They are the annual rites of passage in our country: Punxsutawney Phil looks for his shadow; fireworks are set off on July 4; Van Halen fans wish that David Lee Roth was on stage instead of Sammy Hagar; and Major League Baseball hosts its midyear All-Star Game. This year's game, which marks the 75th anniversary of the most-watched all-star game in professional sports, will feature a National League outfield comprised of three players who have each bashed more than 500 home runs, providing a nice boost for viewership, not to mention advertising.

The interest in the game because of the historic Barry Bonds-Ken Griffey, Jr.-Sammy Sosa outfield will not be lost on the many companies that will line up to fill the premium commercial time during the July 13 game. Companies like Nike (NYSE:NKE), PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD), McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), and Topps (NASDAQ:TOPP) will benefit from the international exposure the game generates. Baseball may be America's pastime, but many countries will be represented. Sosa leads a contingent of Latin American players and Japanese imports such as Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) and Hideki Matsui (Yankees) make the game an international advertising bonanza.

In Detroit, many players turn to car companies like Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) for endorsement dollars, and a similar local bias in advertising is seen from baseball market to baseball market. It seems every event and stadium has a sponsor or a corporate name attached to it these days. The All-Star Game is being held at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas; there will be a John Hancock FanFest; a Taco Bell Legends Game; and a Century 21 Home Run Derby surrounding the game.

I look for a company such as Pepsi to benefit the most from the exposure it will gain on Fox's (NYSE:FOX) airing of the All-Star Game, with future Hall of Famer Sosa as its spokesman (and a potential steroid scandal in baseball's rearview mirror for the time being). Also look for Yum! Brands' Taco Bell to benefit from recently being named baseball's "Official Quick-Service Restaurant" as disclosed by fellow Fool Nathan Slaughter.

Play ball!

Pick up a bat and take a swing at the Major League Baseball discussion board.

Fool contributor Phil Wohl spent more than 12 years on Wall Street and now concentrates his writing on more fictional characters. He has no stake in any firm mentioned above.