The 2021 All-Star Game is in the books! It was a crazy week for all of us, but it was also a blast. The Purple Row staff enjoyed it from all angles, and here are our stories:
I was nine years old the last time the All-Star Game came to Denver. My family spent a day at the Play Ball Park (or whatever it was called in 1998), my dad took my sister to the Home Run Derby, and he took me to the actual All-Star Game. The truth is that I don’t remember much outside the pregame intros, Robbie Alomar’s home run, and looking at all the big names on the scoreboard. Seriously, go check the Baseball-Reference box score: 11 of the 18 starters are in the Hall of Fame, not including Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire (the year he broke the home run record), or Alex Rodriguez.
This year’s game boasted one of the youngest average age of any All-Star Game in history. That youth bears exciting potential for the game but also means that we may have just seen a dozen or more future Hall of Famers. And that thought gives me giddy chills.
One thing I most enjoyed was seeing how many fans of different teams were at Coors Field this week. Not only were there the standard Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs fans, but Nationals, Royals, Pirates, and even Marlins fans. Sure, most of those people probably moved to Denver in the last three years (I kid... mostly). But the diversity of jerseys was legitimately exciting and made those random conversations with fans in the stands interesting, from talking prospects at the Futures Game to learning who Quavo and J.I.I.D. are at the Celebrity Softball Game.
Oh, and the dingers. Watching Pete Alonso, Juan Soto, and Shohei Ohtani go ham at the Derby was definitely a top five live sporting experience of my life. Maybe we can convince MLB to let Coors host the (or at least a) Home Run Derby every year!
I’ll (hopefully) be an old man by the time the next All Star Game comes to Denver. And I just hope I get to spend it with my boys and their kids, and reminisce about which new generation of Hall of Famers I’ll be witnessing.
Coming out of the three days I spent at and around Coors Field for the All-Star Weekend, my legs ache, I’m sunburned despite copious application of sunscreen, my voice is shot, and I think I sweat more than I have in my entire life. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. Getting to spend All-Star weekend at my home ballpark and make amazing memories with dear friends was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Every day was an absolute blast. My only regret is not getting to meet Larry Walker, but I did take a photo with a life-sized standee of him. That’s almost as good for now.
On Sunday I got to cheer my prospects in the Futures Game and was treated with a Michael Toglia home run, only to follow that up with a Vinny Castilla home run in the absolutely delightful Celebrity Softball Game. On Monday I spent all day at the fantastic Play Ball Park, soaking in some very cool exhibits, embarrassing myself at the pitching cages, and redeeming that embarrassment by BREAKING A BALL in the batting cages (they let me keep it). I also got to meet Preston Wilson and Chris Iannetta — whom I idolized as a kid — and Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers. Screaming myself hoarse for Trevor Story in the Home Run Derby capped off the day and watching players hit towering moonshots was incredible. I treated myself to sleeping in on Tuesday before meeting Ryan Spilborghs on the 16th Street Mall was the best way to start the afternoon before heading to the stadium — but not before a trip to Biker Jims. I got to cap off my weekend with an incredibly entertaining All-Star Game in a packed Coors Field with standing ovations for Germán Márquez and Nolan Arenado as they made Colorado proud yet again... Even if Nolan is no longer on the Rockies.
I would also like to thank my amazing colleagues at Purple Row. Getting to meet those of you I could and talk shop in person was delightful and I love working with all of you. Joining up this year has been a dream come true, and I couldn’t do any of this without you. Here’s to you guys!
My favorite moment was spending the day with my mom — who loves baseball and has passed that love on to me — and my wife — a new baseball fan who is embracing the Rockies despite how hard they make it — at PlayBall Park. It was overwhelming to walk into a baseball paradise and feel like a kid again. We attended panels, being inspired by professional women baseball players and women coaches and gaining insight into Aaron Cook’s thoughts on his All-Star performance and 2008 and his views on the sticky stuff debate. But the best part was the exhibits dedicated to honoring the Negro Leagues, Black history in baseball, the Latino legacy, and the memorabilia in the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, especially from the women who played in World War II to owners that helped save their teams. It puts things in perspective to see all the history and all the amazing trailblazers who loved and played this game, despite barriers, to help make the game what it is today.
I never even fathomed attending the All-Star Game as a fan unless it came to Denver. I now want to go to every single one.
My family and I soaked up the Home Run Derby from the Rooftop, and the most memorable blast of the night came during warmups before the Derby even began. Shohei Ohtani hit the top of the Rooftop: above the seats, above the first standing deck, and off the facing of the second standing deck. (I was about 50 feet away and can still hardly believe it.) Our “Rooftop General Admission” strips put us not in the top deck for the game itself, but in the open area above the bullpens for all nine innings. Ohtani and Max Scherzer warmed up simultaneously, followed by more of the finest arms on the planet.
Lance Lynn showed off one of the smoothest pitching motions out there. Nathan Eovaldi was bringing the heat for a ton of pitches. Chris Bassitt displayed one of my favorite deliveries. Trevor Rogers displayed why he’s a Rookie of the Year leader. Liam Hendriks was getting all sorts of fired up. Mark Melancon was bringing it for his hometown crowd. Germán Márquez was one of those premier arms: that bullpen gate opened for him and it was something special.
I was fortunate enough to attend both the Futures Game and Home Run Derby this past weekend and both were exhilarating in their own way. The derby was like a fireworks show, with bombs being launched in the air in such rapid succession that my attention was rarely drawn to home plate, but rather the outfield fence where I could watch one ball land and then pick up the next mid-flight. It was a surreal experience and is something I am extremely happy I was able to witness. For as much fun as I had on Monday, Sunday may have made me even happier. As a baseball nerd who closely follows players who will be future major leaguers, it was an incredible opportunity to see so many on the field at the same time. The luxury of watching such talented ballplayers on display before they reach the game’s highest stage was as remarkable as I had hoped it would be. Experiencing the two events in-person while watching the broadcast of the actual game allowed me to soak in the entire weekend from all angles and created one of the best experiences I’ve had in watching baseball at 20th and Blake for the past 26 years.
