In the 21st-century sports era, you cannot have an all-star game and just play the game.
These events have turned into extravaganzas with complimentary concerts, events and other activities, and the Lexington Legends are taking that approach to heart as the team hosts the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
“It’s a chance, in the South Atlantic League especially, to showcase the host city, so we wanted to have some things that are kind of oriented to Central Kentucky and also have some entertainment of note,” said Keith Elkins, director of broadcasting and media relations.
Guests from the league and teams will be treated to events heavy on — what else in the Bluegrass? — bourbon and horses, including a chance to visit American Pharoah at Coolmore America.
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Fans also will have attractions, including a free concert by Thompson Square (See story, this page) at a Monday night gala on the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza. On Tuesday, attention turns to the ballpark, with an afternoon of autograph sessions and open batting practice, followed by the “Legendary Derby,” a baseball skills competition that will feature players paired with local celebrities and people in horse costumes advancing around a “track” based on their team’s performance.
Then, the crowd will be treated to a pregame concert by Halfway to Hazard, performing on the Legends loft, near the right-field foul pole.
Of course, this isn’t the Major League Baseball All-Star game. But Elkins and special projects manager Anne Mapson say the game does attract visitors.
“There’s definitely been a lot of interest from out of town,” said Mapson, who has been handling hotel arrangements. “A lot of that is families, but also, a lot of them are also fans who want to see the next big stars of Major League Baseball. You never know who you’re going to see play in these games ... so a lot of people who follow the game closely do travel around to get a glimpse of these players.”
If you go
SAL All-Star events
Monday: Concert featuring Thompson Square and William Michael Morgan. 6-10 p.m. Free. Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza, Main Street at Limestone.
▪ Northern Division team signs autographs, Southern Division takes batting practice. 2:45 p.m.
▪ Southern Division team signs autographs, Northern Division takes batting practice. 3:45 p.m.
▪ Legendary Derby featuring All-Stars and local celebrities. 4:45 p.m.
▪ Halfway to Hazard concert. 6 p.m.
▪ South Atlantic League All-Star Game. 7:05 p.m.