Travs Knock All-Star Game Experience Out of the Park

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dickey-Stephens Park looked more big top than ballpark. Performers in sparkly costumes twirling high above the home plate on silks. A performer painted silver, twirling fire and two others on stilts walking around the concourse. Welcome to the 78th Texas League All-Star Game.
Fans started arriving at the ballpark at 3 p.m to watch batting practice and partake in an autograph session with both squads. The Travs front office did everything they could to keep fans entrained for 5.5 hours.  Mission accomplished.
The circus performers were just part of the act. There was the Home Run Derby, a mechanical bull and hot air balloon rides and a lengthy postgame fireworks show. And by the way, there was a baseball game, which was well-played and full of spectacular plays.
Midland’s Ryan Rua won the home run derby with 16 homers. The unique part of the event was the addition of former MLB sluggers Ryan Klesko and Rick Ankiel as team captains. Klesko barely swung a couple of times and blasted bombs.
While the pitchers’ duel didn’t produce much fireworks at the plate, Springfield catcher Cody Stanley’s two-run homer in the fourth inning gave the South squad a 3-1 lead, which was the final score.
The impressive part of the game was the defense. A couple of diving catches in the outfield and near the foul line and some diving stops in the infield and back hand plays as well. For a baseball fan, the game was as entertaining as any of the other side shows.
While 5.5 hours is a long time, those that stayed for the entire event were not disappointed. The Travs staff worked long and hard to ensure the game was a special event. With the red carpet rolled out and announced attendance of more than 9,000 fans, the game should make another stop soon at DSP.

Mark L. Wagner/Arkansas Travelers Texas League All-Star Game entertainment included an aerial acrobatics routine.

Mark L. Wagner/Arkansas Travelers
Texas League All-Star Game entertainment included an aerial acrobatics routine.