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Denver, Major League Baseball officials usher in All-Star Week

Mayor Michael Hancock nodded his head in satisfaction Wednesday morning as he stood on Coors Field’s north rooftop.

The city had just 13 weeks to prepare for the upcoming All-Star Game and its related activities. Hancock noted it takes most cities two years. It’s a milestone for the city and for Major League Baseball, and a hopeful end to a tumultuous year and a half.

“The summertime energy is back in Denver,” Hancock said.

Hancock was joined by Rockies President Greg Feasel, MLB’s Director of Events Jeremiah Yolkut, Regional Transportation District Chief Operations Officer Michael Ford and Visit Denver’s President and CEO Richard Sharf on Wednesday.

Feasel said two of the Rockies’ games against the St. Louis Cardinals last week sold out (there were fireworks after the Friday and Saturday games), and two other games in that series exceeded 40,000 fans.

The field is ready for more action, which starts Thursday afternoon with MLB’s Pitch, Hit and Run and Junior Home Run Derby events and ends Tuesday with the namesake game.

All the activities in between can be found online at denvergov.org/allstarinfo but include:

  • MLB and USA Baseball’s All-American game at Coors Field on Friday,
  • The All-Star 5k Walk/Run at Civic Center Park on Saturday,
  • The 2021 MLB Draft (day 1) at the Colorado Convention Center on Sunday,
  • T-Mobile’s Home Run Derby at Coors Field on Monday.

Not only will All-Star Week make Denver, its restaurants, shops and hotels a great deal of money — $100 million by one estimate — but it will also boost its national and international profile, Hancock said. After the 2008 Democratic National Convention came to town, tourism boomed. He expects the same now.

“It’s very important for our image, for our branding,” Hancock said.

It’s not clear how much All-Star Week will cost the city to host, Department of Finance spokeswoman Kiki Turner said. The city, MLB, the Rockies and Visit Denver will split the bill, but the groups haven’t agreed to a precise breakdown. Some of that cost will come from a greater police presence and work from the city Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and Parks and Recreation.

While city officials consider the economic boon the large crowds will bring to Denver, they must also consider the implications of hosting it during a pandemic.

More than 70% of eligible Denver residents are vaccinated against COVID-19, Hancock said, and public health experts have said the inoculated can attend the events as they normally would. But Hancock cautioned the unvaccinated against the “extreme risk” presented by the coronavirus and the rapidly spreading delta variant, and suggested they wear masks and socially distance from others.

There’ll be a vaccination clinic at the Colorado Convention Center during the week, said Jeremiah Yolkut, MLB’s director of events and scheduling.

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