By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media
Baseball, it was America’s game. For decades fans would flock to stadiums across the United States to see their favorite teams and players. Even the triple A Denver Bears would brings in big crowds to Bear’s Stadium to see them play.
But with the fast growing popularity of NFL and NBA that passion for baseball has waned significantly. The New York Times reported that “attendance at Major League Baseball games has been declining since 2012. About 68.5 million fans attended major league games during the 2019 regular season, down from a peak of nearly 80 million in 2007.”
The report goes on to state that “According to YouGov’s ratings of active sports personalities, 91 percent of Americans have heard of LeBron James and 88 percent have heard of Tom Brady, but only 43 percent have heard of Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, baseball’s best player.”
Cue baseball’s All Star Game. Recognizing the decline in popularity, Major League Baseball is making an all out effort to get people, especially young people excited in baseball once again. In Denver this week it is an all out affair with tons of activities to entice everyone to join in the action.
With the Play Ball Park five day event at the Denver Convention Center that effort is apparently working. It has become the toughest ticket in town to get. The event is free but getting tickets has become nearly impossible.
Arturo Rodriquez told Latin Life Denver that although his grand kids were part of the opening ceremony for the event he has been trying to get a ticket since May and has had no luck. As of this writing tickets are available for Tuesday July 13. Act fast.
100,000 people are expected to attend and participate in the many activities and exhibits inside the convention center over the five days. There three full size baseball fields for kids to play in. Several pitching and batting cages, including T-ball cages, lots of games and prizes for everyone. Fans can get signed autographs and photos from some of their favorite players. They will gladly take selfies with them well. I played a few of the games and won some pretty cool stuff. I would have stayed more than the two hours I was there had it not been for a parking meter.
Beloved former Rockies third baseman Vinny Castilla made an appearance and was serenaded by the Denver based Mariachi group Sol de mi Tierra.
There are several exhibits including a large area for the Negro Leagues, championship trophies, a huge Rockies souvenir store and much more.
I would have liked to have seen an exhibit dedicated to the participation and influence of Latino baseball players over the years. Latinos such as Minnie Miñoso, Alfonso Carrasquel, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Clemente, and Louis Aparicio made it acceptable for the general public to embrace Latino baseball players in Major League Baseball. Three of these, Clemente, Cepeda, and Aparicio, would be among the first Latinos elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Latinos account for nearly 30 percent of Major League baseball players.
Hopefully more tickets will be made available. You can check for tickets at https://www.mlb.com/all-star/tickets