A few idle thoughts while wondering what type of extravaganza the Kansas City Royals will host when the 2012 Major League All-Star Game comes to Kauffman Stadium.

A few idle thoughts while wondering what type of extravaganza the Kansas City Royals will host when the 2012 Major League All-Star Game comes to Kauffman Stadium.

I was at the 1973 All-Star Game and will never forget a moment while sitting in the lobby at Crown Center in downtown Kansas City.

Many former All-Star greats were invited back for the game, and St. Louis Cardinals legend Dizzy Dean sat in the lobby and regaled fellow Hall of Famers, All-Stars and a few lucky fans with tales of playing with the Cardinals’ famous Gashouse Gang.

Dean, who was as well known for his colorful commentary on nationally broadcast games as he was for his exploits on the mound, had been invited back along with several former All-Star greats to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the game.

Dean was famous for making the comment, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.”

Dean made that bold statement back in 1934 when he predicted he and his brother Paul would combine for 45 wins.

On Sept. 21, Dean pitched a three-hit shutout against the Brooklyn Dodgers and Paul followed with a no-hitter. It was Dizzy’s 27th win and Paul’s 18th.

Dizzy had delivered on his bold promise.

“After that game,” Dizzy said in the Crown Center lobby that day, “I told my brother, I’da pitched a no-hitter too if I’da known you was gonna pitch one.”

Hall of Famers Lefty Gomez and Charlie Gehringer howled with laughter.

That same year, Dizzy promised that he would strike out Vince DiMaggio, the brother of Yankee legend Joe, four times in one game.

“I struck him out his first three times up, but he hit a pop-up behind the plate on his fourth at-bat,” Dizzy said. “I yelled to my catcher, ‘Drop it! Drop it!’ And he did.”

And Dean struck out DiMaggio on the next pitch.

Dizzy finished with 30 wins that year, becoming the last National League pitcher to accomplish that feat.

I doubt if I get to experience anything like that in 2012, because the game has changed. I was a sophomore at Northwest Missouri State University in 1973 and my dad got All-Star Game tickets from his boss at the Gas Service Company.

I knew a group of Hall of Famers were in town for the game, but I never thought I’d be sitting with a group of them listening to the tall tales of Dizzy Dean.

The game was memorable because it was the last All-Star Game for Willie Mays, the man many consider the greatest player of his generation.

“I put Willie Mays on a pedestal when I was a young player,” said Royals Hall of Famer John Mayberry, who represented the Royals in that All-Star classic. “And there I was, on the same field with him.

“It was hard not to go over and ask him for his autograph. I’d had a good year in 1972 and I wanted to follow it up with another good year in 1973 because I knew the All-Star Game was coming to Royals Stadium.

“When I was picked to play in the game I was like a little kid. I was playing with Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench, and of course, Willie Mays. To this day, it’s one of my greatest memories.”

I wasn’t on the field. No, I was sitting in the nose-bleed section way, way out in left field. But I didn’t care. My baseball card collection was coming alive right before my eyes. And like John Mayberry, it was one of my greatest memories of my teenage years.

Corporate hot shots and Major League Baseball sponsors will get the lion’s share of the 2012 All-Star tickets. However, if you have any chance to attend the game, do it. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

Today, it’s a spectacle with red-carpet arrivals and a blend of A-listers that will make it the hottest ticket in town.

I feel like a little kid just writing about it.

Geez, when was the last time something that’s two years off in the future actually gave you goose bumps?

I don’t want to wish my life away, but 2012 can’t get here soon enough to satisfy the little kid in me that wants to go to the All-Star Game.