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What Do Players Get for Making the All-Star Game?

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Tonight, the best of the best (or at least the most popular names from franchises with social media-savvy fan bases) from Major League Baseball will face off in the not-entirely-meaningless 85th edition of the All-Star Game. Since 2003, the outcome of the All-Star Game has been used to determine home field advantage in the World Series. (Speaking as someone who will argue till I'm hoarse against the Wild Card playoff, I don't mind this. Get at me in the comments.) This is supposed to inspire a greater competitive spirit and encourage participants to give it their all.

All-Stars on contending teams may have cause to try their hardest once they get to the Midsummer Classic, but what motivates them to get there? And I mean that in the most cynical sense. Sure, there's the glory and lasting addition to your Wikipedia page, but what do you really get for an All-Star appearance?

The 2012-2016 Basic Agreement from the Major League Baseball Players Association has this to say:

Each player elected or selected to the All-Star team or as a participant in the Home Run Derby and who attends the event shall receive the following: (a) six complimentary tickets to the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby for use by player guests (players may request fewer complimentary tickets and players may purchase additional tickets for guests in accordance with past practice); (b) first-class air transportation for himself and two guests (to the extent that such expenses are actually incurred); (c) first-class hotel accommodations for himself and two guests (up to two rooms, if necessary) for a maximum of three days; (d) the applicable in-season meal and tip allowance for three days; (e) a $1,000 cash stipend; (f) a gift from the player’s League; and (g) merchandise that is made available by Major League Baseball’s 27 business partners. Players elected or selected to the All-Star team also shall receive a ring and, if they are attending their 5th, 10th or 15th All-Star Game as an All-Star, shall also receive a gift/memento and special recognition. (See Article XV(O)(7).)

While first-class airfare, fancy hotels and lots of swag (not to mention the $1000) sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me, that's hardly enough to get this hypothetical greedy All-Star caliber player—with his All-Star caliber salary—to alter his play. Fortunately, lots of players have additional incentives written into their contract. The bonuses differ by contract, but let's consider what some of this year's All-Stars are making for their appearance.

The Rangers' Adrian Beltre, the Indians' Michael Brantley, and the Tigers' Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera all benefit the most financially, with $100,000 bonuses written into their contracts for making the cut. The Orioles' Adam Jones and Matt Weiters make up the second tier with their $75,000 bonuses. Twenty-six different players will enjoy a $50,000 bonus for making the All-Star Game this year—the most out of any paid incentive bracket. And several others rake in an extra $25,000, $15,000 or $10,000.

But the biggest group of 2014 All-Stars have no monetary incentives included in their contracts. The no-bonus bracket includes such big names (and obvious All-Stars) as Derek Jeter, Clayton Kershaw, and Mike Trout. So rest easy that those athletes—and to be honest, probably the rest of them, too—are really just in it for the recognition. And the merchandise that is made available by Major League Baseball’s 27 business partners, of course.

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History
The First High Five Recorded in the History of Sports
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We don’t quite know who invented the high five—but we can pinpoint the moment it became inextricably linked with sports, which the short documentary The High Five explores below.

On October 2, 1977, Los Angeles Dodgers leftfielder Dusty Baker scored his 30th home run, making the team the first in history to have four players—Baker, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Reggie Smith—with at least 30 homers under each of their belts. Fellow outfielder Glenn Burke was so overwhelmed with joy and pride, he raised his arm and slapped his flat palm against the victorious athlete’s own palm. The moment transformed Baker and Burke into legends.

Sadly, the latter player faced hard times ahead: Burke was gay, and it’s believed that his sexuality prompted team officials to trade him to the Oakland A's the following year. In Oakland, Burke clashed with team manager Billy Martin, then retired early from baseball. Today, Burke is remembered for his charisma and talent—and for transforming a simple gesture into a universal symbol. “To think his energy and personality was the origin of that, that’s a pretty good legacy,” sportswriter Lyle Spencer says in the film.

