Imagine it is Spring Training 1988. The Reds, a decade removed from their Big Red Machine heyday, now have a third-year shortstop by the name of Barry Larkin and are managed by former machine hero Pete Rose. With a rotation anchored by Tom Browning and newly acquired Danny Jackson, the Reds were on the upturn after the mostly quiet early 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s.
Yet, the buzz wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t surrounding the chances, long as they may be, of a Reds playoff birth, rather it was focused on the first All-Star Game hosted in Cincinnati since the infamous plate collision between Pete Rose and Ray Fosse in 1970.
Nearly three decades removed from 1988, history tells us that the Reds were two years away from the fifth World Series, Jackson and Browning would be the best pitching tandem in the league, and Larkin would earn his first of twelve All-Star nods. Rose would also retire after the season and permanently lose his Hall of Fame eligibility in 1989. But for one day during the 1988 season (two, technically considering BrowningÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s perfect game) all eyes were on Cincinnati.
Now 2015, the hype for the All-Star GameÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s return to the Queen City is not all that different from 1988. Sure there isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the Rose/Fosse cloud hanging over the stadium nor do the Reds have championship banners from the past decade looming as a constant reminder, but the team makeup is similar.
The current team has an ace in Johnny Cueto much like Browning; we have a young guy, Devin Mesoraco, who could rattle off twelve ASG appearances much like Larkin; and we have a bullpen just as lethal as the Nasty Boys, maybe missing one key piece, as they were missing Randy Myers in 1988.
Despite the general feeling of pessimism polluting the Ohio River, there is always hope for this Reds team. At the very least, all of the eyes of baseball will be on us in mid-July, treating Reds fans to the prestige that baseball in the city used to hold.
Where there isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hope, unless you are a season ticket holder or corporate friend of the MLB, is in attending the triumphant return of the All Star Game to Cincinnati.
When I first heard the news that the game was coming to Cincy, I immediately began scheming the logistics of how to find tickets and travel north on a college studentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s budget. The opportunity to see the best players in all the sport perform in arguably the most baseball crazy city in the country was not something I was willing to miss. Until I started to search for tickets and realized that the peak of baseball exhibition games is not meant for those with limited assets.
For the ordinary Reds fan that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t own season ticketsÃ¢â‚¬â€maybe living out of state or canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t afford the commitmentÃ¢â‚¬â€but who would like to attend the All Star Game, the only way to obtain tickets is to register for the ticket lottery or buy third party tickets
Prospects for both of those routes are slim. The ticket lottery is comprised of an Ã¢â‚¬Å“extremely limitedÃ¢â‚¬Â supply as per MLB spokesmen and third party tickets are already selling for $350.00 just for standing room only. If you would like a seat, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll cost you closer to $600. Also, winning the lottery only affords you the opportunity to purchase a ticket, which will run at whatever price the MLB decides to charge season ticket holders, presumably around $400.
Reds fans that do hold either full-season or half-season tickets are automatically given the opportunity to purchase tickets. These tickets include passes to all All-Star Game weekend festivities including the Home Run Derby, the Futures Game, and the Celebrity Softball Game. The lottery and season ticket holders will commandeer half of the stadiumÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s capacity, or about 21,000 tickets. All of the remaining tickets will go to MLB, the other teams, and corporate sponsors.
So what is the best way to attend the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati? Quickly apply for any and all jobs relating to the MLB. Otherwise, it will cost a small fortune to get into the stadium; seats, not even good seats, will be extra.
As a die-hard Reds fan, it hurts to know that I will have to watch this one on TV much like the rest of the country. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no telling when the All Star Game will ever be back in Cincinnati. At the rate itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going, the game becoming a completely corporate affair is not outside the realm of possibility.
The moral of the story is the All-Star Game is Big Business. Regardless of the RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ chances, their history, or even free market ethics, Major League Baseball will take care of its own first. MLB knows that fans will still buy tickets to the game regardless of price, so the laws of microeconomics will persuade them to raise ticket prices until we stop buying.
In 1988, Danny Jackson finished with a record of 23-8 and was second in Cy Young voting. It was the last time a Reds pitcher won twenty games in the 20th century and by far the best year of JacksonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 15-year career.
The All-Star Game has always held a special place in the heart of Cincinnatians and Reds fans alike. Three times the Reds have won the Series within five years of hosting the All Star Game. Go to the game if you canÃ¢â‚¬â€ignoring price and inconvenience if possibleÃ¢â‚¬â€because you never know when something will happen for the last time and history will be made.
You can register for the ticket lottery now at allstargame.com or reds.com.