As the league’s showcase event will be the third major NECBL event hosted by the Blue Sox in the past five years. The Blue Sox last hosted the NECBL All Star Game in 2014 and hosted the NECBL Championship Series this past August, winning their first NECBL Championship in franchise history.
“It’s a big deal for us to land the All Star game for our fans,” said Blue Sox General Manager Hunter Golden. “Getting to host the game of the second time in five years is humbling, but we also feel it’s a reflection of the product we’ve put on the field, the atmosphere we’ve created at the stadium and the community’s outstanding support of our organization. Our fans show up and are enthusiastic. We were awarded the game so soon after hosting it last time because they earned it.”
The Blue Sox finished 1st overall in the New England League in attendance for the second consecutive season and finished 9th among all Summer Collegiate Team, outdrawing over 204 affiliated Minor League Baseball and independent teams.
The All-Star Game showcases the NECBL’s top stars in a fun-filled afternoon and evening of the best the league has to offer – with players from all 13 NECBL franchises.
“Guys who play in this All Star Game are guys you see on TV in a few years,” continued Golden. “Stephen Strasburg, Trey Mancini, Joe Nathan, Andre Ethier – it’s those kinds of guys. So it’s a tremendous opportunity for people who are passionate about the game to see what’s coming next.”
The event will be sponsored by Trinity Health Of New England and Mercy Medical Center.
“As a longtime supporter of the Valley Blue Sox, Mercy Medical Center is honored to serve as the presenting sponsor of the NECBL All Star Game in Holyoke,” Said Mark Fulco, President, Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates. “Baseball is a great passion for many in our area. We are certain this family friendly event will not only provide local fans with an unforgettable experience, but also showcase the region and serve as an example of all it has to offer.”
News of the event being awarded to Holyoke was welcomed warmly by local community leaders, including Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.
“Securing the NECBL All Star Game for Holyoke and Western Massachusetts is a huge win for our community,” Morse said. “Earning the right to host this event is a tremendous distinction that sends a clear message that our community is a great place to be for sports and family entertainment. We know the Blue Sox will do a great job putting our community’s best foot forward and all our local organizations and businesses will do an amazing job welcoming attendees from around the country and showing all our visitors all the wonderful things are here in Holyoke and Western Mass.”
Kathleen Anderson, President of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce also lauded the potential impact of the event.
“Our community has a very deep connection to baseball, to the Blue Sox and to Western Massachusetts,” said Holyoke Chamber of Commerce President Kathleen Anderson. “There’s a lot of civic pride here in Holyoke and so for the Blue Sox to deliver this type of event for the city is great for our area and the economic impact it will have is significant.”
The 2018 season will represent the Blue Sox 9th season in the Pioneer Valley, playing at Mackenzie Stadium in Holyoke. The Blue Sox have been a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) since 2008. The NECBL is one of three collegiate leagues funded in part by Major League Baseball and is comprised of 13 teams throughout all 6 New England States.
Blue Sox and NECBL players come from the top college programs across the country, some of which are drafted into Major League Baseball. In all, twenty-nine of the thirty teams in Major League Baseball have had NECBL alums on their rosters.