Later, at the Hair of the Dog pub on Washington Avenue, a very tan man in his fifties strolls in and asks for his Bud Light in a red plastic cup. He says he's from Las Vegas, by way of New York, and gleefully declares, "In Vegas you can walk around [with a drink] on the strip, but if you go a couple blocks off it, they'll bust you. I've never seen a big city where you can just walk around with an open container. It's wild."

Sunday, July 12 — 12:03 a.m.
One of Unreal's favorite aspects of All-Star Week is seeing the people of St. Louis go gaga over the run-of-the-mill assortment of athletes and celebrities. Now, for instance, we're standing in the Buddha-bedecked bar of Mandarin, a nightclub in the Central West End. We just heard a gaggle of girls in skimpy dresses and uncomfortable-looking shoes all aflutter and squealing, "Oh my God, I just met Jacob Bell!"

Ever heard of Jacob Bell? He plays guard for the St. Louis Rams, and this is his official "All-Star Kickoff Party." And while we have to admit that the giant dreadlocked man does look dashing wearing his sunglasses at night, it's hard to imagine another scenario where a posse of twenty-something women would be fawning over an NFL offensive lineman.

On the other hand, nobody seems to notice that Rams linebacker David Vobora is drinking Hound Dog Sweet Tea vodka straight from the bottle. I guess that's why Vobora, the last overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, holds the title of "Mr. Irrelevant."

Sunday, July 12 — 1:31 p.m.
Unreal barely escaped being washed away by a torrential downpour that briefly turned the streets of downtown St. Louis into the canals of Venice. Now, slightly damp, we're back at FanFest to see which, if any, St. Louis celebrities know their way around a Louisville Slugger. It's time for batting practice before Sunday's celebrity softball game.

During her concert under the Arch, Sheryl Crow wore enough green eye shadow to earn a role on The Drew Carey Show.
Stew Smith
During her concert under the Arch, Sheryl Crow wore enough green eye shadow to earn a role on The Drew Carey Show.
The Pope, a.k.a., the Cardinals Cardinal.
The Pope, a.k.a., the Cardinals Cardinal.

Elbowing our way through a cluster of kids wearing giant foam tacos on their heads (the event is sponsored by Taco Bell), Unreal claims a spot close to the batting cages.

Chingy is first up. He holds his hands low and finishes his awkward swing at waist-level. Apparently, in batting practice, just like in music, Nelly's hits are significantly better. (Nelly would go on to be named co-MVP after clubbing a home run and making a dazzling diving catch.)

Actor Billy Bob Thornton is really the man we came to see. Thornton, who once tried out for the Kansas City Royals, describes himself as a "lifelong Cardinals fan." (A native of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Thornton is surely not the only Cards fan from the Ozarks named Billy Bob.) Thornton, though, is nowhere in sight, apparently reprising his role as The Man Who Wasn't There.

Meanwhile, actress Jenna Fischer (Pam from The Office) takes a few solid swings. Unreal wants to recruit the Nerinx Hall High School alum for RFT's office softball team. We ask if she'd like a new job as our receptionist, but she pretends not to hear. We'll take that as a maybe.

Sunday, July 12 — 2:47 p.m.
It's still drizzling, and the festivities are in the midst of a long rain delay. At the typically raucous Paddy O's, the DJ tries in vain to revive the sparse, bored-looking crowd by spinning Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back." "C'mon, I need at least one person up here dancing," he implores. But no backs are shook, and a weary Unreal heads home to dry out.

Monday, July 13 — 3:35 p.m.
A beer is cheaper poolside on the roof of the Four Seasons Hotel ($6.50) than at the stands near the stadium ($8.75). And with a near panoramic view of downtown, the scenery is better, too. Wait, no, strike that. Unreal just spotted what looks like Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona lounging by the pool. He's shirtless and slathering himself with suntan lotion. We'll gladly pay the extra $2.25 to avoid that sight.

Monday, July 13 — 7:25 p.m.
The scene is pure chaos on the streets outside the ballpark during the Home Run Derby. On Clark Street, hundreds of people are packed in between the fledgling Ballpark Village and the stadium, watching the action on the JumboTron. They roar every time they catch a glimpse of a long home-run ball soaring into the stands.

A few characters hold up a sign that reads: "Make steroids legal so we can catch one."

When Pujols steps up to bat at the end of the first round, the atmosphere is electric. There are chants of "Let's Go Albert" and "MVP." When he's down to his final two outs and looks like he won't advance, a collective sinking feeling ensues.

Meanwhile, a drunk with two gold front teeth is standing on a cooler taking $100 bets that Pujols won't make the cut. Everyone breathes a deep sigh of relief when El Hombre evens things up.

Behind us, a guy sipping a can of Stag says (and he's deadly serious), "This will be the greatest moment of our lives."

Monday, July 13 — 7:46 p.m.
The booze is really flowing now, and it almost feels like Mardi Gras. Virtually everyone has their own fully stocked coolers.

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