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 80’s.

Yet, the buzz wasn’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 Browning’s perfect game) all eyes were on Cincinnati.

Now 2015, the hype for the All-Star Game’s return to the Queen City is not all that different from 1988. Sure there isn’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 isn’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 student’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 doesn’t own season tickets—maybe living out of state or can’t afford the commitment—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 “extremely limited” 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, it’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 stadium’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. There’s no telling when the All Star Game will ever be back in Cincinnati. At the rate it’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 Reds’ 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 Jackson’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 can—ignoring price and inconvenience if possible—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 or

13 Responses

  1. Tom Gray

    My Dad’s company (Husman’s Potato Chips) had season tickets to Reds games so I attended in 1970 as a teenager (18 but still in that category). We were in Green box seats right above home plate. Perfect view of Rose and Fosse collision.

    I did not attend in 1988. I lived out of town and Dad had retired. My niece worked for the Reds in 2014 so I hoped to attend the 2015 game but she took another job in town.

    The 1970 game delivered lots of lasting memories for my brother and me.

  2. T

    I live in Minneapolis and it was a blast being around for this years ASG. My wife and I watched for tickets– it was $500 for the 3-pack that they sell to season ticket holders (Futures, Home Run Derby, ASG). People that had gotten these for being season ticket holders were selling them separated. We could have done SRO for ~200-250, and a seat for 300+. Now I’m just debating taking the trip back to Cincy (and forking over some cash!) for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  3. Thegaffer

    All I remember of that 88 game is Sabo pinch running. The fans went ape . . .

  4. Dale Pearl

    Greatest play in allstar history. Rose over Fosse. Baseball meets football. The allstar game now is just worthless to,watch. Nobody gives 100 percent and players use it only to cash in on their celebrity status. On a positive hopefully the Reds make enough money to be able to afford,a free agent next year that is under the age of 32.

    • Drew

      I think the ASG is not only very watchable but very good. Have you watched the ASG of the other major sports? Now those are unwatchable…

  5. Drew

    I know getting tickets to the ASG this year was going to be outside my price range, so I thought I would look into getting tickets to the Sunday Futures game, but I can’t seem to find out when or if they will even be sold. From what little info I have gotten it appears like they won’t, that they will be a “package” deal with the ASG, in that you have to but a strip, or a tix to each of the three events. So, I am hoping that the secondary market for the future game tix are not to outragous…

    • lwblogger2

      Yeah, the secondary market is going to be the only way to get those tickets. I wouldn’t think they’d fetch as much as the AS Game.

  6. chezpayton

    “Bullpen just as lethal as the nasty boys” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH come on man. I try to be optimistic about this upcoming season but that’s downright blasphemy. The Reds bullpen of 2014 is the meerkat to th Nasty Boys’ jaguar. Jaguars are better than meerkats at baseball.

    • VaRedsFan

      I reacted the same way. The current Reds only have 1 Nasty Boy.

      • Wesley Jenkins

        I realize that its a stretch and I knew that when I wrote it, but the ’88 Reds only had Dibble and Charlton which is what I was referencing. With Marshall healthy (ludicrous assumption I know), he and Chapman make up a similar back of the bullpen to Dibble and Charlton, maybe even better.

  7. Tom Reed

    The Home Run Derby should be quite a show at GABP.

  8. Ohioindiaspora

    Is our bullpen really as nasty as the nasty boys???

  9. Ohioindiaspora

    they beat me to that comment, but hey, we did just sign Chapman!