Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Don’t hold your breath waiting for D.C. All-Star game

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Watching the All-Star Game Festivities this week has me pining for Washington’s turn to host baseball’s all-stars. I’ve got a bad feeling that fans like me will have to wait a long time until we get the chance to watch the all-stars gather in the nation’s capital.
Right now, the games through 2013 are spoken for and Washington isn’t on the schedule. There’s some logic to MLB picking the venue. The league usually leans towards teams with new stadiums or who haven’t ever hosted the game. MLB officials are also very mindful of anniversaries and notable events, so I can see them trying to honor those events as well. Keeping all that in mind, Washington, D.C. would have to get very lucky to get the All-Star game before 2018.
The Mets already have claimed 2013 and rightfully so. Citi Field opened in 2009 and the Mets haven’t hosted an All-Star game since 1964 (Washington did have the All-Star game in 1969 with the Senators). As much as I can’t root for another NL East team, I at least hope the game doesn’t bring even more attention to the embarrassing finances of the Mets. It would be a good story if the Mets got their balance sheet in order before hosting the game.
In 2014, both the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs have requested the game. MLB tries to alternate between AL and NL hosts, so the Twins make sense in this spot since they just opened Target Field last year. However, Chicago will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. I think MLB will make an exception to their rule and let Chicago host the game. They did it to honor the anniversary of Detroit as a city and also rearranged the order so old Yankee Stadium could host it in its final season. By default, the Twins should get the game in 2015.
Washington could get up in arms about getting snubbed in 2016, but I think it’s a good bet that’s what happens. Nationals Park will be in its 9th season of play, way overdue for what’s becoming one of the nicer new stadiums and fan experiences in baseball. Another NL East rival stands in the way. No matter how undeserving the Florida Marlins and their apathetic fan base are of hosting the game, they’re even more overdue. Miami would be one of two cities at that point who would have never hosted the All-Star Game and the Marlins are due to open a new stadium by that time, too. MLB also took the game away from Florida in 2000 and moved it to Atlanta, so they’ll probably get a make-up call.
Back to alternating in 2017, Tampa should get the game at that point, finally giving all current MLB cities a chance to host the game.
Then in 2018, Washington should finally get the shot it deserves. I’d love to see Ryan Zimmerman,Stephen Strasburg, and Bryce Harper all still in Nationals uniforms (and All-Stars for that matter) at that point, but seven years is an eternity in baseball, so who knows what the team or the city will look like then.

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