Commissioner Rob Manfred met with Paul Dolan and other members of the Indians front office this morning to officially award Cleveland the 2019 All-Star game.
Rumors linking the Indians to the midsummer classic circulated during the last few days, drumming up a great deal of excitement throughout the fanbase. While fans should be excited, so should businesses around the city of Cleveland. The 1997 All-Star game delivered $40m in economic impact to the city, while the 2019 game is currently estimated to bring $60-65m to the city. The figures are according to Paul Dolan; regardless, focusing the spotlight of Major League Baseball on the city of Cleveland for an entire weekend will be a boon.
The upgrades that the franchise continue to make to the stadium are one of the most important reasons the Indians were awarded the game. Several teams around the league and in other major sports have opened and abandon stadiums since Progressive Field opened. The team views the stadium as a long-term investment and important cultural site for the city as whole rather than a temporary home for a baseball team. To me, there is no better sign of this than the decision to fill the food concourse with Cleveland-based breweries, restaurants, and mad scientists.
While the team is unlikely to break any new records for attendance — the capacity of Progressive Field dropped to 35,225 before the 2017 season due to the renovations — the team will likely add seats for All-Star weekend just as it did for the playoffs.
Several Indians players will have a chance to perform in the game. Perhaps one of them will deliver a moment as awesome as Sandy Alomar Jr’s go-ahead blast in 1997.
Sure, “winning the offseason” doesn’t mean anything once April rolls around, but landing the All-Star game and Edwin Encarnacion amounts to a coup for the Indians.