One day after the South Atlantic League (SAL) held its 55th annual All-Star Game in Hickory, N.C., the Asheville Tourists announced that McCormick Field will host the 2015 edition of the midsummer event.
Team president Brian DeWine and Ingles CFO Ron Freeman announced on Wednesday afternoon that the 2015 South Atlantic League All-Star Game will be held at the Tourists’ home ballpark on June 23, 2015. The two-day event will include a Home Run Derby (which should be a blast with McCormick Field’s cozy dimensions), SAL Hall of Fame Luncheon and other festivities still to be determined. Activities will likely be held throughout the Asheville community.
Ingles will be the presenting sponsor for the game.
Asheville last hosted the event in 1996. (The SAL All-Star Game was also played at McCormick Field in 1961 and 1977.)
Seating capacity for McCormick Field is approximately 4,200, the smallest park in the SAL. DeWine said that additions will be made to the ballpark, particularly replacing the metal bleachers in the general admission seating bowl during the offseason. But there really isn’t the space to provide more seating to the current structure.
The Tourists learned that they won the bid for the 2015 event 18 months ago. Why keep the big news under wraps? Out of respect for the city and team hosting the current All-Star Game, the league traditionally holds off on announcing the site for the next year’s event until the previous game has been played. DeWine said the entire process of bidding and being awarded the All-Star Game took two years.
“A lot of people haven’t had the opportunity to see McCormick,” said media relations and broadcast manager Doug Maurer. “Asheville is centrally located among the SAL’s 14 cities, which should draw more fans and execs from around the league.”
Maurer, the play-by-play announcer for the Tourists, will also have the opportunity to call the 2015 All-Star Game as a result of the team hosting the event.
According to DeWine, initial studies projected the SAL All-Star Game to bring approximately $750,000 into the community. No word yet on how many fans are anticipated to visit Asheville during the event’s two days.
Ticket information for the 2015 South Atlantic League All-Star Game and other events will be announced by the Tourists in the fall. In the meantime, t-shirts with the event’s official logo are now available at the team’s merchandise store at McCormick Field.
*** The Asheville Tourists return to McCormick Field on Monday June 23 for an eight-game homestand (longest of the season), beginning with a four-game set with the Greenville Drive. (June 26 is a Thirsty Thursday!) Single game tickets are currently available at the McCormick Field box office. For more information, contact the Tourists’ front office at (828) 258-0428.
Ian Casselberry covers Major League Baseball at The Outside Corner and provides analysis for The WISE Guys on ESPN Asheville (1310 and 970 AM) every Tuesday at 4:40 p.m. Follow Ian on Twitter.