Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that the 2020 All-Star Game will be held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Let me interrupt this post to say that “2020” still, to me, sounds like one of those far-off science fiction years. We should at the very least have flying cars by now.
But no, 2020 is very real and just two years away, and Dodger Stadium will host the Midsummer Classic for the first time in 40 years.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement: “Major League Baseball is proud to bring the All-Star Game to Los Angeles and fans of the Dodgers in 2020. As last year’s World Series demonstrated, Dodger Stadium remains one of our game’s classic ballparks, and it will be a perfect venue to showcase the very best of the National Pastime. I congratulate the Dodgers organization and the leaders of Los Angeles on putting together an outstanding bid to host the All-Star festivities.”
Dodger President & Chief Executive Officer Stan Kasten said: “We’ve made no secret that bringing an All-Star Game back to Los Angeles was a priority for our ownership group, and we couldn’t be more excited for Dodger fans and to showcase Dodger Stadium and Los Angeles to a worldwide audience in 2020. We’d like to thank Commissioner Rob Manfred, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Gil Cedillo for their efforts to secure this premier sporting event for our community, which will benefit from baseball’s legacy youth programs for years to come.”
The statement by Stan Kasten is relevant to the Cubs and their desire to host the All-Star Game at Wrigley Field. The Cubs, like the Dodgers, have made no secret that they’d like to host the game at Wrigley once the restoration/expansion project is complete.
That’s likely why (in addition to the four decades since Dodger Stadium hosted) the Cubs will have to wait a year or two beyond 2020 to host. Cubs VP of Wrigley Restoration and Expansion Carl Rice told us at the 1914 Club tour Wednesday that the Cubs expect to be finished with the restoration/expansion phase of the project sometime during 2019. That likely means, like this year, that the park will be ready to go for baseball on Opening Day, but that some things won’t be completed until later in calendar year 2019.
Thus I’d think the Cubs would want a full 2020 season to make sure everything’s just the way they want it before putting in a bid for an All-Star Game and related festivities.
Remember that “bid” is the operative word now, as noted by Manfred in his quote above. The game no longer alternates between leagues on an annual basis. It used to be simply awarded to cities that expressed interest; now, a team and city makes a coordinated bid, similar to All-Star Games in the NBA and NHL, or the Super Bowl. Beyond the game, Home Run Derby and Futures Game, there’s a FanFest and other related events. So the City of Chicago will also be involved in putting together any Cubs bid.
The All-Star Game will be at a National League park for the fourth straight year this summer, Nationals Park in Washington. Despite that, the American League will be the “home” team and bat last — that is still being alternated between leagues. The A.L. was the home team at the 2016 game in Petco Park; the N.L. batted last in last summer’s game in Miami. That means the N.L. will bat last in the 2019 game in Cleveland, and the A.L. will be the “home” team in the Dodger Stadium game in 2020. Odd, but that’s the way MLB wants it.
Anyway, I’d expect the Cubs to put in a bid for the 2021 or 2022 All-Star Game and likely get it one of those years. Manfred told us at Media Day in Phoenix in February that MLB definitely wants to have an ASG in Chicago and Wrigley some time in the near future.
It’s been 30 years since the last one at Wrigley in 1990; other All-Star Games were played at Wrigley Field in 1947 and 1962. The only other city with an All-Star “drought” nearly as long as Wrigley’s is Baltimore, where the most recent All-Star Game was played in 1993.
It’ll happen, and soon. I’d expect an announcement for 2021 no later than next year, and possibly even later in 2018.