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Could Wrigley Field Host An All-Star Game Soon?

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Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke on this topic and others at the GM meetings.

This was what the Wrigley scoreboard looked like the last time the Cubs hosted an All-Star Game, July 10, 1990
This was what the Wrigley scoreboard looked like the last time the Cubs hosted an All-Star Game, July 10, 1990
Al Yellon

Baseball's general managers are meeting in Boca Raton, Florida this week. Don't you wish you were there? (In Florida. Or at the meetings. Or both?) Commissioner Rob Manfred had a news conference Tuesday morning and spoke to a number of topics, summarized here by Paul Sullivan of the Tribune. You can certainly discuss any of these topics in the comments here, but I'm particularly pointing you to this one:

Wrigley Field has not had an All-Star Game since 1990, and the earliest it can happen now is in 2019. The next three games will be at San Diego, Miami and Washington, respectively.

Manfred said they’ll be giving consideration to applications "shortly." Whether Wrigley will be ready to host a game by then is unknown, as the press box renovation is still a ways down the road.

"We’re committed out pretty good- ’17 and ’18," Manfred said. "But I don’t think the renovation needs to be complete to consider Wrigley for a possible All-Star Game. It’s been a long time. It’s an iconic location. It’s a question of how far out we want to be committed right now."

Wrigley Field just hosted a pretty large event, the National League Championship Series, in which several hundred media managed to get their work done, so the press box being a bit small by modern standards shouldn't be a big deal. At least four sections' worth of the 500 level seats down the left-field line were reserved for media during the NLCS. While a larger press box is still a few years away in the renovation plan, the plaza building's completion by next October could provide additional work space for media or news conferences for postseason games or an All-Star Game.

As noted in Sullivan's article, the next three All-Star Games are already assigned, and with the game no longer alternating between leagues but open to a bidding system, it's certainly possible the Cubs might bid for and get the 2019 game, when renovations would be either complete or within one year of being complete. Perhaps 2020 or 2021 would be a more realistic timeframe for welcoming baseball's midsummer classic back to the North Side of Chicago. It's pretty clear the commissioner's office would like to see it happen soon, based on Manfred's comments.