GJ Rockies will host 2018 All-Star Game
They have 16 months to plan and prepare, but the Grand Junction Rockies’ front office staff knows those months will fly by.
Even before getting official notice that the Rockies will host the 2018 Pioneer League-Northwest League All-Star game, club President Joe Kubly and his staff were kicking around ideas, just in case.
“We’re going to have a ton of planning to do and I’m glad we have almost a year and a half rather than a year or even a month,” Kubly said Tuesday. “That gives us a foot all the way in the door and more time to plan. Right now internally we’re kicking around ideas.”
The two leagues signed a three-year extension of the All-Star game, through the 2020 season, and Grand Junction will be the second Pioneer League club to host the game. The third annual game is scheduled for Aug. 1 in Hillsboro, Oregon. The date of the 2018 game hasn’t been finalized.
The inaugural game was in 2015 in Spokane, Washington, with Ogden hosting last year. Kubly said he and his staff will talk to officials of those three clubs, and throughout Minor League Baseball, for ideas of what works and what doesn’t.
“There will be some community aspect, will likely be a home run derby, those are pretty typical, and the game,” Kubly said. “I’m sure we’ll have a Fan Fest.
“In 1½ days you want to try to cram as much as you can in, but still make it a memorable experience, something unique.”
Kubly wants to incorporate the entire region, from area wineries and orchards to Grand Mesa and Colorado National Monument as well as the city and Suplizio Field.
The first step, he said, is to create a logo for the game, which won’t be revealed until after Hillsboro’s game, and come up with a unique jersey for the game.
“Every league is different,” he said. “Some you wear your pants with the jersey they provide, some you wear your home or road jersey. Last year in Ogden they did the specialty jerseys for each team and they were nifty looking. That’s something we’ll look at and see how we can incorporate it.”
As far as this season, Kubly said he’s planning two specialty jersey nights, with Community Hospital and Donate Life, with fans able to bid on the game-worn jerseys and get them autographed.
He’s hoping the All-Star game will bring added exposure to Grand Junction and Suplizio Field.
“Once we get them here, we want to showcase the stadium, the town, the region,” Kubly said. “These games sometimes get picked up regionally and nationally (on television) and hopefully we can showcase the facility we have on a national level. That’s an added bonus to put us on the map.”
The video board, scheduled to be installed next month, will also enhance the All-Star game.
“We didn’t think March would be so exciting,” Kubly said. “We’ll take it over here.”