Then the Marlins' superstar, surrounded by adoring kids, was whisked away to the Intercontinental in downtown Miami to jump into a Chevrolet vehicle for the All-Star Red Carpet parade that would take him and others to the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Marlins Park tonight (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX).
"It's something huge that hits home for me," Stanton said of All-Star Smiles. "Kids all over the country and world are in tremendous pain, and it's one of the biggest reasons why they miss school and go to the emergency room. They can't do much for them -- they give them some Advil, pop it in and say, 'Have a nice sleep.'
"We've worked tirelessly to get this done. This is one of those things that you can't just put money in and let it develop. It takes time and effort and a lot of patience with these kids. They're in a lot of pain, and they get scared coming in. Sometimes it's their first time at the dentist, because their parents can't afford it, even a car to send them there."
The All-Star Smiles Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating childhood tooth decay. Founded by Stanton and Dr. Craig Spodak, All-Star Smiles unites community members, dental care providers and children throughout the country.
"We've helped hundreds of kids since 2015, and we've got to keep it going," Stanton said. "In February, we have All-Star Smiles Day, February is National Dental Health Month. A few cities around the country are helping out. I want to thank everyone participating, because we are going to help a lot of children over the years."
Stanton sat next to Alex Rodriguez at the Kendall ceremony. Rodriguez got up to speak, and he drew a lot of laughs when he said, "I'm sitting here next to Giancarlo Stanton, and I know now why I am retired."
Tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.