Baseball’s Mile High All-Star Game Has Plenty To Offer Fans, Sports Bettors

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For only the second time since it opened in 1995, Denver’s Coors Field will host Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Events surrounding the game, which is set for July 13 at 5:30 p.m. local time, begin July 9 when “Play Ball Park” at the Colorado Convention Center opens. The week will be filled with events, autograph opportunities, and plenty of baseball.

On the sports betting front, it won’t hurt that there are no other major sporting events on the calendar for Monday and Tuesday. The Stanley Cup Finals, UEFA Euro 2020, and Wimbledon are all either finished or will be by Sunday night, while the NBA Finals will be dark on Monday and Tuesday before Wednesday’s Game Four. And that bodes well for wagering on the All-Star Game.

“We expect the interest to be very high — there is nothing else happening in sports Monday or Tuesday,” Jay Croucher, head of U.S. trading for PointsBet, told CoBets. “It’s the only thing in town … and everywhere else.”

The All-Star Game was canceled in 2020 amid COVID-19 shutdowns. The 2019 tilt was at Progressive Field in Cleveland, and the American League won, 4-3. In 1998, when Coors Field last hosted the midsummer classic, the AL won, 13-8, in the first ASG game played in the Mountain Time Zone.

Activations, gear in plans for bookmakers

Colorado sportsbooks are offering myriad wagering opportunities on the All-Star Game, and Rockies partners BetFred and WynnBet, as well as PointsBet, whose U.S. operations are headquartered in Denver, will have the opportunity to create more brand recognition in Denver. BetFred has a banner in left field that will be on display during the game and the Home Run Derby. A company spokesperson also said it will offer a special wagering bonus on BetFredSports.com, but odds for the game were not yet live as of Thursday. BetFred is also partnered with the NFL Broncos and former Broncos star Rod Smith, while WynnBet announced its partnership with the Rockies this week.

PointsBet has multiple partnerships in Colorado, including with the NFL Broncos, NHL Avalanche, University of Colorado, and the Korn Ferry Tour’s TPC Colorado. Denver is dotted with PointsBet billboards, bus signs, and other advertisements. The company will leverage its location and staff with multiple events throughout the week, including having a setup all week at Mile High Spirits, a block from Coors Field.

The game, said Croucher, should breathe some life into the Colorado baseball — and baseball betting — scene. The Rockies are sitting second-to-last in the NL West, and their 7-33 road record as of Friday morning could become the worst ever in MLB.

“I think it will be a really significant betting event, it’s the first time people going to the game will be able to bet on it [at the game],” Croucher said. “There is always going to be high bettor interest in local events. For example, for Avalanche games, we take four times more betting action than on other NHL games. This being a major event being based in Colorado, it will be a huge event.”

All-Star week schedule

Major League Baseball has a host of events planned for the week, in addition to Play Ball Park, which will be open daily. Here’s a look:

Saturday, July 10: Meet mascots from around the league at the finish line of the MLB All-Star 5K, which starts at 9 a.m. MT at Civic Center Park.

Sunday, July 11: For the first time in history, MLB will host the first round of its amateur draft during All-Star Week. Fans can watch the draft in person beginning at 5 p.m. at the Bellco Theater at the Colorado Convention Center. Before the draft, there will be two games at Coors Field. The MLB All-Star Futures Game starts at 1 p.m. and the first pitch of the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game is set for 4 p.m. Former MLB stars Vinny Castilla and LaTroy Hawkins will serve as managers for the Futures Game.

Monday, July 12: At 5,200 feet above sea level, Coors Field is a dream for home run hitters, so expect one of the most thrilling Home Run Derbies in history. The event begins at 6 p.m. and, according to The Sporting News, 2019 winner Pete Alonso will be back to defend his title, along with MLB home run leader Shohei Ohtani,  hometown favorite Trevor Story, Joey Gallo, Trey Mancini, Matt Olson, Juan Soto, and Salvador Perez. Earlier in the day, beginning at 3 p.m., fans can buy tickets to watch All-Star Workout Day, during which players take batting practice and prep for Tuesday’s game.

Tuesday, July 13: Besides the main event at 5:30 p.m., fans can catch baseball’s version of the red carpet, as players will be filmed for the MLB Network’s “All-Star Red Carpet Show.”

Beanie Baby madness

Beanie Babies — the small, stuffed toys that are filled with plastic pellets, rather than traditional stuffing — were all the rage at the 1998 All-Star Game. The toys made their debut in 1993 and were a hot commodity by the time the Coors Field contest rolled around. Fans at that game got “Glory,” a white Beanie Baby bear decorated with blue and red stars and an American flag on its chest.

The Beanie Babies, which are still available on eBay, were in high demand on game day, with buyers lurking in the stairwells and throughout the ballpark offering hundreds of dollars for the toys. Padres pitcher Mark Melancon, who was born and raised in Colorado, might still have his Beanie Baby:

Suffice to say, this author didn’t make the same mistake, cashing in immediately.

Jill has covered everything from steeplechase to the NFL and then some during a more than 30-year career in sports journalism. The highlight of her career was covering Oakland Raiders during the Charles Woodson/Jon Gruden era, including the infamous “Snow Bowl” and the Raiders’ 2003 trip to Super Bowl XXXVII. Her specialty these days is covering sports betting legislation across the country.

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