Major League Baseball's All-Star Game is returning to the Twin Cities in 2014 for the first time in nearly three decades. It is about to get a little more real on Friday, when fans can register for the opportunity to purchase ticket strips.
MLB and the Twins announced the start of registrations for fans wanting to be part of All-Star Week on July 11-15, culminated by the 85th Midsummer Classic at Target Field. Available tickets will be limited and winners will be randomly selected for the opportunity to purchase full strips. Visit allstargame.com or twinsbaseball.com to register.
Each strip includes one ticket to the All-Star Game; one ticket to Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the Home Run Derby on July 14, one ticket to Taco Bell All-Star Sunday featuring the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game on July 13, two tickets to T-Mobile All-Star FanFest at the Minneapolis Convention Center on July 11-15 and an official 2014 MLB All-Star Game Program.
Twins season-ticket holders will be among the first fans to receive the opportunity to secure tickets for the All-Star events. In addition to at least 81 home games, that is another good reason to make it official and buy a 2014 season ticket or renew at twinsbaseball.com.
To ensure as many fans as possible have the chance to purchase strips, winners will be selected at random. Date, time and instructions for purchase will be communicated via e-mail by late April to each selected applicant.
"Major League Baseball joins the Twins franchise in anticipating a first-class week of events for the fans of Minnesota and their communities as a part of the 85th All-Star Game," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "We look forward to delivering a memorable experience and applauding our game's very best at Target Field next July 15."
The 1985 All-Star Game drew 54,960 fans to the Metrodome and was won by the NL, 6-1, with Padres pitcher LaMarr Hoyt being named MVP. The result was nothing new, as it was the NL's 21st victory in the last 23 Midsummer Classics. (For Twins fans seeking a harbinger, note that the game was followed just two years later by a World Series championship in Game 7 at the same site.)
Someone had the idea to make the All-Star Game much more than a game starting in Minnesota, because the '85 event also included the inaugural Home Run Derby. It was a little different back then. Tom Brunansky of the Twins led the AL to a 17-16 victory, formatted as league vs. league by homer total. Dave Parker of the Reds actually hit the most homers, 6, in that Derby. It is league vs. league again today, but determining individual home run totals has grown a bit in importance.
Gatorade All-Star Workout Day features AL and NL batting practice followed by the Home Run Derby. Recent winners include Yoenis Cespedes (2013), Prince Fielder (2012), Robinson Cano (2011) and David Ortiz (2010). Another former member of the Twins, Justin Morneau, won the revamped version of the event at old Yankee Stadium in 2008.
The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game showcases many of the top Minor League prospects and has featured current Twins Kyle Gibson (2011), Phil Hughes (2006), Jason Kubel (2004) and Joe Mauer (2003). Other players who have competed in both the Futures Game and the MLB All-Star Game include Fielder, Josh Hamilton, Bryce Harper, Felix Hernandez, Mike Trout, Justin Verlander and Joey Votto.
The Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game is one part memory lane, one part stargazing and one part classic comedy. It features stars from film, music, television and entertainment teaming up with former Major Leaguers and former Twins stars immediately after the Futures Game.
Past celebrity participants have included Jon Hamm, Jimmy Kimmel, Kate Upton, Marisa Miller, Chris Rock and Jordin Sparks. The game has also featured a collection of Hall of Famers including Ernie Banks, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor, Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield. Former Olympic and pro softball star Jennie Finch usually pitches and saves the best for last; witness an impromptu home run contest with Tim Salmon in 2010 at Anaheim, or getting Bo Jackson up to the plate as the last batter in '12 at Kansas City.
T-Mobile All-Star FanFest is the annual backdrop to a full week of action and will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The five-day event starts July 11 and serves as the launch of MLB All-Star Week. FanFest is the world's largest interactive baseball fan event, providing an unrivaled experience for fans of all ages.
Among its attractions are an exhibit from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, batting cages, clinics from Major League legends, free autograph sessions with former Twins and MLB legends and memorabilia galore.
MasterCard, the preferred card of MLB, will offer a special pre-sale opportunity to MasterCard cardholders for ticket strips. More details will be announced later on Visit allstargame.com.