Cleveland will play host to a record sixth All-Star Game in 2019

Posted at 8:52 AM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2019-05-17 14:05:23-04

For four days each summer every major league ballpark sits quiet but for one, the site selected years in advance for the annual Major League Baseball All-Star game.

It's an event that focuses attention not only the league's best players but also one of its cathedrals with this year's spotlight on the home of the Washington Nationals.

As the Indians send six players to the game, they are not the only representatives from Cleveland. Members of the team's front office, as well as representatives from Destination Cleveland, are also in D.C. to get a feel for the flow of the game and all of the festivities surrounding it since Cleveland will be the host city next year for the 2019 game.

"Some is sort of the geeky stuff," said Destination Cleveland's President and CEO David Gilbert of what they'll be looking at on the trip. "The flow and how they let people in and how they let people out, talking to their security, all kinds of different things," he said. "It gives you a sense of what we can expect."

Cleveland was awarded the 2019 All-Star game by the MLB in January of 2017 and the preparations have been quietly going on since. This will be the team's sixth time hosting the game, which is a major league record and their first time since 1997. In fact, the three largest attended all-star games were all played in Cleveland at old Municipal Stadium with its massive seating capacity packing in 72,086 in 1981 just months after Len Barker's perfect game.

Much like the NFL Draft, the game has emerged into so much more than just a game with festivities as it kicked off in Washington D.C. last Friday with a Fan Fest that bills itself as the largest interactive baseball theme park in the world to "Play Ball Park."  It boasts 56,000 square-feet of baseball and softball activities near the stadium featuring a youth sized turf diamond. There was also a 5K run on Saturday and other attractions like an Old-Timers and Futures game ahead of Monday's Home Run Derby and Tuesday's actual game.

"It's not just about that game, it's about what you can do with that platform to engage the community and get more people to feel a part of it," said Gilbert.

The All-Star game draws crowds from far and near with an estimated economic impact for Cleveland next year of around $65 million, about a third of what the RNC brought in in 2016.

"And then you tie that into Cleveland still being a finalist for other major events like the NBA All-Star game, the NFL Draft, the NCAA Women's Final Four. I mean there is a real chance that not only are we going to have this one premier event but we could have multiple years potentially that you could almost look at its sort of the next really big thing after the RNC for Cleveland," he said.