On the field before the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball plans to assemble the largest gathering of Hall of Fame players in baseball history. And as fans salute their heroes, the former players will join the crowd in saluting the American flag â€” one that is roughly 75 feet by 150 feet, as long as a 15-story building is tall, spread horizontally over the Yankee Stadium turf.
Hundreds of volunteers are needed to unfurl and hold an enormous flag. Handlers often shake their arms, creating a ripple effect.
That is a relatively small flag by big-event standards in American sports these days. But it will signal the latest canâ€™t-miss blend of sports and patriotism, a combination increasingly presenting itself through gigantic American flags, unfurled by dozens or hundreds of people in an attempt to elicit a sense of awe and nationalism in the surrounding crowd.
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â€œPeople go ape when they see it,â€ said Jim Alexander, a retired Coast Guard commander who runs Superflag, the company that basically invented the industry and once held the world record for the largest flag, which temporarily hung on the Hoover Dam. It was 255 by 505 feet and has been surpassed by a flag in Israel that measures 2,165 by 330 feet. â€œItâ€™s a feeling. Itâ€™s a feeling that takes over a whole stadium. If anyone in the stands opened their mouth and objected, there would be hell to pay.â€