Player availability for All-Stars begins at 12:45 p.m. this afternoon. We’re staking out our claim as we speak, but we also have plans today to see how self-serve beer is working at Target Field … and perhaps see Bert Blyleven get a pie in the face at Darby’s around 4 p.m. … and hopefully catch our breath in time to produce yet more video from the Home Run Derby tonight.

This is not a complaint. This will all be fun, and we’re lucky to do what we do.

To start the day, we met our pal Diddy — not THE Diddy, just a friend we call Diddy — over at Fan Fest. We’re two guys with young kids, so having a chance to make our worlds collide, albeit briefly, is great.

We took a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame artifacts, listened in on Andre Dawson entertaining a crowd and just generally strolled the vast space.

The thing we were struck by the most — and a thing that always strikes us when we see it — was the line for autographs whenever an opportunity presented itself.

There were people waiting to swing bats or test the speed of their pitches, but the most consistently long lines were for signatures.

We’ve never totally understood the appeal of the autograph. Is it merely a keepsake from meeting a hero? Is it a contest to see how many you can accumulate for a collection? Is it with the hope that they will be worth money?

We’re not mocking it. We really want to know. If you are an autograph-hound, please tell us your motivations in the comments.