It was a big night for baseball in Southwest Virginia as the Salem Red Sox hosted this year’s Carolina League All-Star Classic.
Salem last hosted the game, which features some of the best players in the league, in 2006.
“Big event like this coming to the area, very excited,” said David Page, who attended the game. “I’m a huge baseball fan.”
“It’s a good opportunity to see a bunch of future major leaguers right now,” said Roger Akers, another baseball fan.
“Catching a foul ball” was what Elias Bayne was looking forward to most. He watched the all-stars compete with his family.
“I like to watch the all-star games in the major league,” said Chris Bayne. “I like to watch them have fun, and it’s usually just a fun environment.”
“It’s a great energy around the ballpark,” said Ryan Shelton, president and general manager of the Salem Red Sox.
The park expected a sellout crowd of at least 6,000 people, Shelton said. Official turnout numbers have not yet been released.
With visitors in town for the game from as far as Delaware and South Carolina, Shelton said, he and his staff helped introduce people to the area.
“Some of the players and staff today went out on [an] excursion where they went to a brewery tour, stopping by Parkway and then Soaring Ridge, so we want to highlight our other local businesses,” he said.
Fans we spoke with said they hope the all-star game draws more fans to local ballparks.
“I think it kind of showcases not only the stadium, but the players, the whole organization,” said baseball fan Charlie Massey.
“I see a lot of kids, and to get kids interested in baseball – I love it,” Akers said.