The Portland Beavers, PGE Park and the City of Portland will play host to the 2009 Triple-A All-Star Game and its surrounding events, it was announced today in a special news conference at PGE Park in downtown Portland. The multiple-day event will take place in July 2009 and feature elements that showcase the City of Portland and the entire state of Oregon on a national stage.
(Look for an interview with Portland Beavers owner Merritt Paulson tomorrow on The Biz of Baseball)
The Triple-A All-Star Game, which will be celebrating its 22nd year in 2009, features the top players from Minor League Baseball’s top two leagues – the Pacific Coast League and International League – in a head-to-head contest that is annually broadcast to a national television audience on ESPN2. In recent years, the game has evolved from a one-day competition into a week-long, city-wide celebration. Additional events planned surrounding the 2009 Triple-A All-Star Game in Portland include a home run derby and skills competition, All-Star Fan Fest and autograph sessions, All-Star Gala, All-Star Luncheon and several other events to mark the historic event.
“The 2009 Triple-A All-Star Game will be a national showcase for the city of Portland, our rich baseball tradition and our outstanding fans,” said Merritt Paulson, owner and president of the Beavers. “We are honored to be selected by Triple-A Baseball as the host city, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to showcase Portland and our wonderful ballpark during this prestigious event.”
Today’s announcement marks the first time the combined Triple-A All-Star Game has been awarded to Portland. The city played host to Pacific Coast League All-Star Games in 1945, 1956 and 1962 previously.
"It is an honor that Portland and PGE Park have been chosen to host an event of this magnitude," said Portland Mayor Tom Potter. "This is a wonderful opportunity for the City of Portland, as the all-star game will be played in front of a national television audience and will undoubtedly bring great benefit to our community for some time into the future."
Since its introduction in 1988, the Triple-A All-Star Game has attracted more than 250,000 fans to a host of premier cities and ballparks. The 2007 game was played in Albuquerque, N.M., as the International League defeated the Pacific Coast League 7-5 in a spirited game that drew 12,367 fans to Isotopes Park and thousands more to an impressive variety of city-inspired events. The annual game, which rotates among PCL and IL host cities each year, will be played in Louisville, Ky., in 2008. Recent games have been held in Toledo (2006), Sacramento (2005), Pawtucket (2004), Memphis (2003), Oklahoma City (2002) and Indianapolis (2001).
“In choosing Portland, the Beavers and PGE Park for hosting the Triple-A All-Star Game, the Pacific Coast League and the International League continue a tradition of showcasing our classification, our best markets and our premier facilities,” said Branch B. Rickey III, president of the Pacific Coast League. “Given the widely known, successful turnaround by the Beavers, both leagues see the 2009 game as an expected shining example of the continued growth of our most glamorous Triple-A game.”
The original Triple-A All-Star format featured a game in which players from National League organizations played against those from American League organizations. The game took its current format in 1998, now pitting players from the Pacific Coast League against players from the International League in the midseason contest for Triple-A bragging rights. All 30 organizations that comprise Major League Baseball are annually represented in the game.
Major league stars who have played in past Triple-A All-Star Games include Derek Jeter, Pedro Martinez, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Todd Helton, Kenny Lofton, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Piazza, Garret Anderson, Bernie Williams and Brian Giles.
Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.
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