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The balls have a retail value of $149.99, so anyone who manages to snag one at Chase Field will get a little extra value for their effort. Major League Baseball, along with State Farm Insurance, also will donate a combined $18,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for each golden ball that goes out for a homer.


BERNIE PLAYS: Former New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams played the national anthem on his guitar before Sunday’s Futures Game.

Williams won four World Series titles and four Gold Gloves in 16 years with the Yankees and was an accomplished musician even during his playing days. He released his first album in 2003 and put out another in 2009 that was nominated for a Latin Grammy.

Williams, who last played in the majors in 2006, played a flawless rendition of the national anthem on Sunday, receiving a warm ovation.


COOLING TREND: While dashing from hotels to taxis to the enclosed air conditioned comfort of Chase Field, the All-Star experience for fans is a scorching one, but perhaps not as bad as had been forecast.

The temperature cooled to 102 degrees on Sunday afternoon and, thanks to the threat of thunderstorms, might not even reach triple digits on Monday. The forecast high for Tuesday, the date of the All-Star game, is a mere 101. The average high for this time of year is 107.

On July 2, the high in Phoenix hit an incredible 118, a record for that date. That was a dry heat, but then so is a blow torch. Then came the massive dust storm that sent a wall of dirt through the city, a spectacle widely displayed on video across the country.

The lower temperatures bring higher humidity, and still-miserable conditions. Paramedic units were deployed around the ballpark and the nearby FanFest to provide aid for anyone overcome by the heat.


CELEBRITY SOFTBALL: Former Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star Luis Gonzalez had quite an All-Star Sunday.

He started off the day managing the World Team in the Futures game, won MVP honors in the celebrity All-Star softball game after hitting a homer in the “Nationals” 5-3 win and capped it with a homer on his first swing to give his team a win in the home run contest.

“It was a pretty good day,” said Gonzalez, now special assistant to the president and CEO for the Diamondbacks. “What a great experience for the fans in Arizona.”

The All-Star game had its usual bit of hijinks and hamming it for the camera, including Jenny Finch serving up a pitch with a soccer ball to U.S. soccer team captain Carlos Bocanegra.

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