Welcome to 2022. The 2021 MLB All-Star Week is now an unforgettable memory in the minds and hearts of Rockies fans, and the bar has been set for MLB ballparks and cities to follow.
Your turn, Dodger Stadium.
We didn’t have any such All-Star Week in 2020, so Coors Field was already at an advantage from the start. Baseball fans were already celebrating the game even more than the standard, annual celebration.
Now: mix in all you know about Denver and the ballpark neighborhood, and it’s easy for Rockies fans to see why the 2021 All-Star Week was so special. Lower Downtown came alive, and many other ballparks just can’t offer that experience.
20th and Blake is an extension of Downtown Denver. Look at all the places you can celebrate around the ballpark:
Chavez Ravine… is a literal ravine. You won’t find a Blake Street Tavern lookalike near the main gates of Dodger Stadium.
Now, before us Rockies fans get all high and mighty over our beloved Coors, there are some key facets of Dodger Stadium that are worthy of note:
2022 All-Star Week will be cool. The festivities always are, irrespective of ballpark. Despite the anguish the Dodgers have continually put on the Rockies, it’s safe to reason a lot of Rockies fans would still like to go to the 2022 All-Star Game if given the chance.
What we do know, however, is that Denver was basically built to host an All-Star Week. The city backs right up to the field. McGregor Square served as an awesome gathering point, even when the stadium gates weren’t open yet. There were targets aplenty for the Home Run Derby, from the Bridich Barrier to the Rooftop to the left field concourse.
People simply did not want to leave the ballpark neighborhood during All-Star Week. This was the case well before the gates even opened.
Dodger Stadium will be cool, but it will be a different kind of baseball celebration. Huntington Beach isn’t exactly in their ballpark neighborhood (but hey, still pretty cool).
Below, we break down all the major events for All-Star Week, and have a little fun as we suggest which city has the hosting advantage: Los Angeles or Denver. This is all in good natured fun, of course, and both cities will, or have, done a tremendous job hosting.
Futures Game/MLB Draft
There is something to be said about MLB’s top prospects suiting up in the biggest ballpark in the world. There is also something to be said about the film capital of the world playing host to the MLB Draft, inside a venue like the Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Microsoft Theater across the street from the
Staples Center Crypto.com Arena. Maybe this will generate more attention when placed in such a big city.
One could argue that a city like L.A. can do a great job promoting minor leaguers, but it’s also tough for the Futures Game to take center stage when all 30 MLB teams play on the same day.
(It’s also tough for fans of the Pebble Report to say goodbye. If only the draft could stay in Denver’s Bellco Theater every year.)
*Also on All-Star Sunday is the Celebrity Softball Game. We could see a little more star power in L.A., despite Denver’s most valiant efforts.
Home Run Derby
C’mon now. Not even close.
We’re already familiar with what elevation does to a batted ball. We already know that Coors Field is the ideal home run environment this event can be hosted in.
Beautiful, yes, but we aren’t going to see a shot in 2022 like Ohtani’s off the top of the rooftop.
Look at this home run playground in comparison:
The All-Star Game Itself
Advantage: You be the judge.
You can’t go wrong with the All-Star Game. It’s fun no matter where it is.
It’s presumable there will be some sort of media bias geared toward L.A. for this event, similar to how it would be in New York. It’s also presumable that, no matter where the game is played, the media attention stays the same. Each host city takes over as baseball’s epicenter.
Part of the celebration of All-Star Week is that every city gets to do it their way, showing off why it’s a great baseball destination. Dodger Stadium will make for a great host, especially since the city has spent so long planning. They have been forced to wait far longer than they originally needed to, after the 2020 contest was canceled.
There is no such Blake Street Tavern or McGregor Square backing up to Dodger Stadium. Trade it in for parking lots.
Baseball historians might be quick to point out that the surrounding neighborhood of Ebbets Field, home of the former Brooklyn Dodgers, bears a striking resemblance to Denver’s Lower Downtown. It’s a loose comparison, yes, but a consideration for if Ebbets Field received the Fenway Park or Wrigley Field treatment and still existed to this day.
You’re still bound to see baseball jerseys on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, just as you did on the 16th Street Mall. Baseball fans will still gather in L.A’s famous destinations, celebrating the game just as Denver did.
It’s time to pass the baton — but the bar has been set in Colorado.
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Speaking of ballpark surroundings: Lower Downtown is getting a new look just down the street from Coors Field. Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row is taking over where Lodo’s Bar and Grill used to be at the corner of 20th and Market. This restaurant and bar is part of a larger chain; you can find another one in Scottsdale, Arizona on visits to spring training.
If a lockout settlement brings the DH to the National League, we’ll run out of at-bats like the ones our friend Kevin Henry highlights here. Henry: “Mike Hampton, Germán Márquez, and Brian Bohanon make up the top three hitting pitchers in Colorado Rockies history.”
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