For the first time, Dickey-Stephens Park hosts the Texas League All-Star game. The 2014 edition takes place Tuesday with the 78th game presented by Farm Bureau.
Not only is the all-star break a time to bring together the best of the Texas League for a friendly competition, but it is also a chance for the fans to participate and enjoy other activities than the game. The festivities begin next Monday with the All-Star Gala.
The Gala begins 6 p.m. at the Little Rock Doubletree with guest speaker Bill Buckner and an autograph session with the 2014 Texas League All-Star team. Buckner spanned a 22-year career with the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels and Royals. Winning the 1981 National League batting crown, the first baseman finished his career with a .289 batting average and 2,715 hits. Buckner played his first Double-A game in Little Rock (with Albuquerque Dodgers) in 1969 at Ray Winder Field and is excited to see Dickey-Stephens Park.
A limited number of tickets are available and will not be sold at the door. For tickets, call the Travelers at (501) 664-7559. A cocktail hour and the autograph session take place at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. Dress is casual, and fans are encouraged to bring a piece of memorabilia for players to sign.
On the Tuesday, June 24, many activities take place before the game. Gates open at 3 p.m. with entertainment to include a rock-climbing wall, live music, aerial entertainment, mechanical bull rides and living statues. Beginning at 4 p.m., tethered hot-air balloon rides occur for two hours.
Batting practice begins at 3:15 p.m. with the North Division taking the field first followed by the South Division at 4:15. Afterward, each team will sign autographs in their respective dugouts for 15 minutes.
Presented by Heart of Arkansas United Way, the Home Run Derby begins at 6 p.m. and features former Traveler and Cardinal Rick Ankiel and former Braves slugger Ryan Klesko. They will be captains of a three-man team. Teams will try to raise money for the Heart of Arkansas United Way with $300 and $500 targets located at various spots on the field. Additionally, a $100,000 target will sit 380 feet away from home plate on the outfield berm.
The game follows the Home Run Derby and tickets can be obtained in person at the Travs’ office or over the phone by calling (501) 664-7559. Tickets are also available online at www.Travs.com with a $1 convenience fee assessed.
Prices are $13 for box seats of all ages. Reserved tickets are $9 for adults and $6 for children 14-and-under. General admission prices are $7 for adults and $5 for children 14-and-under. A military ID gets $1 off a ticket but no other discounts or group rates are available.
“I want to showcase our community and ballpark,” General Manager Paul Allen said before the season started. “I also want the fans to go away and say what just happened, and five to six years down the road remember the all-star game in Arkansas and make people want to come back to our city.”