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When will tickets be available for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City?

The Royals and Major League Baseball haven't announced the specific plans yet, but if previous All-Star Games are an indication, tickets will be on sale in the offseason between the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

The Royals, like all teams which play host to the event, have stressed that season ticket holders will be given the first chance at tickets.

Those who have been season ticket holders the longest and paid for the best seats continuously, will be given the top priority for seats.

A number of tickets will never be released to the general public, including: tickets MLB reserves for the remaining 29 clubs, sponsor considerations and those tickets the Royals will keep for local business or political groups.

Throw in the possible 2,500 media credentials, which was the approximate number for last year's game in St. Louis, and it is likely 20,000-30,000 of the tickets have already been spoken for.

With Kauffman Stadium's capacity (post 2009-renovation) listed at 37,840, that could leave fewer than 10,000 tickets available to the general public.

That would still be more than the 2009 game, where it was estimated about 1,000 were available. It should be noted the Cardinals' season-ticket base is considerably higher than the Royals' roughly 7,000.

So it will be difficult, but not impossible, to buy the tickets, which will be available on both the Royals' and MLB's websites.

Surprisingly, one could still buy tickets to this year's game in Anaheim via the Angels' website as late as this week.

Baseball's All-Star Game also includes multiple days of activities, including the Futures Game and Celebrity Softball Game on Sunday, and the Home Run Derby on Monday. Tickets for those events are much easier to come by and are well below the $145-$360 face value for the 2009 ASG tickets.

Why do some teams at the World Cup have stars on their uniform?

That is soccer's way of honoring its past champions. In international soccer countries are allowed to wear a star for each time it has won the World Cup.

The custom began for club teams in Italy's top league, Series A. One star usually signified 10 championships.

After the 1970 World Cup, Brazil added three stars above its crest to signify each of its Cup championships. Other countries followed suit.

The seven countries that have won the Cup have these amount of stars above their crests: Brazil 5, Italy 4, Germany 3, Argentina 2, France 1 and England 1. The only exception to the rule is Uruguay, which has won the Cup twice. Uruguay sports four stars, however, to signify Olympic gold medals in 1924 and 1928, when that competition was the preeminent international soccer tournament.

_Joshua Wood