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11 Outrageous Ballpark Foods
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Major League ballpark food has gone way beyond peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and the all-American hot dog. Now you can enjoy full meals, international cuisine, and eye-popping, gut-busting specialty dishes concocted for maximum publicity. Let's sample some of the outrageous dishes available at baseball games this year.

1. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES // TRIPLE TRIPLE BURGER

Wayback Burger has the ultimate meat-lover's burger at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Watch the Phillies while eating a Triple Triple Burger with nine beef patties and nine slices of cheese. And some veggies, if you can find them.

2. NEW YORK METS // BACON S'MORES ON A STICK

First seen in 2015, Pig Guy still offers S‘mores Bacon on a Stick at Citi Field. That's a slice of thick bacon dipped in marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker crumbs …on a stick. If you so choose, there are other toppings available for your bacon on a stick, like Sriracha maple glaze or salted caramel.

3. SEATTLE MARINERS // OAXACAN CHAPULINES

Served by Edgar's Cantina, the authentic Oaxacan chapulines debuting this year at Safeco Field in Seattle are "toasted grasshoppers with chile-lime salt seasoning." [PDF] They sold out on opening day, and the ballpark moved more grasshoppers in three games than Edgar's home restaurant Poquitos serves in a year!

4. SEATTLE MARINERS // MADE-TO-ORDER ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Not in the mood for toasted grasshoppers? There are plenty of sweet treats available at Safeco Field in Seattle, including the made-to-order deluxe frozen custard cookie sandwiches from Frozen Rope Sandwich Company. As you can see, they come with extras.

5. COLORADO ROCKIES // ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS

In case you don't know what Rocky Mountain oysters are, they're bull testicles that are sliced and deep-fried. Not only are they a huge hit throughout Colorado, they've been a staple at Rockies games for 20 years.

6. TEXAS RANGERS // TEXAS SNOWBALL

New for 2017, you'll be able to try the Texas Snowballs at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. It's made of chopped brisket and barbecue sauce rolled into a ball and covered with funnel cake batter. It is then deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Is it an entree or a dessert? That's your decision.

7. TEXAS RANGERS // CHOOMONGOUS

Choomongous is both a sandwich and a description. This staple at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, is a 24-inch Korean beef sandwich that was crafted in 2014 in honor of Texas Ranger outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. The sandwich is stuffed with Korean-spiced beef, spicy slaw, and Sriracha-infused mayo. Your best advice is to split it with a friend or two.

8. HOUSTON ASTROS // CHICKEN AND WAFFLE CONE

Watch baseball at Minute Maid Park and use only one hand to eat a full dinner. The Chicken and Waffle Cone puts fried chicken fingers and mashed potatoes inside a large waffle cone with honey-mustard sauce on top. The fan favorite is in its third year of satisfying hungry Astros fans.

9. MILWAUKEE BREWERS // INSIDE THE PARK NACHOS

Miller Park in Milwaukee is the home of Inside the Park Nachos, which is basically taco meat on a stick that is rolled in crushed Doritos, fried, and served with cheese sauce, sour cream, and salsa.

10. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS // CHURRO DOG 2.0

Chase Field in Phoenix first served the Churro Dog in 2015. This is not the ballpark hot dog you're used to, but an 1100-calorie dessert. The "dog" is a cinnamon churro, the "bun" is a split Long John donut, and the toppings are frozen yogurt, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and whipped cream. For 2017, the Churro Dog 2.0 comes dressed up in Oreos! The churro is rolled in crushed Oreo cookies, strawberry topping replaces the caramel, and then a generous helping of more Oreo crumbs is sprinkled on top.

11. MINNESOTA TWINS // TRIPLE SAUSAGE BLOODY MARY

Target Field is offering a new Bloody Mary during Twins games. Hrbek's Pub supplies the new Triple Sausage Bloody Mary, a Bloody Mary with deluxe garnishes including three varieties of sausage (brat, Polish, and andouille), in addition to cheese cubes, peppers, and various fruits and vegetables. You can get a variation with a hamburger garnish if you like!

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