All-Star Week plans announced

All-Star ticketing announced, jerseys unveiled

PITTSBURGH -- With the July 11 Midsummer Classic just 77 days away, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Major League Baseball and local officials are gearing up for what will be an exciting week of baseball in the Steel City.

During a press conference held Friday afternoon at PNC Park that included brief speeches by Pirates CEO and managing general partner Kevin McClatchy, Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, Major League Baseball executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan outlined details of the All-Star Week events and announced an online lottery for available All-Star Game tickets.

All available tickets for 2006 All-Star Week events at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, including Taco Bell; All-Star Sunday, Gatorade; All-Star Workout Day, featuring the CENTURY 21; Home Run Derby (July 10), and the 77th All-Star Game (July 11), will be sold online through a random system to enable as many fans as possible the chance to purchase tickets.

All-Star Week tickets will be available only through this online system, and customers must purchase tickets in strips, which include the same number of tickets for both ballpark events and All-Star FanFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. There is a limit of two strips per customer. In addition, All-Star FanFest tickets are on sale now and can be purchased in individual or group packages.

Beginning at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, May 10, fans can visit MLB.com, Pirates.com or any of the other 29 club sites to register for the chance to purchase tickets to the All-Star Events at PNC Park. One entry per person will be accepted. The deadline to register is 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 25. Winners will be notified via e-mail no later than May 30. A complete list of rules and procedures will be available on MLB.com and all club sites by May 8.

Brosnan said the 2006 All-Star Week festivities will be unlike anything Pittsburgh experienced as hosts of the 1994, 1974 and 1959 Midsummer Classics.

"What used to be one day has really turned into what we call All-Star Week," said Brosnan. "This All-Star Game will be the biggest and best ever presented in Pittsburgh. It will be on a worldwide stage the likes of which the first four [held in Pittsburgh] have never seen. Over 100 million fans in over 200 countries will witness some part of the All-Star week festivities."

Local officials plan to make the most of their opportunity to showcase the city and county on a grand stage. According to O'Connor, the city is repaving every street in downtown Pittsburgh and cleanup crews are making their way through each of the city's neighborhoods.

"We're reddin' up for this All-Star Game," said O'Connor. "We're using the All-Star Game to take it up a notch. We're very, very proud of what's going on here. It's a tremendous asset, and we're all taking advantage of it."

Added Onorato: "We do have a chance to shine. The All-Star Game really puts southwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh and the greater Pittsburgh region in the national forefront for five days. It's a great time for us to take advantage of. We get to show off our city, we get to show off the people who live here, we get to show off this ballpark and we get to show off what's great about southwestern Pennsylvania. This is a great day for us."

Brosnan also announced the launching of the annual All-Star balloting, which began in-stadium at PNC Park on Friday and online at MLB.com and the 30 club Web sites. In addition, 13 million All-Star ballots will be available at 3,100 Wal-mart locations in the United States and Canada. Major League Baseball International will conduct balloting in Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Japan. And, for the first time, ballot boxes will be placed in nine Army/Air Force commissaries and one naval base in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The All-Star game jerseys also were unveiled on Friday. The National League jerseys are gold with the word "National" spelled out in black letters with white trim. The American League jerseys are black with the word "American" spelled out in gold letters with red trim. Both jerseys feature the official All-Star Game logo on the left sleeve.

Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.