In a break from tradition, Major League Baseball awarded the 2016 All-Star Game to the San Diego Padres, meaning a National League team will host the game in consecutive years as the 2015 game will be played at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Next year will mark the second time an NL team has hosted the Midsummer Classic in back to back years since 2006 at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park and 2007 at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. Under the current system and tradition, one would expect the 2017 All-Star Game to be played in an American League stadium, however commissioner Rob Manfred indicated a change in the process may be forthcoming.
In a question-and-answer session with ESPN.com, Manfred said he’s hoping to adopt a bidding process similar to what the NFL utilizes to determine the Super Bowl host, via ESPN’s Jayson Stark:
One of the things that I am going to try to do with All-Star Games is — and we’ll make some announcements in the relatively short-term — I am looking to be in more of a competitive-bidding, Super Bowl-awarding-type mode, as opposed to [saying], `You know, I think Chicago is a good idea,’ ” he replied.
Manfred later added he believes Chicago would be an excellent selection as the host city for the All-Star Game. Wrigley Field last held the honor in 1990 and is undergoing another series of renovations this offseason.
While Manfred didn’t offer specifics on his proposed change to the bidding process, it’s believed a city’s overall presentation will be taken into account:
Manfred did not specify how that bidding would work. However, sources say that rather than choosing cities based on which league they’re in, All-Star Game hosts will be chosen in the future based on the merits of the city and ballpark, and which team and city can produce the best “All-Star experience.” But the process will be complicated, at least initially, by other factors.
Shifting to a Super Bowl-like bidding process to determine the All-Star Game host conceivably would bode well for a city such as Los Angeles and the Dodgers, who haven’t hosted the summer game since 1980.
However, what may prove troublesome is MLB needing to fulfill commitments to teams that have recently built stadiums. They delivered in some regards with the 2013 game at Citi Field and last year’s at Target Field, and furthered their cause with the 2015 and 2016 games.
Though that still leaves new Yankee Stadium, Nationals Park and MLB’s youngest stadium, Marlins Park, void of an All-Star Game. Former commissioner Bud Selig said in January the Dodgers were deserving of hosting the Midsummer Classic, which may now be a handful of years away.
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