Cincy Hosting ASG in 2015 Different from 1988


Tomorrow, MLB Commish Bud Selig will be in town. Those “sources inside baseball” state that Selig will announce that The Reds, GABP and the city of Cincinnati will host the 2015 All-Star Game. There is another reason for Selig’s Cincinnati appearance, too, and it holds a great importance to the Cincinnati community as well: the Cincinnati Urban Youth Academy.

Of course, there will be a greater focus on the ASG.

We all should be thrilled for Cincinnati getting the ASG, right?

Not sure everyone is completely on board with this.

"So, does the ASG thrill you? The last one here, in ’88, was my first summer in town. It stunk on toast. How bad? Terry Steinbach was the MVP. I wrote a column on him, for the day of the game. He was hitting .217, yet fans wrote him in. I suggested armies of Oakland fans spent days in their workshops, putting stacks of ballots on a drill press. (This was before the Internet, kids.) He homered off Doc Gooden, and hit a game-winning sac fly. The best thing about the game was fans chanting for Sabo to appear. He did, as a pinch runner. Whoopee.I’m thrilled for the city. The ASG? Eh.– Paul Daugherty on today’s The Morning Line"

Not only has a lot changed since 1988 with the voting process (there is still “ballot box stuffing” that occurs), but the festivities that surround the ASG have also changed. I would say the whole “experience” has massively transformed. There’s something for practically everyone within walking distance of GABP.

The venue itself has changed…dramatically. The atmosphere and area surrounding the stadium has changed…dramatically. Where GABP is located has undergone an enormous transformation since the days in which Riverfront Stadium hosted the ’88 event.

In 1988, was there a Home Run Derby at Riverfront? Nope, but one was scheduled. Rain cancelled the event. Confound you, Mother Nature! The year before when it was held in Oakland, a total of four players participated. Yes, I said four. While it can still be like pulling teeth to get some of the slugging superstars in the Derby, and provided the weather will cooperate in two-plus years down the road, GABP will certainly play a beautiful backdrop for that spectacle. Might not be as difficult to get players involved, but I bet there will still be those that decide to eschew the event.

When the HRD was still in its infancy, there was hardly the fervor surrounding it then in ’88 as there is these days. Never mind the trolling “back, back, back” from Chris Berman or his somewhat obscure geographical references of how far a ball was hit, the HRD has evolved into something bigger than the ASG itself. It plays out as a competition while adding some entertainment value as well. The players from both leagues want to observe the smacking of an object into the skies.

Jun 12, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds Power Stack lights up after a strike out. (Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports)

And imagine having a seat out on the moondeck by the Power Stacks or even being situated in the Kroger Bleachers. You know, the upper deck. A lot souvenirs to be had especially if there is the typical Cincy July weather with a bit of humidity and that tad of warmth. I bet they move those trucks stationed or will we see the local dealership which supplies said vehicles use the HRD as an opportunity to further its brand and name.

Make no mistake about it. The Home Run Derby has become a spectacle. You even have a sponsors surrounding it.

Back to that ’88 snoozefest in which the AL won 2-1. The NL had plenty of chances. Baseball Reference has the complete boxscore and details of the game.

It is worth mentioning that there were a dozen Hall of Famers in that game.

For the National League:
Gary Carter*
Ryne Sandberg*
Ozzie Smith*
Barry Larkin (his 1st of 12 ASGs)

For the American League:
Paul Molitor*
Wade Boggs*
Cal Ripken, Jr.*
Dave Winfield*
Rickey Henderson*
Dennis Eckersley
George Brett
Kirby Puckett
* – denotes starter

Of the 16 starters from that ’88 ASG, half of those starters would eventually end up being inducted into the HoF. Okay, that whole process is another matter that I’ll leave for another day, or maybe even year.

Not only did the Reds send Chris Sabo and Larkin to that ASG, Danny Jackson was also on the NL squad.

MLB has a “Fanfest”, too? That should go over well as we all know how Reds fans flock to Redsfest, so having Fanfest in town will be of old hat. If what I’m reading from Mark Sheldon is correct, the ASG Fanfest and Redsfest are on the same “size and scope”. Hosting this aspect of the ASG festivities will be a breeze.

There’s more to hosting an All-Star these days from a public perception standpoint. We didn’t hear as much about the Fanfest or even get to see the HRD live. Granted, the Internet, the “advent” of a 24/7 news cycle, and the creation a networks which focus on the sports world have as much to do with this as anything. There’s no longer just a “game”, which is actually an exhibition that determines the league which will play the home team in the World Series. Hopefully, we’ll see Dusty Baker managing the 2015 NL team since the Reds will be coming off (at least) a 2014 World Series title.

Baseball’s smallest market will be on one of the sport’s grandest stage in a couple of years. Congratulations to Reds CEO Bob Castellini and the entire Reds staff and organization for their efforts to bring the All-Star Game to the Queen City.

Well deserved and long overdue.