Minnesotans will host one of the biggest sporting events in the world as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game kicks off Tuesday.
The event has become much more than a nine-inning exhibition among the sport’s greatest players. It has indeed become a multimedia, corporate-sponsored event made for television, radio, newspapers and, of course, the World Wide Web.
All Minnesotans and the civic and business leaders in the Twin Cities can take pride in landing this signature event. For two years civic leaders have prepared for the event that, according to a Star Tribune report, will include specially scented taxis for arriving guests and 5,700 linear feet of red carpet for players to walk through the city from their hotel to the field.
All Minnesotans can take pride in the event because they are the ones who put up the cash. They agreed to and helped pay for Target Field, still hailed as one of the premier ballparks in the nation, if not the world. They approved and paid for light rail that carries thousands of visitors to the field. They even helped subsidize some of the private business developments along the way.
With its sight lines for viewing spread through every inch of concourse, the field is indeed a people’s stadium. You don’t have to have an expensive seat to get a good view of the game. Whether you snag a stand-up table behind home plate or in left field, you can feel baseball.
The event was worth pursuing. It brings people to town, and as Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said, “It’s a huge opportunity to showcase to the rest of the world how great we are.”
The event also sported a 5K run Sunday at the state fairgrounds sponsored by Nike for 25,000 runners. Target Field will host one of ESPN’s top rated programs in the Home Run Derby tonight. There was a minor league game Sunday and FanFest at the Minneapolis Convention Center. There’s a gala for 5,000 special guests at the historic Mill City Museum overlooking the Mississippi River.
Promoters Meet Minneapolis say 160,000 visitors will spend about $75 million attending the event.
The taxpayers of Minnesota will take it. But we also should take pride in making reasonable investments in events that are winners and showcasing a state that has much to offer in its intelligent and civic-minded people, its friendly hospitality, its above-average children and its love for baseball and for life.
Let’s play ball.