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Freese Voted To All-Star Game; LaRussa/Baker Drama Continues; All-Star Week Festiviites

>>2012 MLB All-Star Festivities Begin

(Kansas City, MO)  --  Baseball fans from around the world will begin descending on Kansas City for All-Star Weekend.  It all begins this morning with the start of MLB All-Star Fan Fest at the Kansas City Convention Center.  The interactive "baseball theme park" takes place inside Bartle Hall with interactive games, exhibits, trivia and clinics and runs through the All-Star Game itself on Tuesday.  Sunday features the Futures Game with top prospects divided into teams representing the U.S. and the World.  It's followed by the Celebrity Softball Game, which includes the likes of actor Jon Hamm of "Mad Men," "American Idol" alums David Cook and Haley Reinhar, "Modern Family" star Eric Stonestreet, "Desperate Housewives" actor James Denton and Chord Overstreet from "Glee."  Hall of Fame players such as George Brett, Ernie Banks, Rollie Fingers, Rickey Henderson, Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield will also be part of the action.  A fireworks spectacular will cap off the night.

On Monday, top sluggers from the American and National Leagues take aim at the Kauffman Stadium fences in the annual Home Run Derby.  Defending champion Robinson Cano of the Yankees is captain of the AL squad and will be joined by the Tigers' Prince Fielder, Blue Jays' Jose Bautista and Angels' Mark Trumbo.  Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is the NL captain and picked the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran, Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez and Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton to be his teammates.

The 83rd MLB All-Star Game is the main event and is set for Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern.  The best players from the American and National Leagues meet in the annual exhibition, with the winner determining which league will have home-field advantage in the 2012 World Series.  Current Tigers and former Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder hit a three-run homer to power the NL to a 5-1 win over the AL in last year's game in Phoenix.  It was the second straight win for the Senior Circuit, which had not won in 13 straight years prior to 2010.  The National League leads the American League 42-38-and-2 in the all-time series.

>>La Russa: Reds' Baker Betrayed Me

(Undated)  --  National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa says he feels "betrayed" by Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker.  The retired St. Louis Cardinals skipper told the "Dan Patrick Show" that Baker has "stabbed him in the back" and he "won't soon forget it" after Baker suggested La Russa had malice in not picking Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips for next week's All-Star Game in Kansas City.  Baker said earlier this week that he feels bad blood between the Reds and Cardinals after a bench-clearing brawl two years ago may have impacted La Russa's decision.  La Russa said it's not easy picking the rosters and deserving players get left off every year.

>> Rangers' Darvish, Cards' Freese Win Final Fan Voting

Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese are headed to the All-Star game after fans voted them into Tuesday's showcase in Kansas City.

Darvish, 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA, is the eighth Rangers player on the AL team managed by Texas' Ron Washington. He beat out four other pitchers: Chicago's Jake Peavy, Baltimore's Jason Hammel, Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton and the Angels' Ernesto Frieri.

Freese emerged from an NL field that included Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn, Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper and Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill. Freese is batting .285 with 13 homers.

Atlanta's Chipper Jones had been in the running before he was named as an injury replacement for Matt Kemp.

The online balloting for the final spots ended Thursday.

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