This was my first time experiencing All-Star festivities in person, and it was amazing! The atmosphere at Coors Field was an absolute party, and seeing so many fans from all over the country (and in some cases, the world) was really cool. The Home Run Derby was a bombastic event from start to finish, and is unlike anything I’ve seen before. The epic duel between Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto in the opening round gripped me, and seeing Trevor Story blast a 518-foot moonshot was indescribable. My second night was spent at the All-Star Game, and I’d be lying if I said the tribute video for Hank Aaron didn’t choke me up pretty good. The game itself was fun - how about that clean inning from our own Germán Márquez! - but my absolute highlight of the evenings was meeting and messing around with other fans. I guessed home run distances with Padres fans, talked strategy with Cardinals fans, discussed trades with Mariners fans, and more. Hanging out with so many fun, diverse people, brought together by our common interest in the sport that we all love, was indescribable. How can you not be romantic about baseball?
Everything about the All-Star Game was larger than life, from the PBR-styled Home Run Derby to the more traditional All-Star Game (albeit with terrible uniforms) to all the baseball activities and resources available to fans. However, I want to focus on something very small that’s stayed with me.
With 1:24 remaining in Trevor Story’s first round of the Home Run Derby, he took his 40-second break. When he did, Nolan Arenado met him with some Gatorade and encouragement. At that moment, an already-enthusiastic crowd fired up.
Club confirms it was high quality H2O pic.twitter.com/mvtXFnrXXE— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 13, 2021
As Arenado later explained, “(Trevor) asked me to be his water boy, and I said, ‘No problem, I got you. . . . I was just trying to get the fans hype for ‘Sto’ because he deserved it. He put on a great show.”
Story hit 20 homers in the first round, one for 518 feet, which was enough to get him to the second round, but he got no further. For me, though, the highlight was that timeout when for 40 seconds, the best left side in baseball was back together, and fans got to thank Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story for years of truly great baseball.
Unlike many on our staff, I took in the All-Star Game festivities from the comfort of my home. Sure, I wish I could have experienced the thrill of being in a packed stadium but sitting on my couch didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the events. I watched MLB Network religiously and it was so fun to watch the parade of players coming onto the shows and just talking about their passion and excitement for the game. I don’t usually watch the All-Star Game itself, but I wanted to watch Germán Márquez pitch and I was not disappointed when he came in to pitch the fourth inning. I’ll admit I even got a little emotional after he departed because I was so proud to see a pitcher for the Rockies dominate at Coors Field for the whole world to see. The Home Run Derby was also a highlight as I watched it with my parents on television. It was everything I had hoped it would be despite my bracket predictions immediately being disproven, and even though Trevor Story wasn’t able to win it, my family and I had a blast sitting together and enjoying the atmosphere of the game we love.
One of the joys of parenthood is being able to see things through a child’s eyes again. I was able to take my nine year-old son to Play Ball Park on Monday and see how wide-eyed he was as he saw some Hall-of-Famers and former Rockies. He robbed a home run, had his third-to-home running speed timed, clocked his fastball and bat speed, and got to learn quite a bit about the history of the game. He also got to see his dad get heckled by LaTroy Hawkins for attempting to pitch while wearing flip-flops (70 MPH for what it’s worth). The biggest opportunity of the day was when we got to meet one of my dad’s favorite players and Denver Bears great, Tim Raines. My dad passed on a love of baseball that I am getting to pass down to my son and getting to send a picture to him of his son, his grandson, and the baseball player he most enjoyed watching felt like a perfect full-circle moment to end the event.
This was my first ever All-Star Game. I moved to Denver in 2000 and moved to Arizona in September 2011, so I just barely missed the ASG each time. But I had the unique experience of being credentialed to cover the events, and boy was it exhilarating! Exhausting, but exhilarating.
For me, it was fun to see it a bit from both sides. My partner, who is not a baseball guy, and I attended the Play Ball Park on Saturday night. We went in late, so we only had two hours to do the whole thing, which ended up being enough. I enjoyed being able to walk around and see all of the exhibits and activities, and even my partner enjoyed learning about Hall-of-Famers and the Negro Leagues. It was a ton of fun!
The rest of the week was absolutely non-stop, from an early 9:00am call on Sunday for pregame ahead of the Futures Game until about midnight on Tuesday. I was able to connect with players — some new ones and others who I’ve talked to before — and media alike, and we were also able to meet up as a Purple Row staff during the Celebrity Softball Game and before the Home Run Derby. It was so great to meet everyone!
While I was in the auxiliary press box (Section 207, Row 16 for me) and didn’t have the best view of the field, it was still incredible to experience the energy that the crowd brought to the game. I’m not gonna lie, I was surprised at the number of people who attended the Futures Game (49,012), but in a good way! Then there were two full houses for the Derby and All-Star Game itself and the energy was through the Rooftop! It was also cool to see the energy around the stadium and how well everything came together.
My absolute favorite moment, though, was the on-field BP before the Home Run Derby. I think that was the first moment when it really hit me that I was on the field covering the All-Star Game! It was really hard to not completely fangirl over everything, but I kept my composure.
Despite everything, the Rockies did a fantastic job and I cannot stress that enough. They had a short turnaround, a lot of rookie staff members, and just general challenges that come with hosting and All-Star Game and they nailed it. Sure, there was some chaos, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t have asked for a better first All-Star Game experience!