Since Babe Ruth hit the first home run in the inaugural year, baseball’s All-Star Game has been more than a showcase of the sport’s best players.
From an enhancement to the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, the so-called Midsummer Classic has evolved into a nearly week-long celebration of the sport and the region that hosts it.
South Florida takes its turn in the spotlight for the 88th edition, Thursday through July 11, and there are a number of opportunities to share in the spectacle even for those who don’t go to the game.
“We’re going to be dealing with over 20 events off site and at the ballpark. It’s going to be a busy place,” said Claude Delorme, the Miami Marlins’ executive vice president of operations and events. “That’s the really nice thing that people will realize, that the game is secondary to all of these events taking place and showcasing the game of baseball.”
Marlins Park will be center stage for the Futures Game and Legends/Celebrity Softball Game on July 9, the Home Run Derby on July 10 and the All-Star Game on July 11.
There were a smattering of tickets remaining late in the week for the game, ranging from $280 to $363, and for the Home Run Derby at $250 to $335. Some cheaper options under $200 were listed on resale sites, while prime seats were listed for well over $1,000.
But for a family All-Star experience, there are other options, including FanFest, which runs Friday through Tuesday at Miami Beach Convention Center.
Aside from Marlins Park, that will be the major hub of activity, with MLB expecting 100,000 visitors during the five days to what is fashioned as the largest interactive baseball theme park in the world.
Featured exhibits will include the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the great players of the Negro Leagues, the All-American Girls Professional League and baseball history in South Florida. Young fans can test their skills in a batting cage, try to steal a base and participate in training drills.
MLB awards and trophies will be on display, as well as the world’s largest baseball bearing signatures from Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays and other greats of the game. There will also be a steady flow of autograph sessions featuring popular figures from the past and present (current Marlins Christian Yelich and Martin Prado will appear on July 10-11).
FanFest tickets cost $35…