clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wants to open All-Star Game to bidding

New, comments

Would Cleveland ever host the game again???

H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

New commissioner Rob Manfred has quickly shown he won't be afraid of making changes. He's said he's open to a pitch clock, a ban on defensive shifts, and legalized sports betting, among other things. Those are all things he's open to, but doesn't necessarily plan to push for. On the other hand, earlier this week Manfred said he does plan to push for another change:

"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..."

With a few exceptions, for the entire 82-year history of the All-Star Game, hosting duties have alternated between American League and National League teams, and most teams have been given the opportunity to host before cycling back to a team that has already hosted more recently. In the last 25 years, 24 different teams have hosted, with only the Pirates having gotten to host twice. During that time the only teams that have not hosted are the A's, Dodgers, Marlins, Nationals, Rays, and Reds.

Cincinnati will host this year, MIami and Washington each have relatively new stadiums and were expected to host soon (and Manfred has said that even if a change is made, such commitments will likely still be honored, Oakland hosted in 1987, and the Rays only began playing in 1998. Only the Dodgers really seem to have been left out. (They last hosted in 1980.)

I like seeing the game played in different cities and hosted by different teams each year. I like that (for the most part) every fan base eventually gets to see it at their team's stadium. The Super Bowl is mostly held in the same four or five ities, and it seems very possible that changing the way ASG hosting duties are distributed could lead lead to a similar situation.

One potential outcome of the change which I have not seen addressed, is the possibility that cities that don't have an MLB team might be eligible to bid on the game. Could we see an All-Star Game in New Orleans or Las Vegas? With relations between the nations thawing and Cuba crazy for baseball, could Havana someday host the game? Those possibilities are somewhat intriguing, but I don't want to see New York host the All-Star Game every four or five years, with the same handful of other teams rotating through while half the league never again gets the opportunity.

The ASG was most recently in Cleveland in 1997, so under the current system it'd still likely be another 15 years before the Indians host again. Under the new system though, it seems like there's a good chance they'd never host again.