It's time for Orioles to host the All-Star Game - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

It’s time for Orioles to host the All-Star Game

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan USA TODAY Sports

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A reader posed an old question with a new twist this week. Now that a long-term lease has signed when can we expect the All-Star Game to return?

The Orioles last hosted the All-Star Game in 1993 when Camden Yards was just a year old. It was a smashing success, and at the time no one would have expected it would take more than three decades for the game to return.

There have been only two All-Star Games in Baltimore, in 1958, and the most recent one, 35 years later. It’s possible that it will be 35 years—or even longer—between All-Star Games here.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has awarded All-Star Games through 2026 — to the Texas Rangers in 2024, the Atlanta Braves in 2025 and the Philadelphia Phillies in 2026.

Globe Life Field, Truist Park and Citizens Bank Park each will host for the first time.

Could the Orioles get in line for 2027?

Maybe, but there are two teams with existing parks that have waited longer than the Orioles. Wrigley Field last hosted an All-Star Game in 1990, and the park has been upgraded in recent years.

The same is true for the Toronto Blue Jays. Rogers Centre has had a massive renovation in the past few years, and Toronto last hosted an All-Star Game in 1991, two years before the Orioles.

It’s been even longer for the Oakland Athletics, who had an All-Star Game in 1987, but the timetable for building their new park in Las Vegas is still uncertain.

The new Yankee Stadium hasn’t had an All-Star Game, either. There was one at the old stadium in its last year, 2008, but there’s no better place for a big event in New York.

And, the Tampa Bay Rays haven’t had one, either. Tropicana Field wasn’t up to MLB standards for an All-Star Game, and the timetable for its successor is also uncertain, but baseball likes to show off its new parks.

Three stadiums that hosted an All-Star Game more recently than Camden Yards have had repeat games — Cleveland in 1997 and 2019, Colorado in 1998 and 2021, and Seattle in 2001 and 2023.

The Rockies were awarded the game because Manfred took away the 2021 game from Atlanta because of Georgia’s new laws on voting restrictions.

Manfred has been sensitive on the issue of the Orioles and the All-Star Game. Just before the 2018 game, he brushed away suggestions that MLB was avoiding Baltimore because the Orioles and Nationals were arguing over MASN rights fees for television Nats games.

That original dispute has been settled and reports have surfaced that the teams are in agreement on rights fees for more recent seasons.

At a session with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America at the Winter Meetings in 2022, Manfred said that he was in regular contact with Orioles’ Chairman and CEO John Angelos and his mother, Georgia, and wasn’t concerned with the suit brought by John’s brother, Louis. That suit has been settled.

With All-Star Games committed for the next three years, that gives the Orioles plenty of time to upgrade Camden Yards and for MLB to show off the ballpark in 2027.

The site for the ’27 game may not be decided until sometime in 2025. It wasn’t until last month that the Braves were awarded the 2025 game. The Phillies had long since been given the 2026 game to coincide with the nation’s 250th anniversary. They also had the game in 1976 for the bicentennial.

The new lease has elected officials excited. Mayor Brandon Scott and Governor Wes Moore, both avid sports fans, have made attracting big events a priority.

Baltimore’s refurbished CFG Arena has become a go-to for concert-goers, though it hasn’t had many sporting events there since it reopened in March.

Moore has also made retaining the Washington Commanders in Prince George’s County a priority, hoping that Maryland is the site for the team’s stadium to replace outmoded FedEx Field.

If the Ravens host their first AFC Championship Game next month, that could help put Baltimore sports in a positive light, too.

Since the All-Star Game was last here, there have been plenty of new hotel rooms added downtown, and it appears plans for updating Harborplace will be decided soon. That can only help.

While the Orioles wouldn’t make any money directly from an All-Star Game, there are plenty of reasons to have one here.

Season ticket sales would likely increase because fans would like to get the opportunity to buy tickets to the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.

The team also benefits from positive publicity about downtown Baltimore, and the Orioles are likely to be competitive for the next several years.

Having the All-Star Game return to Baltimore is long overdue, and the good news around the Orioles can only make the case stronger.

RAVENS LINKS FROM BALTIMORESPORTS.COM

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