By Kai Oliver-Kurtin
MLB All-Star Game returns after 24 years
For the first time since 1992, San Diego will be the host city for the annual Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game on July 12 at Petco Park. Taking place every July at the halfway point of the MLB season, the All-Star Game will showcase a roster of players from both the American League and National League.
Fans were able to cast their ballots online to select the game’s starting players, but the roster was not finalized by press time. Some of the players ranking high on the leader boards were Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.
Beginning July 7, there are several events that fans will have the opportunity to participate in leading up to the big game on July 12, including FanFest, concerts, yoga, a 5K run, block party, the Home Run Derby and a red carpet parade, among others.
As a Hall of Famer and 12-time All-Star player, Dave Winfield is no stranger to MLB All-Star Week. Winfield played in the first All-Star Game held in San Diego in 1978.
“It was an exciting time,” Winfield said. “I was still developing my career, improving my skills and growing as a player, so it was a great achievement. Just knowing I was going to be around some of the best players in the game was such a feeling of accomplishment — and to do it in my home city was a pleasure.”
Winfield began his professional baseball career with the Padres in 1973, and later retired after the 1995 season with the Cleveland Indians. Today he serves as a special advisor to the executive director of the MLB Players Association.
“San Diego should be proud that it boosted and leveraged the All-Star Game to what it is today,” Winfield said. “The game will bring so much focus and so many people to San Diego. It becomes the epicenter of baseball in the world — there are so many events happening in so many places.”
“I’m just happy that the Padres and this new generation of fans are able to experience this new wave of baseball,” Winfield said.
Only 2015 Padres Platinum and Gold Members who renewed for 2016 season tickets were guaranteed the chance to purchase tickets to the All-Star Game. Blue Season Ticket Members had access to a ticket lottery, but were not guaranteed tickets.
For all others wishing to attend the game, registration in the All-Star Week ticket opportunity gives fans access to any All-Star week ticket strips available, which may be for standing-room only tickets.
Here is a wrapup of some of the long-running list of activities planned — and open to the public — leading up to the All-Star Game (as there are too many to include every event, visit allstargame.com for more details):
Play Ball Park
Running July 7 through July 12, Play Ball Park encourages youth baseball and softball players and their families to play ball and participate in games and clinics. Play Ball Park will be located in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
On July 8, FanFest opens at the San Diego Convention Center (open daily 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. through July 12), followed by a free concert by OneRepublic and special guest Needtobreathe at Embarcadero Marina Park South at 7 p.m. The All-Star Concert Series headliners were announced publicly on June 16, allowing fans to register for free tickets online based on availability.
At FanFest, guests can expect to see local baseball favorites, Hall of Famers and a few Olympians in attendance.
Clinics and seminars will be held to teach attendees the fundamentals of both baseball and softball, which may include hitting, running, fielding and catching.
“We have some great physical activities that fans can participate in,” said Jacqueline Secaira-Cotto, director of special events for MLB. “One of my favorites is ‘steal a base,’ where fans can challenge their fiercest opponent to a race to second base. Fans will then receive their speed and velocity on their mobile devices.”
Attendees will also have the opportunity to get a close-up view of artifacts from some of baseball’s greats, including Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Ted Williams, and more.
Fans can also view 16 MLB awards and trophies on display, including the Commissioner’s Trophy, Home Run Derby trophy and All-Star MVP award; 58 Padres players featured in the Hometown Heroes exhibit; and the mascots from 27 MLB teams.
“How about a picture with the World Series Trophy or the world’s largest baseball — those are some of the fun photo opportunities that fans have at FanFest,” Secaira-Cotto said. “Fans can also have Trevor Hoffman sign their jersey.”
When guests register for the FanFest Experience Pass online, they’ll automatically be entered to win prizes during their time at FanFest. Once registered, they can scan their mobile devices throughout the show floor at various attractions, which increases their chance of winning prizes (including All-Star Game and Home Run Derby tickets).
Soul Pose MLB All-Star Yoga will take over Waterfront Park on July 9 with 60-minute outdoor yoga classes. The first session starts at 8 a.m. and the later session is at 11 a.m. Expect neon body paint, bubbles, photo ops and more. The yoga party is open to all skill levels.
Big Name Concerts
Two concerts will be held on July 9 at Waterfront Park, the first one at noon featuring Tori Kelly and special guest All Time Low. At 7 p.m., Gwen Stefani will hit the stage with special guest Eve.
On the morning of July 10, The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K will begin at 7 a.m. near Waterfront Park along Harbor Drive. The untimed race features colorful paint, mascots, baseball legends and other special guests.
Pepsi Block Party
The MLB All-Star Week Pepsi Block Party runs from July 10 through July 12 on J Street between Sixth and 10th avenues, open daily from noon to 6 p.m. Free to attend, this party will have music, food, beer, giveaways and interactive baseball-themed games.
For All-Star Sunday on July 10 at Petco Park, the All-Star Futures Game at 4 p.m. will feature prospective Minor League Baseball players for a nine-inning game.
At 7:30 p.m., the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game will pit Hall of Famers against celebrities from the entertainment, sports and music industries for a friendly exhibition game. All-Stars Legends include Roland “Rollie” Fingers, Trevor Hoffman, Tim Raines and Ozzie Smith.
Home Run Derby
A fan-favorite event, the Home Run Derby will take place at Petco Park on July 11 at 5 p.m. Current MLB players participate in a home run hitting contest where they have five minutes to hit as many home runs as possible, and advance in a bracket-style competition.
Game Day Red Carpet
On game day, Tuesday, July 12, watch players travel along a red carpet route from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Downtown, beginning at noon, to arrive at Petco Park for the All-Star Game at 4:30 p.m.
For more information and to purchase various event tickets, visit allstargame.com.