PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Suns will begin their second Futures Collegiate Baseball League season on Thursday, June 6. But it's another Thursday night that has the team's front office truly excited.
The Futures League released its schedule for the 2013 season on Thursday, and in doing so announced that the Suns will host this year's All-Star Game at Wahconah Park on Thursday, July 25.
"Baseball is so important to the people of Pittsfield that I think they're going to really jump on board for this," said Suns general manager Kevin McGuire. "The fact that we have the best players in the league descending on Pittsfield in one day, I think the fans are going to go wild over it."
That will be one of 28 regular-season home dates at Wahconah Park. The Futures League season opens on Wednesday, June 5, with two games. The rest of the league swings into gear on June 6, with the Suns hosting the Torrington Titans at 7 p.m.
"We're looking forward to the 2013 season," Futures League commissioner Chris Hall said in a statement. "We continue to work toward improving the level of talent and competition in the league."
It was determined at league meetings in October that Pittsfield would host the All-Star Game, but it was not announced until the league schedule had been finalized.
McGuire said that Pittsfield was one of two cities in the league eager to pick up where Nashua left off last year. The Silver Knights hosted the inaugural All-Star Game.
"We're working on securing a sponsorship for the All-Star Game, and then on the season side of it, planning all the promotions and the things we do," said McGuire.
The All-Star Game is one of the highlights of the Suns' 28-game home schedule. There are 27 league games plus the All-Star contest.
"We're still trying to figure out what we want to do as far as pregame [festivities] for the All-Star Game, whether it's going to be a Home Run Derby or something else," the first-year Suns GM said. "Knowing us, we'll probably go outside of the box and do something a little different."
The All-Star Game festivities will actually begin in the early afternoon, as the All-Stars will work out in front of scouts for Major League Baseball teams.
"It'll be a full day event for the [All-Stars]. Then the ballpark will open at 5 o'clock for the game," McGuire said.
Pittsfield will begin its second Futures League season on Thursday, June 6, hosting the Torrington Titans. That's the opening night of Futures League play.
"[The schedule] fits really well. We were able to hand pick a number of dates this year, both for us not to be home and to be home," said McGuire. "We will play five Friday games this year. It's very nice to [have the schedule] spread out."
The Suns will play 14 games against Torrington, their closest neighbor in the league. With nine teams, the league has put together an unbalanced schedule, so not every team will play the other the same number of times. McGuire said the unbalanced schedule is purely for travel purposes.
Of great importance to Pittsfield and Central Berkshire County residents, the Suns will be home on July 4. There will be fireworks following that game against Nashua - one of seven fireworks shows the Suns will put on this year.
The Suns general manager said that it wasn't difficult for the team to get a July 4 home date, because few teams request it.
"Believe it or not, they don't," said McGuire. "Very few teams wanted to actually. There will be a full slate of games that day, but nobody besides us and Nashua really wanted to play at home."
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