PNG Field set to host 2014 EL All-Star Game

The Curve will host the Eastern League All-Star Game for the second time in franchise history next season on July 16, 2014.

Fans attending Altoona’s home opener on April 11 will have the first chance to register for tickets to the game.

“We’re excited to showcase the best talent in the Eastern League to the fans of our region,” Curve general manager Rob Egan said. “We’re also looking forward to showcasing Altoona, Blair County and central Pennsylvania to the players, coaches, team executives and fans throughout the northeast with the various activities we will plan.”

Altoona hosted the 2006 Eastern League All-Star Game and the contest drew 9,308 fans. That mark had stood as the stadium’s record for attendance until Saturday’s crowd of 10,116.

“The relationship between the Curve and the Altoona community exemplifies all that is good about minor league baseball,” Eastern League president Joe McEacharn said. “The opportunity to put the spotlight on this relationship, the opportunity to reward Curve fans and supporters, and the knowledge that the Curve will put on a first-rate show for players and fans alike makes this an easy decision.”

Field conditions

The beautiful weather and hundreds of fans on blankets taking in the game from beyond the outfield fence was in stark contrast to the blankets of snow that laid on Peoples Natural Gas Field just days before.

“Sunday night we got about 6 inches of snow,” Altoona Curve head groundskeeper Ben Young said. “We had the tarp on to keep the dirt from getting soaked. We weren’t able to get on the field until Wednesday.”

Whether or not the game would be played was still in question midweek.

“We did a month’s worth of work in a few days,” Young said. “When we got that first batch of snow on Sunday, I was worried. I knew this infield dries out pretty well, so I thought we’d be OK. The weather the last couple days really helped.”

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was impressed with the field.

“This is my first trip to the ballpark and the clubhouse,” Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “Our players speak highly of [Peoples Natural Gas Field], and our organization speaks highly of it.

“The proximity of the park to PNC is an asset,” Hurdle said. “I mean, it’s just a great place to play. Minor league baseball fields have improved leaps and bounds since I played.”

Feelin’ blue

The bagel known as Blueberry Bob won a massive mascot race just before the fifth inning that included the other bagels, the Pittsburgh pierogies, Steamer, Diesel Dawg, Al Tuna and a moose.