In one of his final actions as commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig awarded the 2016 All Star Game to the San Diego Padres, who will host the event for the first time at PETCO Park. Selig said in a presentation:
“San Diego is one of America’s most beautiful cities, and showcasing PETCO Park in its thriving downtown will be a remarkable opportunity for the Padres franchise and all of Major League Baseball.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. PETCO is my favorite MLB venue, and San Diego is deserving of an All Star Game. The city has hosted two previous Mid-Summer Classics, in 1978 and 1992. PETCO Park opened in 2004 and is a gem among MLB stadiums.
The decision to let San Diego host the 2016 All Star Game disrupts the alternating nature of the venue between American and National League parks. The site has shifted between and AL and NL park each year since the 1970s, with the exception of the 2006 and 2007 games both being hosted at National League stadiums (Pittsburgh and San Francisco). As this year’s game will be played in Cincinnati, the National League will host consecutive games again from 2015-2016.
Marlins beat reporter Joe Frisaro stated that the reason for this change is that teams who built new parks in the recent years were given a chance at hosting the All Star Game as incentive by Major League Baseball to do so. Comparatively, more NL teams have built new parks recently than those in the AL. Frisaro also stated that Miami is likely to be awareded the 2017 game. Fans and writers of the Washington Nationals are confident in hosting the 2018 game.
Baltimore reportedly felt cheated about losing out to San Diego on the 2016 game, as the Orioles felt they had the best bid of American League teams. Oriole Park at Camden Yards has previously hosted an All Star Game, in 1993. Oriole Park was the pioneer stadium in the recent ballpark revolution. PETCO has a similar design to Camden Yards in that the streets and buildings of the city are incorporated into the structure.
Meanwhile, the All Star Game has never been hosted in the state of Florida as the Marlins and Rays both came about in the 1990s. Neither Floridian team had a decent stadium until the Marlins built their jewel in 2012. Tampa Bay will not likely host the All Star Game until they have a new park, unless such a project is long delayed and Major League Baseball decides to cave.
If predictions hold true, it is likely that the next five Mid-Summer Classics could all be held in National League Stadiums. After Cincinnati, San Diego, Miami, and Washington, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia is the next logical choice as a host venue. It also opened in 2004 and is the only other NL park aside from the ones above that has never hosted the game.
In the American League (aside from Tampa Bay), the new Yankee Stadium is the only park yet to host an All Star Game. It opened in 2009. The Yankees hosted the 2008 game at the old Yankee Stadium, and the Mets hosted the 2013 game at Citi Field, so it is unlikely New York will see another All Star Game for some time.
Assuming the next six All Star Games are played in Cincinnati, San Diego, Miami, Washington, Philadelphia, and Baltimore (not necessarily in that order), Atlanta would be the next logical choice after it opens up the new park in 2017. After that, Oakland and Tampa Bay would both make sense in terms of pecking order, but neither has a stadium suitable to such a glamorous event.
Even more exciting for me, these cities line up with my personal interests perfectly. I go to college in southwestern Ohio, I love the city of San Diego, I’m a huge Marlins fan, my family resides in the DC area, (I don’t care about Philadelphia), and Baltimore is also really close to my home. I have a decent reason to attend five of the next six All Star Games! I’ll play it year-by-year though.