Cincinnati's All-Star Future

January 23, 2013

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The 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game is coming to our hometown.

Such was the announcement made by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at Great American Ballpark, home of our friends the Cincinnati Reds. With the announcement came a $1.5 million dollar contribution for the Reds Urban Youth Academy, a brand new facility, to be completed in 2014, which will provide year-round baseball and softball instruction and educational programs to Greater Cincinnati youth. “Cincinnati filled all the needs that we have and then some,” Commissioner Selig said when asked why the city received this honor. “It’s got great history, great fandom, and a great collaboration with the city.” 

Baseball’s “great history” with Cincinnati goeas all the way back to 1869, when the “Red Stockings” played in baseball’s first professional game. Cincinnati hosted another pioneer moment in 1935, when the first night game was played at the Reds’ Crosley Field (President Roosevelt symbolically switched on the lights from Washington, DC). The inaugural MLB All-Star Game would be played at Crosley just three years later and then again in 1953.

The 1970s brought a decade of dominance with the Big Red Machine, a powerhouse set of players that led the Reds to four National League Pennants (league championships) and two consecutive World Series Championships in 1975 and 1976. Helmed by Sparky Anderson and led by such greats as Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion, the ‘75-‘76 Big Red Machine squad is widely considered to be one of the best professional baseball teams ever. The Reds won their last World Series in 1990 (for a total of 5) and their last division title just six months ago led by such all-star players as Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.  This illustrious tradition, coupled with Cincinnati’s twice-successful hosting of another annual marquis MLB event, the 2009 and 2010 Civil Rights Games, made the city a natural choice for another All-Star Game, demonstrating the city and the franchise’s capacity to make magical baseball moments for legions of fans.

The 2015 Game will be the first “Midsummer Classic” held in Cincinnati since 1988 and the first ever held in Great American Ball Park, which was constructed in 2003 and which houses the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. In addition to the game itself, Cincinnati and the ballpark will play host to the annual Home Run Derby, the Futures Game (featuring minor league players) and a FanFest. It all adds up to a week of baseball tradition that will welcome tens of thousands of visitors to the city Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once called “the Queen City of the West”.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, having the All-Star Game in Cincinnati has portended good things for the hometown Reds, stretching all the way back to 1938, that first-ever All-Star Game, which led the Reds to a World Series in 1939 and a World Championship in 1940. Ever since, every Queen City All-Star Game has led to a World Series appearance or championship within the following 3 years. We’re sure that Reds CEO Bob Castellini is hoping the outcome of the 2015 Game will be no different.

While it is too soon to tell what the economic impact of the All-Star Game will be to Cincinnati, Selig estimated the financial benefit to reach somewhere between $80-$100 million, and All-Star Games held in similarly-sized cities in recent years have brought in over $60 million. Even more impactful, however, will be the media exposure to the wealth of development that has already occurred in the city, including a new riverfront park and mixed-use development directly adjacent to the stadium. Most importantly, it will be another chapter in Cincinnati’s great baseball history.

“Baseball is a part of the fabric of the City. It’s part of the fabric of Cincinnati families,” said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory at the announcement. “It’s something we group up with. It’s something we cherish. That’s what makes this important.”

Tags: Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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