Thursday January 20th, 2022
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History of MLB Celebrity Softball Game

 

History of MLB Celebrity Softball Game

First played in 2001, the MLB Celebrity All-Star Softball Game has become a fixture in the All-Star weekend festivities. Along the same lines as the celebrity game in the NBA, MLB’s equivalent features a mix of retired players and celebrities in a relaxed, and quietly competitive, softball game.

While sites like https://www.sidelines.io/ show an array of odds on the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game itself, the Celebrity Softball Game doesn’t always grab the headlines. It’s more likely to produce a viral social media clip than capture the imagination of bettors.

Still, it’s a chance to see some all-time greats return to the field. Some celebrities can show off their athletic prowess too, while others may illustrate why they didn’t pursue a career in sport.

History

The 2001 All-Star weekend was the first to feature an MLB Celebrity Softball Game. Seattle was the host city for this iteration of the midseason classic, and the two teams were named after types of coffee drinks as a nod to Seattle’s coffee industry.

Until 2006, the game was played with standard softball rules, including a wall placed 220 ft (67.1 m) from home plate. In efforts to shorten the game, they cut two innings in 2007, playing just a five-inning game. Every player on the team batted in the five innings regardless of whether they were playing the field.

Tweaks have been made to the format of the Celebrity Softball Game throughout its history, and that theme continued into the 2010s.

A sixth inning was added in 2013, which has stuck until the present day. Rather than extending to extra innings, they brought in a ‘swing-off’. This is effectively a home run derby style mini-game with each team picking a batter to take on five rounds – the player that hit the most home runs won the game for their team.

When is the MLB Celebrity Softball Game?

Played as a part of All-Star weekend, the Celebrity Softball Game takes place the day before the Home Run Derby in that year’s All-Star ballpark.

It is broadcast on a tape delay on ESPN, which is shown after the Home Run Derby.

Seattle’s Safeco Field hosted the first Celebrity Softball Game in 2001. Colorado’s Coors Field was its home for 2021, following a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Former players

Of the former players of the Softball Game, Harold Reynolds was a fixture in the early years, managing in the first six editions. Trevor Hoffman, Ozzie Smith, Vladimir Guerrero and Rickey Henderson have all featured in recent games.

An array of celebrities have appeared. Jamie Foxx was a manager for three consecutive years, and Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf played in the 2021 game in Colorado. Soccer players Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra have participated, and Larry Fitzgerald appeared for the National League in 2014.

Away from the sporting sphere, Chrissy Teigen, Nick Jonas, MC Hammer, Chris Rock, Spike Lee, Jimmy Kimmel and Macklemore have also shown off their skills (or lack of) in the Celebrity Softball Game. 

 

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