My Trip to the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The Washington Nationals sent five All-Stars to Miami to represent the National League.
The Washington Nationals sent five All-Stars to Miami to represent the National League.

Tuesday night was my first time seeing Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman in 2017 and it was at my first MLB All-Star Game in Miami.

I moved to Florida in January and the nearest major league team is the Tampa Bay Rays—who have no games scheduled against the Washington Nationals. The Miami Marlins is the next closest team, but the seven hour roundtrip always made watching the Nationals on MLB.TV the more appealing option.

The selection of five players from the Nationals to represent the National League in the All-Star Game changed my thought process. I needed to go to Miami!

StubHub had 3,000 tickets available and many were for sale at seemingly bargain prices the weekend before the game. The inexpensive prices were not just a fluke. Maury Brown, a Forbes contributor, explained that the average listing price of All-Star Game tickets for sale on secondary sites was down 31 percent from last year’s game.

I was given the afternoon off from work, so I purchased a ticket on Tuesday morning and I set my GPS for Marlins Park.

Parking decks surrounding the ballpark were reserved for fans with prepaid parking vouchers. Many private “entrepreneurs” were selling parking spaces around Marlins Park for $50. MLB advertised an alternative park-and-ride option that saved me $30 to spend inside the ballpark. This alternative shuttled fans from a downtown parking deck to Marlins Park and it eliminated the stress of parking.

The ballpark was appropriately decorated for the All-Star Weekend. The exterior of the stadium was branded accordingly, the outfield and batting circle sported All-Star Game logos, and MLB Network sportscasters Peter Gammons and Greg Amsinger reported live from the concourse.


The stadium also had a distinctive Miami feel. A band with drums and horns paraded around the stadium, fans lined up for signature cocktails and Cubans, and the Miami skyline shone brightly in the outfield.

I headed upstairs to the vista level and stopped at a souvenir stand and “Burger 305” for dinner before taking my seat for batting practice.

I was given the afternoon off from work, so I bought a ticket on StubHub and drove to Miami.
I was given the afternoon off from work, so I bought a ticket on StubHub and drove to Miami.

I was glad I arrived early enough to walk around the concourse for the first time because it ensured I was seated for the pre-game ceremonies. The introductions were even more thrilling than Opening Day introductions at Nationals Park because everyone announced was an All-Star. It was an added treat to watch the Nationals players acknowledge the crowd.

Pre-game ceremonies were accentuated by the presence of Latin-American Hall of Famers including newly elected (and hometown favorite) Ivan Rodriguez who threw ceremonial first pitches to Latin-American All-Stars from both leagues.

Latin-American players enshrined in the Hall of Fame threw out ceremonial first pitches before the All-Star Game.
Latin-American players enshrined in the Hall of Fame threw out ceremonial first pitches before the All-Star Game.

Scherzer began “stalking” around the mound almost immediately as he waited for home plate umpire Joe West to start the game, and the Nationals defense immediately made an impact. Jose Altuve hit a laser back to Scherzer who fed Zimmerman to record the first out of the game. Scherzer also struck out Aaron Judge and George Springer swinging to conclude his impressive outing.

Harper, like the rest of the All-Stars, walked up to the plate to his walk-up music, and he provided the first hit of the game for National League. The 2015 National League MVP made an athletic diving catch in right field to rob Salvador Perez of a base hit which culminated in a “Harper Hair Flip.”

The All-Star game was still exciting to watch despite its status as an exhibition game, especially because of the presence of so many players from the Nationals.

The MLB All-Star game retains a level of competition absent from the exhibition games of the other sports. Murphy’s ground out in the bottom of the third inning with the bases loaded wasn’t any less agonizing then a regular season game, in the moment. Additionally, Mookie Betts threw out Nolan Arenado from the warning track after tagging up on a deep fly ball from Zimmerman in one of the more exciting plays of the game.

The game was accentuated by other exciting moments including a game-tying home run from Yadier Molina, the Nelson Cruz photo-op with West and Robinson Cano’s go-ahead home run in the 10th inning off Wade Davis.

Overall, I am extremely glad that I went to the game. Miami was a terrific host and it was great to finally see the Nationals play, albeit during the Mid-Summer Classic.

 

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