Major League Baseball's All-Star Game has been a chronic disappointment for years. To goad blasé superstars into breaking a sweat, and the rest of us into watching, baseball (in collusion with Fox) is now dangling the glittering prize of home-field advantage in the World Series for the winning side. Thus a gimmicky exhibition is rendered meaningful through further gimmickry: "this time it matters," as Fox reminds us every twelve seconds. Sad, really -- doesn't anybody here know how to care about this game?
The motivation of the players in the Frontier League All-Star Game, on the other hand, is beyond reproach. These guys are overlooked kids or last-chance vets fighting for their baseball lives. If the independent circuit is going to serve up any more big leaguers like Jason Simontacchi or Morgan Burkhart, chances are they'll be at GMC Stadium (I-255 halfway between I-64 & I-270 in Sauget) at 7 p.m. And what better time for the Gateway Grizzlies to host the midsummer showcase? Led by pitcher Scott Patterson and now-departed slugger Horace Lawrence III (picked up by the Yankees' organization), the East Side squad has been battling for first place all season while the rival River City Rascals have languished in the cellar. Get there early for a pre-game home run derby and autograph session. (Tickets are $8 for reserved seats and $5 for lawn seats; call 618-337-3000 or see www.gatewaygrizzlies.com for more information.) -- Jason Toon
Over the Hill
And better than ever
Most adults look back on the lazy summers of their youth with a sense of wistful loss. Three months with nothing to do but sleep in, eat snow cones and cringe every time your mother snarls "are you going to waste the entire summer inside watching TV?" seems so far away now. Who knew Mom would be right? Wouldn't you trade the fluorescent lights and movable walls of the workplace for one more carefree afternoon outside? Then quick -- while no one is looking -- on the next trip from the parking lot to the cubicle, detour to the nearest hill and roll down it. At the bottom, flecked with itchy grass and dirt, you'll regain a piece of a summer you frittered away many paychecks ago. -- Paul Friswold
The Blair Witch & the Boy Scout
Cell phones. GPS. A know-it-all spouse. Getting lost isn't what it used to be.
If you're in the mood for a good ol'-fashioned Hansel and Gretel-esque romp in the woods until you find civilization, grab your compass and bread crumbs and head out to the St. Louis Orienteering Club's next topographical competition at Carondelet Park (I-55 at Loughborough Avenue in South St. Louis).
Orienteering, for those who weren't in Boy or Girl Scouts, involves walking or running from station to station, usually in the woods. Each station offers a set of directions to the next, and a special rubber stamp or hole-punch that you use to prove you've been there. It's a race that rewards smarts and compass skills, along with speed.
The cost for getting lost is $8 for adults and $6 for youth. Registration begins at 8 a.m.; the races start at 9 a.m. For more information, hunt down Rob Wagnon at 314-952-2308 or visit sloc.us.orienteering.org. -- Tom R. Arterburn
Feeding the Birds
If you find a baby bird hopping around, should you try to put it back in its nest? What do you do if your cat drops a half-dead robin at your feet? The people at Wild Bird Rehabilitation know exactly what to do, and if you call 314-984-9116 they'll tell you. Better yet, help them buy birdseed and cage liners by competing in their trivia benefit, at 7 p.m. at the Manchester Elks Lodge (2242 Mason Lane, $10-$15, advance tickets only at 314-550-7475 or [email protected]). -- Byron Kerman