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All-Star Week produced crowds, memories and complaints at Marlins Park

Pitcher Andrew Miller and Robinson Cano and teammates celebrate the win with teammates after the All-Star Game at Marlins Park on Tues., July 11, 2017.
Pitcher Andrew Miller and Robinson Cano and teammates celebrate the win with teammates after the All-Star Game at Marlins Park on Tues., July 11, 2017.

David Samson was groggy when he woke up Wednesday.

“I feel like the morning after hosting a wedding,” the president of the Marlins said after the last lights were turned out on an All-Star Game that ended with the American League’s 2-1 victory in 10 innings.

In all, not quite 75,000 fans turned out to Marlins Park to see Monday’s Home Run Derby and Tuesday’s All-Star Game, with countless others showing up for Sunday’s Futures Game and FanFest activities at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

“The goal of All-Star Week was to have an economic impact in our community and provide memories for fans of baseball of all ages, and I’m pretty sure we were successful in that regard,” Samson said.

While the action in Tuesday’s pitching-dominant All-Star Game was less than pulsating, with strikeouts aplenty and precious little scoring, the Midsummer Classic still provided its moments.

Robinson Cano’s home run in the top of the 10th lifted the AL to its 20th win in the past 23 All-Star Games. But it evened out the all-time record at 43-43-2, with each league scoring precisely 361 runs in their 88-year series.

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge stole the stage from defending champion and hometown favorite Giancarlo Stanton in the Home Run Derby with one tape-measure blast after another.

And Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners provided perhaps the game’s most lasting image when he pulled out a cell phone before his at-bat in the sixth and had Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina take a snapshot of he and umpire Joe West.

“It was weird, huh?” Molina said afterward. “It was weird and funny, too. He asked me for a picture and I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ He said ‘Yeah, yeah take a picture with Joe.’ I took two.”

Though the full national rating wasn’t immediately available, Fox drew a 6.5 “overnight” rating for Tuesday’s game that measures audiences for 56 large TV markets. That was barely ahead of last year’s 6.4 major-market rating, which was the lowest all-time for an All-Star Game.

Kansas City had the highest rating for Tuesday’s game (16.6), followed by St. Louis (12.1) and Cleveland (11.9).

Miami’s 5.6 rating, equal to 5.6 percent of Miami-Ft. Lauderdale homes with TV sets, ranked only 26th among the 56 markets. That 5.6 local rating for Tuesday’s All-Star Game was barely ahead of Miami-Ft. Lauderdale’s 5.5 rating for Monday’s Home Run Derby on ESPN.

Some events, most notably Major League Baseball’s Red Carpet Show in downtown Miami on Tuesday, didn’t seem to generate much interest. The turnout along the parade route was sparse.

And there were numerous complaints about long lines and slow-moving traffic getting into and out of Marlins Park, especially after the Home Run Derby, when most fans waited for the final outcome and left all at once. Many fans began trickling out of Marlins Park before the end of Tuesday’s All-Star Game, helping to ease traffic congestion.

“There were obviously challenges, as there are with any event like this,” Samson said. “Any Super Bowl, World Series, All-Star Game, there are logistical challenges. They’re guaranteed with any big event.”

Though the crowd for Tuesday’s game was announced as a sellout at 37,181, there were pockets of empty seats and face-value tickets were still available in the hours leading up to the first pitch.

“It was exactly as we predicted it would be, exactly as MLB budgeted it to be,” Samson said of crowds and TV ratings. “There was not one surprise. The only difference was that ratings for the Home Run Derby were higher than projected.”

Next year’s All-Star Game is set for Nationals Park in Washington D.C.

For Marlins Park, it’s back to business as usual when the first-place Dodgers arrive Friday to open a three-game series and begin the season’s second half.

“The staff is taking a breath [Wednesday], and Friday we start a homestand,” Samson said. “I got a chance Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to walk around, and there were a lot of people who were experiencing their first — and what could be the only All-Star Game in their home city — and just taking it all in.”

Herald sportswriter Barry Jackson contributed to this report.

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