2015 MLB All Star Game Impact Should Be Felt by Local Youth


When the day arrived that Major League Baseball formally announced the 2015 MLB All Star Game would be heading to Great American Ballpark, MLB and the Cincinnati Reds broke out all the names when doing so. As Bud Selig repeatedly stated, the days of having baseball cities host the All Star Game has exploded. It used to be Selig and Company had to beg for a host. Not the case these days and we are aware why that is the case.

Over a week ago in a piece on Cincinnati Business Courier, Steve Watkins briefly outlined six ways the ASG will impact the area. Of course, the number one area is the economic impact it will have. Among the six ways Watkins defines, three are directly tied to the economy (ticket sales, sponsorships, hotels). These certainly cannot be overlooked nor downplayed in any capacity. I dare say this is a principal reason MLB cities want to bring the ASG to their town.

More from Blog Red Machine

In case you’re wondering, the other three are Great American Ball Park (some changes are in order), the Duke Energy Convention Center (host of RedsFest and for the ASG festivities, Fan Fest), and civic pride. But there is one Watkins does not mention.

Baseball itself. Now I’m not going to hold Watkins personally accountable for not mentioning this. In fact, I’m glad he didn’t so that you can read my little soapbox speech here. It’s not too long, and I think you’ll see the message right away.

One area that seemingly brings concern to MLB is that of participation. Kids have more sports options available from which to choose. We continually hear that soccer is the nation’s #1 participatory sport. I’ve noticed an increase in kids playing lacrosse. You have the monster called football and what kid doesn’t dream of soaring through the air and dunking a basketball. This is what baseball faces. It is a crisis, and the suits of MLB are well aware of it.

Think of it this way. Less participation locally could mean less butts in GABP’s seats. Yes, the product does sway the consumer. If our beloved Reds are not faring too well, fewer people will attend. In these parts (so to speak), it’s part of the deal. Like that in other parts of the country, too.

But if a kid isn’t interested, what are the chances he/she will ask to even make the trip to GABP? One way to aid is to get that child a glove and teach about the game. Now add events such as the All Star Game to that kid’s list of experiences, and you may have yourself one that dreams of throwing a no-hitter or blasting a Game 7 World Series-winning home run instead of pulling of a spin move for a dunk or taking a handoff and dashing 90 yards in the Super Bowl.

Yes, baseball can be “slow” as far as its pace in concerned. Doubt anyone would even attempt to make an argument against that. I know this plays into a kid’s psyche. Can’t have periods of downtime. I get it, and baseball has finally started on some level to take measures in quickening pace of play. And if you want to know how much of an impact pace of play has (almost sounding like a golf thing here), head over to Fangraphs. There is a “stat” devoted to this. Seriously, there is.

All the facets of having the ASG in Cincy as Watkins defines are legitimate in every way. Having the All Star Game in Cincinnati a tremendous honor. Yes, the event will also provide a huge economic benefit for the entire area. But the one area I want to know might not be felt for years to come. Question: how many kids decided baseball would be “their game” by having baseball’s best visit the Queen City?

That will be an impact I’ll be waiting to see.