One goal for franchises that host the Eastern League All-Star Game is finding a way to make it a fun and memorable two-day event, as opposed to bringing out fans on game day alone.
The Curve announced Monday the schedule of events for next year's All-Star festivities at Peoples Natural Gas Field, and the highlight of the first day will be a unique softball game fans can attend.
The showcase will feature the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team, made up of veterans who have lost limbs while serving their country, taking on a team of stars affiliated with the Curve. That group could include some of the franchise's big alumni names, such as Adam Hyzdu and others who have finished their baseball careers.
Brad Eldred also could be a possibility, provided he's not still playing baseball. Eldred, who spent the 2013 season in Japan, has not been back to Altoona since last playing for the Curve in 2005.
The Wounded Warriors team travels the country playing games, making the inspirational group interesting for fans. The fact that they could be facing former Curve stars returning to Altoona should make for a unique contest.
The Curve will be hosting the EL All-Star Game for the second time, the first coming in 2006, when rocker Eddie Money performed a concert on the field the first day.
EL All-Star Stop
When: July 15-16, 2014
Where: Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona
Events: Wounded Warriors softball game, Blast Off hitting challenge, fanfest, All-Star Clash
The franchise is calling its two-day festivities (July 15-16) the Eastern League All-Star Stop, and the game itself will be called the All-Star Clash.
"We could think of no better way to begin the Eastern League All-Star Stop than to pay tribute to some of our country's true heroes," Curve general manager Rob Egan said of the softball game. "The Wounded Warrior softball players are bound to inspire all in attendance with their heroism, courage and will to overcome challenges."
After the softball game, the Curve will host an All-Star Blast Off hitting challenge involving some of the league's top sluggers. Those events will take place July 15.
The next day, the franchise will host a fanfest prior to the All-Star Game for people to be able to meet the players and the Wounded Warrior softball team members. The ballpark also will be open for fans to watch batting practice.
The All-Star Game itself is expected to draw close to 10,000 fans, and the crowd could surpass the ballpark record 10,116 that was on hand for this year's exhibition game against the Pirates. Egan said having that many fans still made for a good ballpark setting but added the franchise will be cautious about going too much higher and making things uncomfortable for fans.
Tickets will be sold for each individual day or in a package that includes both days. The prices:
n Rail Kings: $12 first day, $18 second day or $22 for both days
n Diamond Club: $10 first day, $16 second day or $20 for both days
n Terrace: $8 first day, $14 second day or $18 for both days
n Grandstand: $6 first day, $12 second day or $16 for both days
n General admission bleachers and outfield bleachers: $5 first day, $11 second day or $15 for both days.
The franchise will announce at a later date when tickets will go on sale to the general public. Season-ticket holders get theirs automatically and have first option on buying additional seats.
There's so much planning that goes into an All-Star Game that the Curve knew they had to settle on the framework early.
"We knew getting down the basis of what we wanted to do naming the game, logo, tickets, all that - was critically important to get done early," Egan said.