 97mph fastball down the heart of the plate for a strike. We're finally underway!
Carlos Gonzalez strikes out swinging on a nasty Verlander curveball in the dirt. With one out, former Royal Melky Cabrera will bat.
Cabrera swings at the first pitch and dumps a single into LF. With one on and one out, reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun will come to the plate.
Braun hits a deep drive the other way that lands at the base of the wall in RF. Melky Cabrera scores on the double to give the National League a 1-0 lead.
That's Braun's first hit in 8 All-Star at-bats. With one on and one out, Joey Votto will bat.