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Players Plan To Tweet Fans During Home Run Derby

Twitter (credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Twitter (credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

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PHOENIX (AP) — Want to let Jose Bautista or David Ortiz know how you felt about that blast they hit into the Chase Field seats in the Home Run Derby? Just tweet him.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox sluggers are among a handful of players who have agreed to communicate with fans via Twitter from the field at Monday night’s festivities.

Others taking part include Heath Bell, Gio Gonzalez, Joe Hanrahan, Matt Kemp, Howie Kendrick, Hunter Pence, Brandon Phillips, Gaby Sanchez, Justin Upton, Shane Victorino and C.J. Wilson.

Bautista, Ortiz and Kemp are Home Run Derby participants. The others are schedule to play in Tuesday’s All-Star game, with the exception of Victorino, who has withdrawn due to injury.

The MLB says other players on hand Monday night will have the opportunity to provide live commentary, photos and video through the Twitter and Facebook accounts of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The players’ Twitter accounts are as follows: Bautista @JoeyBats19, Ortiz @davidortiz, Bell @HeathBell21, Gonzalez @GioGonzalez47, Joel Hanrahan @hanrahan4457, Kemp @TheRealMattKemp, Kendrick @HKendrick47, Pence @HunterPence9, Phillips @DatDudeBP, Sanchez @GabySanchez15, Upton @RealJustinUpton, Victorino @ShaneVictorino and Wilson (@str8edgeracer.

On Twitter, the league’s account is @MLB and the players association @MLB_PLAYERS. Their Facebook accounts are Facebook.com/MLB and Facebook.com/MLBPlayers Assoc.

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CHAIN GANG: Maricopa County’s Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” in America, plans to deploy a chain gang to pick up litter outside Chase Field at the All-Star game.

The inmates, who are clad in cartoon-like striped jail outfits, include some from the holding tank for illegal immigrants, all of whom have been convicted of driving under the influence. The group also will include other DUI offenders.

Arpaio said the idea is to show the perils of drunken driving in Arizona, which has among the nation’s toughest DUI laws. Asked why illegal immigrants are included in the chain gang, he said, “I would be discriminating against the people here illegally in this country who have been convicted of the same crimes U.S. citizens have been convicted of. Should I say, ‘Oh, no, you can’t be on a chain gang because you’re from a different country?'”

The sheriff’s office, known for its anti-illegal immigrant sweeps of neighborhoods and businesses, said all chain gang participants volunteered for the duty rather than remain in “Tent City,” jail homes, which have no air conditioning.

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GOLDEN HOMERS: A few of the balls used in Monday’s home run derby will have a little something extra for the fans who catch them: gold.

The special balls will be made with one panel that’s infused with 24-carat gold leather and will be used once a batter is down to his final out in each round of the derby.

The balls have a retail value of $149.99, so anyone who manages to snag one at Chase Field will get a little extra value for their effort. Major League Baseball, along with State Farm Insurance, also will donate a combined $18,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for each golden ball that goes out for a homer.

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BERNIE PLAYS: Former New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams played the national anthem on his guitar before Sunday’s Futures Game.

Williams won four World Series titles and four Gold Gloves in 16 years with the Yankees and was an accomplished musician even during his playing days. He released his first album in 2003 and put out another in 2009 that was nominated for a Latin Grammy.

Williams, who last played in the majors in 2006, played a flawless rendition of the national anthem on Sunday, receiving a warm ovation.

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COOLING TREND:
While dashing from hotels to taxis to the enclosed air conditioned comfort of Chase Field, the All-Star experience for fans is a scorching one, but perhaps not as bad as had been forecast.

The temperature cooled to 102 degrees on Sunday afternoon and, thanks to the threat of thunderstorms, might not even reach triple digits on Monday. The forecast high for Tuesday, the date of the All-Star game, is a mere 101. The average high for this time of year is 107.

On July 2, the high in Phoenix hit an incredible 118, a record for that date. That was a dry heat, but then so is a blow torch. Then came the massive dust storm that sent a wall of dirt through the city, a spectacle widely displayed on video across the country.

The lower temperatures bring higher humidity, and still-miserable conditions. Paramedic units were deployed around the ballpark and the nearby FanFest to provide aid for anyone overcome by the heat.