Many things occupied Dave Baggott’s mind Tuesday afternoon, but one overruled the rest.
“The game’s about to start pretty soon, but I’m more excited about going to bed without turning the alarm on,” Baggott said with a laugh.
The Ogden Raptors’ president was referencing Tuesday’s Pioneer League-Northwest League All-Star Game at Lindquist Field in Ogden, Utah. Baggott and his staff prepared for this game for the better part of a year, and the workload reached exhausting levels Monday and Tuesday.
Ogden was responsible for all of the festivities’ expenses, and the club will collect all of the revenue, Baggott said. The Raptors might not net a profit, but Baggott was proud of the event even before the game began.
“It’s not hard work, it’s just three times the work because normally you’re dealing with one team and one fan base,” Baggott said. “This is a culmination of a year’s worth of work, and we’ll see what the payoff is.”
Ogden announced it would host the 2016 all-star game during last year’s inaugural game in Spokane, Wash. Minor League Baseball officially approved it near the end of the 2015 season, allowing Baggott and company to move forward with the event schedule, ticket packages, TV deals, etc.
The festivities started Monday evening. Players and executives arrived sporadically throughout the day. The players talked to the media at 4:15 p.m., then left for dinner at Needles Lodge at Snowbasin Ski Resort. The players, executives, media and others involved rode gondolas up to the resort.
“I’m not real big on heights, so I’m glad it was the gondolas they were using and not the T-bars,” Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner said. “I talked with a few young men (about the gondola ride) and said, ‘You ever seen anything like that?’ And they said, ‘Never.’ And they may never again.”
Tuesday’s festivities began with a fan fest at 3:30 p.m. Vendors lined the street outside of Lindquist Field, and fans received autographs from the all-stars. Then fans entered the stadium.
General admission tickets cost $18 while bleacher and grass area seats were $12, up from $12 and $6, respectively, for Raptors games. Each ticket served as a voucher that would get fans into four Raptors games for free (a $48 value). Baggott also sold 10-ticket packs that would give fans season tickets for the 2017 season. He said about 20 people
purchased such packages.
“The expense to put on the all-star game is probably five times greater than putting on a normal game,” Baggott said. “So there’s a lot on the line.”
The all-star game was preceded by a home run derby. Idaho Falls Chukars’ catcher Meibrys Viloria participated in the derby, which was won by Salem-Keizer’s Gio Brusa. The main attraction started at 7:15 p.m., and the Northwest League won 11-5. The announced attendance was 5,339. The game wasn’t broadcast live, but it will air on Root Sports (Rocky Mountain region) at 2 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Sunday.
Next year’s game will be played in Hillsboro, Ore. (home of the Hillsboro Hops), pending MiLB approval.
“We’ll do a postmortem and a debrief,” O’Conner said. “We’ll check with all of the Major League affiliates that participated, and we’ll move forward and ask for an extension.”
Baggott said two things constituted a successful event: a significant profit and minimal mistakes. He wouldn’t know about the first category until after the game, but everything leading up to the game went smoothly, and nothing went noticeably awry during the game. He was also happy to give Ogden exposure, regardless of money.
A successful end to the night, however, had different standards to Baggott.
“We’ll have a little postgame party upstairs at the BBQ for an hour after the game,” Baggott said. “And then I want everybody to get out of my ballpark and go home because I want to go to sleep (laughs).”