Hartman: 2014 All-Star Game will dwarf 1985 game in size and spectacle

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 19, 2013 - 1:57 PM

The All-Star Game has gone from simply a game to a series of events since it was last played here in 1985.

There will be no comparison in terms of size and spectacle between the 1985 All-Star Game played at the Metrodome and the 2014 game at Target Field.

It’s interesting to think back to the 1985 All Star game and see that it was the starting point in turning the event from just a game into an event.

The Metrodome was the site of the first Home Run Derby and more than 46,000 fans attended. Dave Parker of the Reds hit the most home runs, but it was structured at the time as American League vs. National League event instead of pitting players against each other.

The game itself featured 16 future Hall of Famers: Tony Gwynn, Ozzie Smith, Ryne Sandberg, Gary Carter, Goose Gossage, Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson, George Brett, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Wade Boggs and Dave Winfield, Bert Blyleven and Paul Molitor, who had ties to the Twin Cities.

But nowadays the event is on another scale. There is still the game and the Home Run Derby, which remains one of ESPN’s highest-rated programs of the year. Then there is the All-Star Futures Game, which this year featured Twins prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano.

There is the also the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, which is held the day before the Derby. Then there is the FanFest, the Red Carpet Parade, the Charity 5K run, a free public concert and more.

Twins tour New York

Twins President Dave St. Peter led a delegation of 30 Twins and Target Field staffers to this week’s game in New York.

“Baseball fans across the Upper Midwest are in for a treat,” St. Peter said. “The MLB All-Star Game and, more importantly, all of the related festivities are so much bigger than they used to be. The All-Star Game itself is now literally a weeklong series of events providing so many more opportunities for fans to get involved, get close to players and to celebrate what baseball means to this community.

“This is truly a once-in-a-generation event that provides a platform to showcase Target Field and our wonderful downtown,” St Peter added. “I cannot tell you how excited our organization is to bring All-Star Week to Twins Territory.”

St. Peter gave credit to Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, the Pohlad family, Jerry Bell and others who played a central role in securing the approval for Target Field.

“Without the new ballpark, the 2014 All-Star Game would never have returned to Minnesota,” said St. Peter. “In fact, it appears likely that [The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s stadiums] will be passed over in relation to their attempts to secure a future MLB All-Star Game largely due to unsatisfactory facilities in those communities.”

Economy to get a boost

St. Peter also noted that the projected economic impact for the Twin Cities in relation to holding the 2014 event is an impressive $75 million.

Estimates suggest the 2013 game generated economic impact of more than $191 million for New York City. The 2012 game raised $60 million for Kansas City, the 2011 game $67 million for Phoenix and the 2010 game $85 million for Los Angeles.

In addition to the economic impact resulting from All-Star Week, Major League Baseball and the Twins will contribute a minimum of $2 million to a variety of community projects during the summer of 2014.

Current Twins season-ticket holders will have priority in relation to purchasing tickets for the All-Star events.

Jottings

• In the very near future, the Vikings and the stadium commission will select the concessionaire for the new Vikings football stadium. The three finalists are reported to be Minnesota Sports Service, which currently handles concessions at Target Center and Target Field, Aramark of Philadelphia and Morrisey Hospitality of St. Paul, which handles the Excel Energy Center.

• So far most of the workouts held by new Gophers basketball coach Rick Pitino have been in the recently remodeled Bierman Building gym, which is across from the Gopher basketball office. Apparently, the new basketball building will be built in back of the Bierman Building on the current track. The present plans are to erect a new track in St. Paul, maybe near the farm campus.

• Meanwhile the Gophers football offices have been remodeled so the coaches have more modern and roomier spaces so they can communicate better with their players.

• One of the outstanding Gopher linebackers who will help to fill this years strong graduating class of linebackers is Jones County Junior College [Mississippi] gridder Damien Wilson, who had 17 offers from colleges all over the country and is an outstanding athlete.

• What Gopher coach Jerry and his wife, Rebecca, call ‘Date Night’ was held Thursday night at TCF Bank Stadium. Couples pay $350 and individuals $175 to spend some time, hopefully under the stars, to get a chance to get to know the coach and his wife and to explore the stadium in a way most don’t see it.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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