The countdown is on! In less than a month, baseball’s biggest names will be in the Twin Cities for an All-American celebration: Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.

This is the third Mid-Summer Classic the Twins have been honored to host. The week-long event has been in the works for well over a year. MLB’s top executives were at Target Field last summer to reveal the ASG14 logo, featuring Target Field’s canopy overhang and a shadowed downtown skyline.

Since Target Field opened, the Twins have celebrated the experience of outdoor baseball and the teams rich history. Major League Baseball will do that too on July 15.

“When we eventually come to the ground here next summer,” Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President for Business, said, “we’ll celebrate that history. The ’87 and ’91 Championship teams. The legacies of Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven. Twins greats like Tony Oliva and Kent Hrbek.”

New legacies are playing out this season. Veteran Twins Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins already have All-Star Game appearances on their resumes. Getting the chance to represent their home state would make this year’s game all the more special. Minor league prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano participated in the 2013 Futures game.

Brosnan said the rest of the world is going to find out what Twins fans hold true: the club prides itself on tradition. Baseball is a part of the Twin Cities culture — and Minnesota is an amazing place to be.

“The All-Star Game is a celebration of the whole state, not just Minneapolis and St. Paul,” Joe Mauer, six-time All-Star, said. “A lot of people are going to travel here and be really impressed, as they should.”

If history holds true, fans can expect a roster of future Hall of Famers at Target Field. They don’t call it the Mid-Summer Classic for nothing!

The two previous Minnesota All-Star Games were truly classics. Not because of what happened during the game, but because of who was there.

The 1965 game at Metropolitan Stadium had 18 Hall of Famers playing it in. The game resulted in a 6-5 victory for the National League. Legends like Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Cofax, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays took the field.

Twenty years later, 14 eventual Hall of Famers played at the All-Star Game at the Metrodome. Several players with ties to Minnesota, including Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, Dave Winfield, returned home to play. Cal Ripken Jr, Tom Brunansky, Bert Blyleven, Ozzie Smith and Nolan Ryan joined them. The National League also won that game 6-1.

Minnesota baseball is respected across the league. Twin Cities baseball camps, thriving youth programs and commitments to park and ball field maintenance are well known. While kids can only play outdoor baseball for a few months, their passion and practice for the sport is year-round.

“I fulfilled my dream of playing there and by being able to come back for the ’85 All-Star Game. Some of the guys, who also grew up in the city, got to represent it too. It feels good when people from around the country talk about Minnesota baseball,” said Molitor, 2014 All-Star Ambassador.

This year’s event is expected to bring 160,000 fans to the Twin Cities. Using estimates from past games, the city of Minneapolis anticipates a $75 million boost in the local economy. Minneapolis says the 1987 and 1991 World Series brought in $71 million and $76 million, respectively.

The city will allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. on the Monday and Tuesday night of the All-Star Game. Similar measures were made during the Republican National Convention. Police say it helps with crowd control, to give people more time to leave the downtown area. Bars, as you can imagine, enjoy bringing in the additional revenue.

As the week of festivities draws closer, more details about upcoming events are revealed.

More than 40 Hall of Famers, Twins legends and fan favorites will be at the Minneapolis Convention Center for Fanfest. A full schedule of appearances and events can be found here.

A free concert at TCF Bank Stadium featuring Imagine Dragons and local hip hop group, Atmosphere, has sold out.

All-Star Week at Target Field kicks off July 13 with the futures game and celebrity softball game. Athletes including Kevin Love, Zach Parise, Adrian Peterson and Maya Moore are participating. Local celebrities like Andrew Zimmern and James Denton will also play along with other music, TV and sports stars.

On Monday, July 14, MLB’s biggest hitters will step up to the plate for the Home Run Derby. There’s still time to vote. WCCO’s Twins Bloggers, myself included, shared our ballots and explained how we vote. Since there’s no right way, we have very different methods.

The 85th MLB All-Star Game is July 15 at Target Field, and there are various events throughout the week. The Peanuts statutes will be on display at FanFest at the Minneapolis Convention Center from July 11-15.


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