The 2023 All-Star Game festivities at T-Mobile Park were a smashing success for all who were in attendance or watched on TV. The conclusion of the 2023 All-Star game meant the end of a fantastic five-day extravaganza for the midsummer classic in Seattle.
Starting on July 7, the Swingman HBCU Classic gave fans an idea that the entire weekend was going to be special.
From there, the baseball world was introduced to the next generation of stars with the Futures Game on July 8. Portland product and Phillies No. 2 prospect Mick Abel got the start on the mound for the National League. Seattle is the closest MLB franchise to Portland, but Abel had never even been to the stadium.
“It’s awesome. It’s pretty special being the first time here,” he said.
Abel had around 25 friends and family in attendance to see him pitch. For most, they hadn’t seen him pitch in a game in person since high school. “They were like ‘Oh my gosh!’ … It’s just really cool as a PNW guy, everybody like all my friends and family are texting me like we know this futures game is a thing. Let’s make it happen,” Abel said.
Abel was drafted 15th overall in the 2020 draft out of Jesuit High School in Portland. In just two full seasons of baseball, Abel has made his way up to AA and with his fastball reaching 98-100, the sky’s the limit. To keep improving it’s about the game between the ears, “I think it’s a lot about the mental game. I think it’s just about believing in myself every outing … Go on pitch to pitch and play my game,” he said.
After the Future Stars game fans turned their attention to the Capitol One Play Ball Park and Lumen Field for the MLB Draft on July 9.
The Play Ball Park was one of the bigger surprises for fans who attended All-Star Weekend. “I kind of just did everything,” said Auburn resident Tyler Barsaloux. “It was cool to see everyone enjoying their time over there, to look at all the history in there and the autograph panels were really cool.”
On Monday, July 10, Julio Rodriguez cemented himself in Mariners fans’ memories forever. Rodriguez hit a record-setting 41 home runs in the first round of the Home Run Derby. The anticipation and love that everyone in the stadium had for Rodriguez was unlike anything fans had experienced.
“Nothing better than being here live,” Wenatchee resident Rene Villegas said. “It’s the best man, I’m here with my son. I couldn’t picture it any other way.”
Barsaloux echoed what his fellow Washingtonian had to say, “That was awesome to see.”
Even though Rodriguez lost in the semi-finals he still gave everyone who watched a moment they’ll never forget.
Greg Pubols from Tacoma works in guest services as an usher for the Mariners. He worked every event and the environment that went on at T-Mobile was something special.
“It’s just a celebration of baseball. Everybody I interacted with on the 10th was having a good time. Employees, fans, other ark team members … I looked down and saw all the different uniforms representing teams in baseball is really something,” Pubols said.
“It was a postcard day every day for Seattle, it’s great to show off in my opinion the best ballpark in baseball,” said Pubols. “There was a great spiritual vibe in this place. It’s been super fun.”
In the morning of July 11, fans packed the streets outside Pike Place Market to see the stars of the show take a stroll on the red carpet. Or rather pink carpet since it was presented by T-Mobile.
Corbin Carroll stopped by for local media and talked about how he used to walk through the market as a kid.
“No, I never imagined I’d be walking on the red carpet. I Grew up going to Pike Place and getting the honey sticks here I remember that … Never thought of this,” Carroll said.
The All-Star Game itself went by in a blur on July 11. The three-hour contest was highlighted by George Kirby making an appearance and pitching just one inning and Julio also got in the game. Rodriguez took a walk in the ninth inning to extend the two-out rally.
Barsaloux said he predicted the ruckus crowd before the gates even opened. “I couldn’t be more excited, it’s going to be an electric atmosphere. You can already feel it around the stadium, you could feel it around the Play Ball Park. I can’t wait,” he said.
Villegas kept his focus on the main show Tuesday night for his trip out west. “This right here is the highlight. This is the best… To go to an event like this is too big to mention, you can’t put a number on it. This is one of the best things that can happen, other than my kids being born. That’s high up there,” he said.
Josiah Gray is a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, he came in and pitched the third inning. In his first All-Star appearance, he recorded one strikeout and didn’t allow a base runner. Pitching in front of 47,000 people is no joke and Gray had nothing but positive things to say about the home fans.
“I think the fans did a really good job of embracing everybody… They did a good job with just making it a really welcoming place. This is an awesome first all-star game experience and something I can look forward to some more down the line,” he said.
That’s how special the atmosphere was for the five days of baseball heaven. The city showed out, the fans showed out. There was a passion for baseball that up until the Mariners’ playoff run last season had not been seen on a consistent basis. But for all five of these days, fans brought the house down.