Host city Phoenix excited for All-Star Game

Host city Phoenix excited for All-Star Game

Host city Phoenix excited for All-Star Game
PHOENIX -- Being selected to participate in an All-Star Game is a big deal for a player, a chance to display his skills for an international audience.

The same can be said of the host city, and Phoenix intends to do all it can to make the most of the exposure it gets in hosting the 2011 All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12.

"It's an opportunity for baseball fans in Phoenix and for the whole Southwest region to experience a week of unforgettable baseball," said Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball executive vice president for business. "But for the city of Phoenix and its people, it's also an opportunity to show your city off, to show this beautiful city off, this beautiful ballpark off on a worldwide stage."

The game is expected to be seen in no fewer than 200 countries around the globe.

Tuesday, Major League Baseball unveiled the ballot for the 82nd Midsummer Classic in a press conference held at home plate of Chase Field.

It was just under two years ago that MLB awarded the game to Phoenix, and the D-backs organization has been working feverishly since then to get ready for not just the game, but the week-long festivities that surround it.

"We're ready," team president and CEO Derrick Hall said.

That was an opinion seconded by Brosnan.

"If the All-Star Game week is as good as the All-Star Game planning has been, we will guarantee the most successful All-Star week ever," Brosnan said.

That is great news for the ailing Arizona economy, which is expected to get at least a $67 million boost from hosting the event.

"I've heard north of 100 million," D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said. "And in a tough economy and in the heart of the summer when things are typically a little slow around here, to be able to bring that kind of money into the community, you've got to be proud of that."

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon was so caught up in the excitement of his city hosting the game that he already started lobbying Brosnan for a return trip in the near future.

"To the fans who will be coming here, come on to Phoenix because it will be the best time you'll ever have," Gordon said.

The D-backs have long coveted an All-Star Game, dating back to the franchise's beginning in 1998.

While they had to wait a while for one, it might have been for the best. In the last couple of years the city has redone and expanded its convention center, and there is now a light-rail system that includes a stop right outside the ballpark.

"The timing of the infrastructure improvements could not have been better," Hall said.

Balloting began Tuesday, and Brosnan challenged D-backs fans to make sure that right fielder Justin Upton, who is the official spokesperson for MLB All-Star FanFest, makes the team.

"Diamondbacks fans, there is no reason why Mr. Upton shouldn't be in the All-Star Game," Brosnan said. "Get behind him early and often."

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via mobile devices -- using the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint until June 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Rosters will be announced during the 2011 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on July 3. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2011 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

Upton was selected to his first and only All-Star Game in 2009, and he acknowledged that while it is always an honor to be selected, it would be even more special if he got to play in the game in front of his home fans.

"It's a special moment for you, but when you step on the field it's the excitement of the fans that makes the game worth it," Upton said. "The Diamondbacks fans deserve this game so much, they're really dedicated. For us to put on a show for them and to be a part of that great group of players and for our fans to enjoy that moment with us would be awesome."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.