Tacoma Hosts 2017 All-Star Game

The Rainiers hosted a major press conference on Wednesday afternoon, announcing that Tacoma and Cheney Stadium have been selected to host the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game.

The game, pitting the top players of the International League against the Pacific Coast League, will be played on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. There will also be a Home Run Derby on Monday, July 10.

The Triple-A All-Star Game has become the focus of baseball on the day after the MLB All-Star Game. All of the big leagues are off, and it’s an empty day on the schedule throughout the upper-level minor leagues. It’s become a large enough event that now the MLB Network televises it live across the nation.

It’s an honor to be selected to host the game, and it’s going to shine a pretty bright light on our city and ballpark.

Hosting the game has been in the works for a while – I recall Rainiers team president Aaron Artman talking about it when the stadium was renovated prior to the 2011 season. It’s been a goal of Aaron and team ownership for several years, and now it will come to fruition.

There have been lots of questions about tickets, here’s what we’ve got right now:

Tacoma Rainiers season ticket holders will be able to buy Triple-A All-Star Game tickets with their package next year. So if you’re buying/renewing season tickets for 2017, don’t worry about it, your All-Star ticket options will be presented with your renewal in the Fall.

If you aren’t a season ticket holder, but want to be an early bird on the All-Star tickets, the Rainiers created an All-Star Fast Pass package. This gets you a ticket to the Triple-A All-Star Game, the All-Star Home Run Derby, and five 2016 Rainiers home games. More info is here, with the phone number to call.

Cheney Stadium has hosted an all-star game before, but it wasn’t the Triple-A All-Star Game.

From 1973 to 1975 the PCL played its own all-star game, when the league had just eight teams divided up into two divisions. The all-stars from each division played against one another.

Tacoma hosted the PCL All-Star Game on July 16, 1974, with the PCL East defeating the PCL West, 8-1. Mariners pitching instructor Rick Waits was a starting pitcher in this game, representing Spokane.

The league all-star game was not very successful in the mid-1970s, and it was abolished after the 1975 season. The PCL was not involved in any all-star games until the Triple-A All-Star Game was created in 1988 – and it was an instant success, with the first one drawing 19,500 fans in Buffalo.

The Rainiers open a four-game home series against Reno tonight, and this should be somewhat revealing of what is to come in the battle for the Pacific-North division title.

Tacoma leads the division, and second-place Reno is four games back. The two teams play the first of 16 head-to-head contests tonight.

Reno is coming in hot, having won four of its last five games, and going 18-10 after starting the season in a 12-18 slog. Outfielder Peter O’Brien is on a mega-tear (see below), and he leads the minor leagues with 17 homers.

And then there are the Rainiers, who are an amazing 21-6 in home games and a rather pedestrian 13-18 on the road. Tacoma has won 14 of its last 16 home games.

Will Tacoma continue its home dominance and win the series against hard-charging Reno, and open up a large lead in the division? Or will Reno slow down Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium mojo? We’ll find out this weekend.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers were off on Wednesday, which was needed after a 13-2 drubbing at the hands of Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon at Cashman Field. Tacoma dropped that series, three games to one, and went 2-6 at Cashman this year. The good news is Tacoma doesn’t have to go there again.

Roster Move: Outfielder Stefen Romero reports today, and the club activate Joe Wieland from the disabled list before Tuesday’s game. To make room, on Tuesday pitcher Mayckol Guaipe was placed on the disabled list with a right forearm strain, and today pitcher Sam Gaviglio was transferred to Double-A Jackson. Also, we expect Mariners outfielder Leonys Martin to make a rehabilitation appearance today.

Today: Reno (30-28) at Tacoma (34-24-1), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.

Season Series: First of 16 games today.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Matt Buschmann (1-5, 6.57) at RHP Donn Roach (4-3, 4.60).

Hot Rainiers: In his last nine appearances, Blake Parker has allowed just four hits and no runs over 9.1 innings. He’s also 9-for-9 in save opportunities this season… Patrick Kivlehan has hit safely in five straight games and is 8-for-22 since re-joining the Rainiers… Chris Taylor has an eight-game hitting streak.

Look Out For: Peter O’Brien leads the PCL with 17 home runs, and he carries a nine-game hitting streak into tonight’s game. During his streak, O’Brien has 19 hits, including five home runs, and 21 RBI… Socrates Brito has a ten-game hitting streak, with 18 total hits… Kyle Jensen has homered in back-to-back games, with eight RBI.

Ex-Rainiers: Reno has former Mariners and Rainiers reliever Dominic Leone, and former Rainiers third basemen Carlos Rivero and Ed Lucas.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

Around the PCL:

Big series starts tonight!

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