By Marty Gordon NRVsports@ourvalley.org
Pulaski’s Calfee Park will continue to be the center of attention this summer as on Sunday Major League Baseball, USA Baseball, and the Appalachian League announced that the 2021 Appalachian League All-Star Game presented by Pennzoil will take place at historic Calfee Park, the home of the Pulaski River Turtles.
In addition, the event will be broadcast on MLB Network and will bring together the Appalachian League’s top players in the first year of the league’s new format, featuring the nation’s top rising college freshmen and sophomores.
Additional details about the game and related festivities will be revealed at a later date.
The park was initially built in 1935 and has undergone a major facelift over the past seven years. Most recently, Calfee was home to the Pulaski Yankees, but that all changed this past winter when Major League Baseball decided to cut the minor league system almost in half. The Appy took a major hit as rookie league teams lost their affiliations.
This came after the Shelor Motor Mile Group made millions of dollars in improvements to the park.
The Christiansburg ownership remains optimistic as the league transitions to wooden bats.
Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, was on hand this weekend for the all-star game announcement.
“Pulaski has one of the best ballparks not just in the Appalachian League but across the entire country,” Sword said. “This historic stadium is a great venue to demonstrate both the Appalachian League’s legacy and its future, and we can’t wait to see the league’s brightest stars shine in the first all-star game of this new format. The 2021 All-Star Game will be an exciting and memorable event for fans in Pulaski and across the region.”
Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball, also expressed some excitement.
“Calfee Park and the people of Pulaski have proven themselves to be a first-rate facility and fan base within the Appalachian League,” Seiler said. “We cannot think of a better introduction for the first all-star game ever to be played in the league’s history than to be featured in this historic venue. It will be a memorable event for the players and the Pulaski community.”
JW Martin, general manager of the Pulaski River Turtles, said Calfee is honored to host the inaugural Appalachian League All-Star Game.
“To have Calfee Park and our baseball community in the national spotlight is an incredible opportunity, and we are eager to welcome the Appalachian League’s best to Pulaski for what promises to be a great night of baseball,” Martin said.
This news follows previous announcements about MLB’s and USA Baseball’s initiatives to support baseball in Appalachian League communities.
As part of the MLB and USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline, the Appalachian League is a critical stop on the development pathway for amateur baseball players in the U.S., and this summer and fall, MLB and USA Baseball will partner to bring “Fun At Bat” school programs and USA Baseball Community Coaching Clinics across the region.
Through these programs, MLB is creating new generations of fans and players and demonstrating a model for other leagues and communities across the country.
Top MLB executives recently concluded a tour of the Appalachian League to mark Opening Day, meeting with clubs, fans, and local officials at TVA Credit Union Ballpark in Johnson City, Tenn.; Hunter Wright Stadium in Kingsport, Tenn.; Bowen Field in Bluefield, W.Va.; and Calfee Park in Pulaski; plus visits to Greeneville, Tenn.; Elizabethton, Tenn.; Bristol, Va.; and Princeton, W. Va.