Does Los Angeles Have to Demolish Dodger Stadium to Get Another All-Star Game?
Contributed by Michael Bader
Sunday, 08 July 2007
All-Star history is indeed very trendy. Between 1960 and 1987, the NL won 26 of the 30 games played. It does add up for you math skeptics as there were 2 all-star games each year from 1960 - 1962. Between 1988 and 2006, the AL has won 15 of 18 games.
The mystery of MLB logic continues to evade reason and common sense of the loyal baseball fans throughout America. For the life of me, I continue to struggle with what discernable pattern the commissioner’s office uses to select the host city for the all-star game.
The Grand Plan
Since 1993, the trend has been for the league to announce the all-star host city 2 or 3 years in advance to encourage cities to spend money building a new park for its home town team. MLB appears to be using the all-star game as one of the incentives to entice teams and cities to construct “state-of-the-art” baseball only ballparks.
Bud’s strategy involves little logic because both Arizona and Tampa Bay have been around since 1998 with newly constructed stadiums. Both are yet to host an all-star game but in all fairness to Selig, Arizona will get the 2010 game, some 12 years after having built their retractable roofed ballpark in Phoenix. Who knows how long it will take Tampa Bay to get on the radar gun for a game?
Pull Out the Map or Ask for Directions!
Now, what do the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Orioles and A’s all have in common?
Since 1960, these teams have hosted only one (1) all-star game. The Orioles hosted the all-star game in 1993 after constructing beautiful Camden Yards (Memorial Stadium hosted the 1958 game but it doesn’t count since I wasn’t born yet).
The A’s hosted the 1987 all-star event, while across the bay the Giants will be hosting their third (3rd) all-star game since 1960. Go figure!
So what do the Marlins, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Orioles and A’s have to do to get the attention of the all-omnipotent Bud Selig?
The Marlins have never hosted an all-star game even though the Rockies hosted in 1998 and both teams came into being in 1993. A Florida baseball blog had this bit of insight, “By the time Major League Baseball gets around to thinking about playing an all-star game in Florida, the Marlins' stadium lease will have expired, and without a new stadium, the team will be playing its home games in Portland, Las Vegas, or Sheboygan, Wisc.” I believe that Florida will not host a game in Dolphin Stadium because they play in an outdoor football facility in a bad summer weather city. Interestingly enough it has been 11 years since a football/baseball stadium hosted an all-star game and most likely “the Vet” will be the last.
If You Build It, Will They Come?
On July 10th, Frisco will join the Pirates and Indians as the only other teams to host their 3rd all-star game since 1960. Some rationale to this insanity might be that Cleveland, Pittsburgh and San Francisco are small-market teams and are desperate for revenue.
In the past 17 years, only 5 teams were granted the all-star game without having to ”mortgage the farm” for a new park. San Diego hosted in 1992 at “the Murph” and Philadelphia in 1996 at “the Vet”. Since then each has constructed new fields and will likely host another upcoming all-star game in the next few years joining them with the other 3 time hosts since 1960.
The Cardinals have not hosted since 1966, but having recently built New Bush Stadium, are scheduled to host the mid-summer classic in 2009. Kansas City hosted (as the A’s) in 1960 and (as the Royals) in 1973 and according to their website are expecting to host the all-star game sometime between 2010 - 2014. Hopefully Royal fans are not holding their breath like they do during the regular season. Chances are good that MLB is holding out believing that KC will build George Brett Stadium for the Royals so KC won’t see the game until they join the all-star square dance.
In a fitting tribute, the 2008 all-star game is appropriately scheduled for Yankee Stadium in what is left of the original house that Ruth built. The last time the Mets hosted was in 1964 during the Worlds Fair at Flushing Meadows and they haven’t seen an all-star game since. The Mets might have to wait until 2011 – 2014 to host its 2nd all-star game under the league’s “strategic plan” as they will open new CitiField in 2009.
San Diego was lucky enough to host the all-star game twice in 14 years (1978 & 1992). Cincinnati is next on the list with twice in 18 years (1970 & 1988). Both have brand new parks and under should be in line to host their third all-star game after 2010.
Washington D.C. hasn’t seen an all-star game since 1969, but hosted twice in 7 years (1962 & 1969). With the National’s new stadium being built, DC will once again host an all-star game shortly after 2010.
Since 1960, the White Sox, Twins, Phillies have hosted twice in 20 years, Anaheim twice in 21 years and Seattle twice in 22 years. Philly has a new park and Anaheim Stadium was drastically overhauled in recent years, so once again should be on the short list of cities to host their 3rd all-star games. Texas, Baltimore and Toronto have only hosted once and it was largely due to the then “state-of-the-art” ballparks.
The Ugly Ducklings
So Los Angeles and Oakland are shunned because they are not in new stadiums. However, the Cubs and Red Sox play in “turn-of-the-century” facilities and both were granted all-star games in 1990 and 1999 respectively. Constant upgrades to Dodger Stadium by Fox and the McCourt’s leave it far from the classic, yet dilapidated conditions of Wrigley Field or Fenway Park.
MLB did the right thing for the 2008 game at Yankee Stadium and should once again pay homage by having the Dodgers host the 2012 all-star game to commemorate the grand lady’s 50th anniversary. It will have been 31 years since baseball’s 3rd oldest ballpark hosted the all-star classic largely due to the incomprehensive “Bud Selig plan”.
Rumor has it that the commissioner is considering a best of 9 World Series with 2 games played in neutral sites. Will someone e-mail me and remind me again why baseball owner Selig runs the “independent” commissioner’s office? Too bad Bud’s plan doesn’t include his retirement.