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Las Vegas 51s look to provide Sin City's best entertainment on July 4

November 30,-0001 00:00

With the possible exception of football and Thanksgiving, no sport and holiday go together quite like baseball and the Fourth of July. On Monday night, America's pastime and America's birthday come together to celebrate at Cashman Field as the Las ...

With the possible exception of football and Thanksgiving, no sport and holiday go together quite like baseball and the Fourth of July.On Monday night, America’s pastime and America’s birthday come together to celebrate at Cashman Field as the Las Vegas 51s open a four-game series against the Salt Lake Bees.“For a fan to come to a baseball game, have a couple of hot dogs, have a couple of beers and get to watch fireworks after, that’s pretty much the American dream right there,” 51s reliever Paul Sewald said.Sewald has always played baseball on the Fourth of July. Summertime means baseball season for youth and club ball, so spending his holiday on the diamond is nothing new for him. With one notable exception.“It’s a little different once I came into pro ball, because you became the entertainment on the Fourth of July,” Sewald said. “So for us, we don’t get a Fourth of July, necessarily. It’s just another day with another game.”It’s another game for the 51s, who will look to continue their season series control of Salt Lake as Las Vegas took three of four from the Bees June 17-20 in Salt Lake, outscoring them 26-14. Sean Gilmartin, back from a major league opportunity with the Mets, is scheduled to start for the 51s against Kyle McGowin.The PCL ensures each team gets the opportunity to host the holiday festivities — a team will play at home on either July 3 or July 4. It was easier when the league included Canadian teams, joked 51s general manager Don Logan. Obviously not needing the Fourth for anything, they were willing to host games on the third. Their holiday, Canada Day, is July 1.Still, as much as any American team would seemingly prefer playing on the Fourth of July, it poses issues in the livelier markets.“Honestly, it’s probably a little easier to sell tickets on the third in Vegas,” Logan said. “There’s a lot more going on (on July 4).”The 51s will not be the only entertainment option for people in Las Vegas. Caesars Palace puts on a performance every year, and in its first Independence Day, T-Mobile Arena will launch fireworks as concertgoers leave that night’s Garth Brooks show.The 51s aren’t going to take that lying down. A franchise that stages an eight- to 12-minute show after every Friday night home game will offer a Fourth spectacle that lasts approximately 18 minutes. Logan estimated the display will cost about $20,000.“It’s the best Fourth of July fireworks show in town, by far,” Logan said. “Anyone that’s seen it knows that, so that helps.”Logan said despite the variety of other options, he had 6,800 tickets pre-sold last week before the 51s even launched their media push through email, billboards, social media and other channels. He expects a big walk-up crowd as well.“Obviously the more people you have in the stands, the better the environment, the more excited we are to come in as well,” Sewald said. “They provide better entertainment. The crowd gets amped up.”Las Vegas manager Wally Backman has been in more games on the Fourth of July than he can count, either as a player or coach. He said they are normally a fun atmosphere and a special day, except for one time.In 1985, Backman was playing second base for the Mets in Atlanta. The game went 19 innings and as fun as playing on that day is, it’a more fun when the game does not seep into July 5.“They shot the fireworks at like 4 in the morning,” Backman said. “It was brutal.”Whether the game Monday night goes nine innings or 19, it’s a special day for the country, a special day for baseball and a special day for the 51s. Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world and the 51s want to make sure their entertainment, both on the field and above it in the night sky, is the best in town.“Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and whatever you fry,” Logan said.Justin Emerson can be reached at jemerson@reviewjournal.com. Follow on Twitter: @J15Emerson

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