Fast facts about this year's Midsummer Classic

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ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 20: A detail shot of the 2024 Major League Baseball All-Star Game logo on Globe Life Field during the 2024 MLB All-Star Logo Unveiling at Globe Life Field on Thursday, July 20, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Major League Baseball's All-Star Game commences next week and if you've been watching closely thus far, you may or may not be surprised at a few fun facts heading into the Midsummer Classic. 

From teams climbing the standings and sending more players for the first time in a while, to all eyes being on the host city — Arlington, Texas (home of the Texas Rangers) — and its second time welcoming MLB all-stars for just the second time. 

Teams of note:

Pittsburgh Pirates

For baseball fans in the Steel City, it's been more than three decades (with a few glimpses mixed in) since the national pastime gave one of the game's oldest fan bases a glimmer of hope of forthcoming success regarding the postseason and even talk regarding the World Series. 

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It may not be this year (although the trade deadline could change that) but there's plenty of excitement that's worth being built if you're a Pirates fan. 

For the second straight year, the Pirates are sending more than one player to the All-Star Game; rookie pitcher Paul Skenes and outfielder Bryan Reynolds.

For years the Pirates have only had one representative in the All-Star Game, the last time the team sent more than two players to the Midsummer Classic was in 2015 when Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett, Mark Melancon, and Andrew McCutchen represented the Bucs and in turn would lead the team to its third consecutive postseason. 

The most players sent in a Pirates uniform ever was in 1972 when Pittsburgh was represented by a team record of eight players. 

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As of Monday, the Pirates are in third place in the National League Central Division with a 42-47 record, five games below a .500, they have the opportunity to be at .500 at the All-Star Break with games against division rivals the Milwaukee Brewers and American League division rivals the Chicago White Sox. 

The last time the Pirates were above .500 at the All-Star Break was 2015 when the team was 53-35.

Kansas City Royals

When you mix surprise with a team that's been dormant for several years now, you get the 2024.

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The Royals were a team that surprised and got the attention of a lot of baseball writers, analysts and fans during Spring Training. The team has been in stiff competition in the American League Central battling the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians for the top spot, but it's even closer in the current Wild Card standings.

Kansas City has four representatives going to the All-Star Game in 2024; Salvador Perez, Bobby Witt, Jr.; Seth Lugo and Cole Ragans.

The team sent seven players to the Midsummer Classic in 2015 — fresh off their first American League Championship season from a year ago which would push to a World Series Championship result in 2015. Those seven players set a Kansas City record for most players sent to the All-Star Game. 

Detroit Tigers

The future looked semi-bright for the Tigers when they brought in A.J. Hinch as manager and signed Javier Baez, but since then that brightness has slowly dimmed, with most of the glow coming from the pitcher's mound. 

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The Tigers only get two representatives this year; Riley Greene and Tarik Skubal.

In 2017, three players were selected in 2017; Michael Fulmer, Justin Upton, and Justin Wilson. Four players were selected in 2014; Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, and Max Scherzer. The most players ever sent to the All-Star Game is seven in 1984 — the Tigers would defeat the San Diego Padres in the World Series later that year. 

St. Louis Cardinals

It's not just the All-Star Game representation that is raising eyebrows across MLB regarding the Cardinals. Over the last two seasons, there have been many reflections on the team's play since before the Tony La Russa era began in 1996.

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The Cardinals have a lone representative in closer Ryan Helsley, but John Denton, who covers the Cardinals for MLB.com notes relievers JoJo Romero and Andrew Kittredge lead high in the holds stat and to the team's surprise did not get selected. Rookie shortstop Masyn Winn was also not selected despite his notable offense and defense in the first half of the season. 

This is the second consecutive year the Cardinals will have one representative at the All-Star Game. Nolan Arenado represented St. Louis in 2023. 

This is the first time in the Cardinals' storied history that one player has represented the team in consecutive years. Prior to Arendo's lone All-Star appearance in 2023, the Cardinals last sent one All-Star in 2019 — shortstop Paul DeJong. After Albert Pujols represented the Cardinals in the 2007 All-Star Game, the Redbirds had multiple players go to the Midsummer Classic between 2008 and 2018. 

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Texas Rangers All-Star Game hosting facts

2 times, 2 ballparks

Since moving to Arlington, Texas more than 50 years ago, the Rangers have hosted the All-Star Game twice. The team's former ballpark, more commonly known as The Ballpark in Arlington despite several name changes, was one year old when the 1995 All-Star Game came to town, and this year, the 5-year-old Globe Life Field will play host. 

Artificial turf

For the first time since 1996, the All-Star Game will be played on artificial turf.

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The Rangers are one of five teams to have artificial turf for their playing surface. A far cry from the multipurpose Astroturf that accommodated baseball and football in the old cookie-cutter stadiums — which was the case at the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia in 1996. 

Along with the Rangers, other teams that use artificial turf include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays.

Only 2 representatives

Despite being the defending World Series champions, only two players will represent the Rangers in their ballpark at the 2024 MLB All-Star Game; Marcus Semien and Kirby Yates.

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But don't feel too bad for just a duo standing tall for Rangers, in 2018 the Washington Nationals hosted the All-Star Game and they only had one representative; Max Scherzer.

A first

Many times ballparks have hosted both the World Series and All-Star Game in the same year, as well as be hosted by a city that appeared in the World Series the previous year. However, in 2024, this will be the first time in baseball history that a team has won the World Series and hosted the All-Star Game the following year. 

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Watch: Experience the magic of the ballpark in this 2024 Opening Day teaser

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