CURVE, Pa. - The Altoona Curve will host the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Game, the team and the Eastern League announced Saturday. The announcement was made by Curve general manager Rob Egan and Eastern League president Joe McEacharn in front of a standing-room only crowd at Peoples Natural Gas Field during the fifth inning of the Pirates-Curve exhibition game.
It's the second time in franchise history that the Eastern League's version of the Midsummer Classic will be played in Altoona. The Curve also hosted the All-Star Game in 2006, while the 2014 edition will be played on Wednesday, July 16.
The 2014 Eastern League All-Star Game will feature the premier players from the top Major League Baseball organizations in the Eastern League and will be a centerpiece to the activities that will take place across the two-day All-Star Break, which runs from July 15-16. Current Major League stars who have played in previous Eastern League All-Star Games include Ryan Howard (2004), Jose Bautista (2005), Hanley Ramirez (2005) and Matt Garza (2006). Current Pirates Jeff Locke and Starling Marte were both named Eastern League All-Stars during the 2011 season while playing with Altoona.
As with the previous All-Star Game in Altoona, there will be several ballpark and community events leading up to and surrounding the game on July 16, including an event the night before the game at the ballpark. Details about events leading up to the game will be announced closer to the 2014 season.
"We're excited to showcase the best talent in the Eastern League to the fans of our region," Egan said. "We're also looking forward to showcasing Altoona, Blair County and Central Pennsylvania to the players, coaches, team executives and fans from throughout the northeast with the various activities we will plan."
Prior to Saturday's exhibition game against the Pirates, the 2006 Eastern League All-Star Game held the record for the largest single-game attendance in franchise history, with 9,308 fans packing the ballpark. Curve hometown favorite Brett Roneberg grabbed All-Star MVP honors back in '06 as the South Division bested the North, 5-3. Kip Bouknight, who was pitching for Harrisburg but joined the Curve later in the season, was named Pitcher of the Game with three scoreless innings.
"It is with a great deal of excitement that we announce plans to bring the Eastern League's showcase event back to Altoona in 2014," McEacharn said. "The relationship between the Curve and the Altoona community exemplifies all that is good about Minor League Baseball. The opportunity to put the spotlight on this relationship, the opportunity to reward Curve fans and supporters and the knowledge that the Curve will put on a first-rate show for players and fans alike makes this an easy decision.
"To announce the game on a very special day like this reinforces the commitment this franchise has made to the community."
Ticket information for the general public for the 2014 All-Star Game will be announced at a later date, while tickets for the game itself will be included in all 2014 Curve full-season ticket packages. Fans in the general public will be given an opportunity to place themselves on a presale list for All-Star tickets simply by attending this season's Curve home opener on April 11 against Harrisburg. Those in attendance for the 6:30 p.m. game can place themselves on the presale list by signing up at the Laurel Eye Clinic Customer Service Booth, located behind home plate on the main concourse at Peoples Natural Gas Field or at the other signup station located in the Curve Stockyard Store on the upper concourse.
The 2013 Eastern League All-Star Game will be played on July 10 at New Britain Stadium, home of the New Britain Rock Cats.
Altoona officially opens its 15th season of baseball on April 4 at Jerry Uht Park in Erie, where it will take on the SeaWolves (Double-A, Tigers). After a weeklong road trip, the Curve return to Peoples Natural Gas Field on Thursday, April 11 against the Senators at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call (877) 99-CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the box offices at Peoples Natural Gas Field.