Earlier this week, while answering questions from fans at MLB FanFest in Miami, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred responded to a fan who wanted to know when the All-Star Game was going to be back at Wrigley Field. The game hasn't been held there since 1990 -- the MVP of that game was Julio Franco -- and the place has been remodeled and refurbished dramatically since then, especially with that Commissioner's Trophy the team finally brought home last year.
"Are you prepared to announce that the game is coming back to Wrigley?" the fan asked.
Commissioner Manfred smiled and said he just recently had another conversation with a Cubs fan about this very thing and that he'd tell this guy what he told the last guy, who happened to be Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel: "I can't make any commitment, but I am sure the All-Star Game will be back there in the near future."
This piqued my interest because, well, I am a bit of a future All-Star Game location enthusiast, if such a thing exists. I've been to the past five All-Star Games, and I'm always fascinated with how cities host them and what it says about the personality of each city. The All-Star Game is the rare event that ultimately hits every town, giving each little baseball city its own personal celebration of the game. The best part, for me, isn't the game itself: It's how the city hosting it embraces it.
So last year before the ASG, I attempted to predict what cities would be awarded future All-Star Games. I went all the way to 2026. And I was … very, very wrong. Egregiously wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. Oh, and immediately wrong: I predicted that the 2019 game would be played at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Five months later, there was this:
Not good on my part! But I'm willing to try again. Now that we know where the next two games are going to be -- Washington next season and Cleveland in 2019 -- I want to have one last opportunity to try to get these right.
And there's an anniversary coming up, too. This year was the 88th edition of the MLB All-Star Game, which means we're going to have the big 100th All-Star Game in 2029. That's not all that far from now, for what it's worth: For example, you can probably count on Bryce Harper signing a contract that takes him through his 2029 season in the next couple of years. So let's project it all the way out. I promise, right or (almost certainly) wrong, this will be the last time I do this.
Like last year, let's note who both hasn't hosted and hasn't hosted in a long time:
Here are the current MLB stadiums that have never hosted an All-Star Game:
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
SunTrust Park, Atlanta
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Yankee Stadium, New York (the new one, of course)
There are also six active stadiums that haven't hosted the game in more than 20 years:
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles (1980)
Oakland Coliseum, Oakland (1987)
Wrigley Field, Chicago (1990)
Rogers Centre, Toronto (1991)
Camden Yards, Baltimore (1993)
Coors Field, Denver (1998)
The first thing you can do, sadly, is eliminate Tropicana Field and the Oakland Coliseum. Commissioner Manfred himself said in that same FanFest discussion that both teams are in flux -- and, in fact, potential expansion is in flux -- until they figure out how to get new stadiums. So those venues are not hosting any All-Star Games. Maybe if one of those teams gets a new stadium in the next decade, they could get on this list, and we'll even allot for that in our predictions. But they definitely won't be where the teams play now.
Two National League teams are hosting in a row, but traditionally speaking, the leagues have alternated. Considering Commissioner Manfred said he doesn't imagine ever going away from the National League vs. American League format, it seems a fair guess that we'll continue to alternate.
So with all that in mind: Let's go for it. Here are the predictions for the next 12 All-Star Game location. I look forward to looking stupid again this January.
2018: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. All right, I'm pretty sure I got this one right, presuming of course that Washington, D.C., is in fact still standing next July.
2019: Progressive Field, Cleveland. This one has already been set in stone, and there's also a non-zero possibility that LeBron James will have just announced that he's leaving the Cavaliers mere days before this game. (Unless he does it a year earlier.) So that would be fun.
2020: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. It's patently absurd that it will have been almost 40 years since the Dodgers have hosted an All-Star Game. It's time. Plus, Vin Scully can probably throw out the first pitch. People might enjoy that.
2021: Rogers Centre, Toronto. Toronto's probably due, particularly around the time that Montreal is going to be pushing hard for another team. Plus, getting the game out of the country will give everyone a four-day respite from what will surely be another soul-destroying presidential election campaign.
2022: SunTrust Park, Atlanta. The parking situation has to be figured out by then, right?
2023: Camden Yards, Baltimore. It will have been nearly 30 years at this point that the original throwback, classic baseball stadium hosted the ASG. It's about time for everyone to descend on what remains one of the loveliest stadiums on the planet.
2024: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia. I'm sure they'd like to avoid having consecutive ASGs on the Eastern Seaboard, but this place would be almost 20 years old at this point. Stadiums are lucky to live 20 years anymore, let alone not get to host an All-Star Game. Maybe they'll host this one just in time to ask for another one.
2025: Unnamed Rangers Stadium, Arlington. The new building, which is going to have a roof and everything, opens in 2020, so they should have a SunTrust Park-like type period to iron out all the kinks before taking their moment on the big stage.
2026: Coors Field, Denver. By this time, the pendulum of baseball will have probably swung back the other direction, and we'll all be desperate for more homers. Enter Coors Field, which at this point would have gone the second longest in the National League between All-Star Games.
2027: Yankee Stadium, New York. This is far enough away from the Citi Field game in 2013 that we can have the game in New York City again. Aaron Judge will be almost 40 by this point.
2028: Miller Park, Milwaukee. It would have been 26 years since the tie fiasco. It's probably time to let the past go, once and for all. This would be an opportunity to at last exorcise those demons. Bud Selig will be about to turn 93 before this game. He can throw out the first pitch.
2029 (the 100th ASG): Wrigley Field, Chicago. We'll break the AL-NL pattern with the 100th game, which obviously has to be at Wrigley. If they end up giving the Cubs an All-Star Game before 2028, they can give this one to Fenway Park, which will have gone nearly 30 years without one by this date. (Yep, you're getting old.) But no matter what: The 100th All-Star Game should be at one of the two grand classic ballparks remaining. You might find thinking this far ahead a bit silly, but I guarantee you someone at MLB is doing just that.
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