Here are five things to watch at the Triple-A All-Star Game this week at BB&T Ballpark:
▪ The last time Charlotte hosted a baseball All-Star event? Exactly 24 years ago Wednesday. But the city, and the Charlotte Knights’ organization, has changed drastically in that time. The Knights have since moved from Class AA to Class AAA , and they’re now affiliated with the Chicago White Sox instead of the Chicago Cubs. Also, this year’s All-Star Game will be played at BB&T Ballpark uptown instead of the old Knights Stadium in Fort Mill.
▪ Charlotte’s BB&T Ballpark, which opened in March 2014, was a big reason the city was awarded the All-Star Game. The stadium hosted the Class AAA national championship the year it was opened, and then led Class AAA in attendance in 2015, averaging almost 10,000 fans.
▪ Right-hander Brad Goldberg will represent the Charlotte Knights in the game. Other Knights with roles on the International League team will be be hitting coach Andy Tomberlin and head athletic trainer Scott Johnson.
▪ The Triple-A Home Run Derby has eight participants, and each has a Charlotte-based celebrity captain accompanying them: Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson; former Panthers receiver Steve Smith Sr.; former NFL cornerback Jason Sehorn; Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford; former Major League Baseball pitcher pitcher Jack McDowell; NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick; Charlotte 49ers basketball coach Mark Price; and longtime professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter.
▪ As part of All-Star Game festivities, the Knights are reviving the Charlotte Baseball Hall of Fame and relaunching it as the Charlotte Baseball Roundtable of Honor. The hall originally inducted members from 1982 to 1985 and will introduce two new members at the All-Star Luncheon Wednesday: former Knights manager Charlie Manuel and former Knights third baseman Jim Thome.