Orioles are stretching the All-Star Game into an All-Star Week

April 02, 1993|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Staff Writer

The familiar scenes figure to be playing out at Camden Yards again this year. Nightly sellouts. Ticket scalpers. Boog's Barbecue.

Did we mention ticket scalpers?

But one event seems certain to distinguish this year from the others at the ballpark. On July 13, Baltimore plays host to the All-Star Game.

These occasions do not crop up every year, or, in Maryland, every decade. This is the second All-Star Game to be played in Baltimore and the first since 1958, when the Orioles were breaking in a third baseman named Brooks Robinson.

In the years since, the All-Star Game has evolved into one of sport's most celebrated events, focusing national attention on the host city and attracting millions in tourist dollars.

That said, this game may be even more special. If the Orioles and other All-Star planners succeed, this All-Star Game will be transformed into an All-Star Week, filled with a trail of baseball-flavored activities.

"It's really unprecedented. The Orioles have really expanded the activities around the game," said David Dziedzic, director of special events for Major League Baseball and one of the game's chief organizers.

To achieve that, the Orioles and other planners are drawing inspiration from the city and state as well as the game itself.

"We'd like to highlight all the wonderful things that are important to the city and the region," said Julie Wagner, the Orioles official in charge of planning for the game.

Game planners have guarded some information about specific plans. But the week's activities will include a salute to players of early black baseball, which had deep roots in Baltimore, a free Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert and an 8K road race.

Despite the expanded roster of baseball festivities, the centerpiece of the week remains the game.

Relatively few fans will attend the All-Star Game, which matches the stars of the American and National leagues. The ballpark's seating capacity is 48,079. Perhaps 10 times that many tickets could be sold.

The Orioles have not yet announced a ticket distribution policy for the game. Officials say details will come shortly after Opening Day.

But some things seem likely. For example, the best chance for seats is to be a customer with an Orioles 81-game ticket plan. These fans are likely to be able to purchase a like number of All-Star Game seats.

Major League Baseball also will dip into inventories, taking roughly 8,000 to 9,000 tickets to distribute among the 28 major-league teams, All-Star players, baseball's corporate sponsors and members of the media. An additional 400 to 500 seats usually are blocked out for working press who can't be assigned space in the main press box.

The remaining seats probably will be offered to mini-plan holders and sold to the general public.

For fans shut out of the game, the disappointment may be soothed by the added attractions.

In addition to the stars of early black baseball tribute, the week will feature events that have become All-Star Game mainstays. The list includes FanFest, a smorgasbord of baseball displays that will run for three days at the Convention Center.

Visitors can take a swing against Hall of Famers Warren Spahn or Bob Gibson in a pitching simulator or sit in on clinics offered by major-leaguers. The show also includes the largest traveling exhibit of baseball memorabilia.

Tickets for FanFest are on sale now. Fans buy a ticket to enter the building at a prescribed day and time, then may stay until closing.

For those who don't mind catching a glimpse of the ballpark, there is an off-beat tripleheader on Monday, the day before the game. That day, Camden Yards plays host to an All-Star workout, a home run contest among baseball's premier sluggers and an old-timers' game.

Those tickets haven't gone on sale yet. Expect more information shortly after Opening Day.

Then there is the game itself. Fans without tickets shouldn't be too let down. The game figures to be back in Baltimore again, maybe in 35 years.

All-Star Week schedule

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Thursday, July 8

* Orioles vs. White Sox, 7:35 p.m.

* All-Star concert, post-game

* All-Star FanFest, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Friday, July 9

* All-Star FanFest, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

* Orioles vs. White Sox, 7:35 p.m.

* All-Star umbrella giveaway

Saturday, July 10

* All-Star FanFest, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

* Orioles vs. White Sox, 3 p.m.

* Stars of early black baseball tribute, pre-game

All-Star symphony concert at Rash Field, 8 p.m.

Sunday, July 11

* All-Star Game 8K Home Run Road Race, TBA.

* All-Star FanFest, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

* Orioles vs. White Sox, 1:35 p.m.

* All-Star logo pin giveaway

Monday, July 12

* All-Star FanFest, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

* All-Star workout, noon

AL and NL batting practice

Home-run hitting contest

Heroes of Baseball old-timers' games

Tuesday, July 13

* All-Star FanFest, 9 a.m.-end of game.

* 64th All-Star Game, 8:30 p.m.

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