- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 3, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - On a piece of metal scaffolding beyond the left-field wall at Kauffman Stadium, construction workers bolted together a table under a sweltering midday sun, the temperature tickling triple digits and sweat pouring off their brows.

Along the baselines, groundskeepers laid stencils and began to paint All-Star game logos, while other workers hurriedly connected miles of cable, built camera platforms, hung banners and spruced up every corner of the Kansas City Royals‘ home for its night in the national spotlight.

The anticipation is almost over: The All-Star game is merely a week away.

“People haven’t been here in a long time, because no postseason games have been played here since 1985,” Royals vice president Mike Swanson said Tuesday. “We want people to say, `Wow, they did a heck of a job and we want to go back.’ That’s what we want.”

That’s what the staff of the Royals _ along with untold numbers of construction workers _ has been doing since the club left town for an extended road trip last week.

There are entire sets to build for Fox, which has the television rights for Tuesday night’s All-Star game. There are bleachers to build for overflow press, and air conditioning to run to a giant, walk-in soda can in right field, where sponsor Pepsi is giving some fortunate fans an opportunity to see the festivities from a most unique vantage point.

Extra photo bays are being constructed for the roughly 75 still photographers documenting every aspect of the game. Electrical and internet cables are being run for some 500 reporters who will be covering the All-Star game on deadline for electronic and print publications.

All told, there will be 2,556 credentials issued to reporters, technicians, officials and others associated with the event, second only to the 2008 All-Star game at the old Yankee Stadium.

“When we got the game, we thought this would be one of the least-covered All-Star games,” said Swanson, pointing out that the economy was in the doldrums just a few years ago, and the Olympics and November elections will financially strap many news organizations this year.

“That has turned out to be about as far from the truth as you can get.”

This is the third time Kansas City has rolled out the red carpet for baseball’s elite.

The city hosted the game at the old Municipal Stadium in 1960, back when the Athletics were in town. The A’s moved to Oakland in 1968, and the Royals came into being the following year, and new owner Ewing Kauffman _ the namesake of the stadium _ was rewarded for his desire to keep the game in Kansas City by hosting the 1973 All-Star game at his newly constructed ballpark.

Kauffman Stadium recently underwent a $250 million renovation in part to lure the All-Star game back to Kansas City, and commissioner Bud Selig officially awarded the game on June 16, 2010.

Two years of whirlwind preparations are about to come to fruition.

“I’m looking forward to next week, the All-Star game and all the events we have,” Selig said during a conference call Monday. “We’re having a remarkable year on the field, and frankly off the field, as we’re going over 37 million in attendance.”

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