ANAHEIM -- Hall of Famer and All-Star FanFest spokesman Rod Carew hosted children from the local Boys & Girls Club on Thursday for a special sneak peek at Major League Baseball's All-Star FanFest at the Anaheim Convention Center.
It was all part of a hard-hat tour and exclusive look for media members and MLB officials at the "load in" for the five-day FanFest, which begins on Friday and serves as the launch for All-Star week, which culminates in the 81st MLB All-Star Game, to be held July 13 at Angel Stadium.
But for Carew, who was an All-Star 18-times, including six times while with the Angels, it was a fun way to give back to the community, as he put the children through hitting drills at the batting cages.
"When I'm doing this with kids, it's fun for me," Carew said. "I really enjoy it. I was fortunate to have the ability to hit, and now that I'm out of baseball, it's fun to go to fields to watch kids play and just help them out any way I can."
Carew also took part in a behind-the-scenes tour of FanFest, the world's largest interactive baseball fan event, featuring more than 40 attractions and exhibits at the 450,000-square-foot Anaheim Convention Center.
Installation was under way on displays for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and Negro Leagues, while construction also continued on such fan favorites as the Video Bullpen -- where fans can step up and test their pitching skills against life-size video images of their favorite players -- and the Aquafina Diamond, which features daily clinics.
In addition, Taco Bell has sponsored a new attraction for 2010, called Steal a Base, Steal a Taco, through which fans will attempt to steal a base while racing their favorite players.
All FanFest attractions are free with the price of admission; the only additional costs are for concessions and memorabilia. Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under, senior citizens and military personnel. Children two and younger are admitted free.
"I think this event really appeals to families because there's something for everyone here whether you're seven years old or 70 years old," said Jackie Secaira-Cotto, MLB's director of special events. "Baseball is something that connects generations."
Carew will return on Friday for FanFest's Opening Ceremony at 8:40 a.m. PT, along with Angels owner Arte Moreno, Angels chairman Dennis Kuhl, Anaheim Mayor Curtis Pringle and MLB Executive Vice President of Business Tim Brosnan.
But Carew, who will also host a "pitch, hit and run" clinic at FanFest on Friday, is simply looking forward to interacting with the youngsters and spreading the knowledge of America's pastime.
"It's nice saying a few words to the kids," he said. "If I can say something that changes a kid's life, that's what it's all about."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.