Now that Major League Baseball has made the decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta, the league needs to find a suitable home for its summer showcase event. As we noted in our previous piece, MLB needs to move the game to a location where voter suppression laws aren’t being passed or seriously discussed or else the move will lose any and all impact. So, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan are definitely out. We offer up these four locales (in order) as our choices for the new site of the game:
LOS ANGELES DODGERS – Ok, so this is an easy one and the location we think MLB will likely choose. The Dodgers were supposed to have the game in 2020, but it was cancelled due to the global pandemic. They are scheduled to host the game in 2022. So, you have a team that was already prepared to host, and would therefore likely be able to handle getting everything ready on short notice. Dodger Stadium is a world class venue with loads of new features, home of the World Series Champions, and a ready fan base that will eagerly buy up whatever tickets go on sale. The only issue is that the Dodgers play at home the weekend before the game, which is generally not done by the host teams in order to allow MLB to make the venue into their own showcase. An easy fix to this would be for the Dodgers and Diamondbacks to swap home series in June and July. This should be an easy choice for MLB.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX – If Major League Baseball wants to highlight its stated commitment to baseball in urban locales and provide more opportunities for underserved black and brown communities, then the South Side of Chicago is the spot for MLB to showcase that effort. Guaranteed Rate Field has undergone a number of renovations and is a fun place to watch a game. (I’ve been to dozens of games there. I miss it.) The White Sox are going to be good this season and would likely jump at the opportunity to showcase the club, stadium, and city. Once again, it’s a big city so no problems with ticket sales. The White Sox are away prior to the All-Star Break, so scheduling shouldn’t be a problem.
COLORADO ROCKIES – It’s been 23 years since Coors Field hosted the All-Star game. The size of the ballpark would allow for a larger crowd to put more money in MLB’s pockets (always a top consideration for the league). The altitude would help propel balls out of the park and meet MLB’s desire for increased offense. (The 1998 ASG was the last in which at least one team had double digits in runs.) Colorado could use some good news this season and getting people to go to an unexpected All-Star Game wouldn’t seem to be much of a problem in Denver. Colorado is also beautiful and we all could use a pretty setting now and then. The Rockies also play away the week before the game, so no scheduling problems.
PITTSBURGH PIRATES – PNC Park is the most beautiful ballpark in the majors. I mean, have you seen a game there? It’s such a fantastic experience. Anyway, PNC Park is also the smallest ballpark, meaning that MLB won’t have quite so much to do to give the park a makeover or to sell quite so many tickets as they would otherwise have to in other cities. Major League Baseball mooted the park as a possible home to the Blue Jays last year during the pandemic-shortened season, which leads me to believe that the venue can be used to accommodate most anything at short notice. It also keeps the All-Star Game in the East for TV planning purposes. The Pirates are away the weekend before the game, so no problems there.
Playing at any of these venues would result in a quality All-Star Game. All of these locations would provide a welcome contrast to Atlanta, and I suspect voting rights proponents will take the opportunity to illustrate the brightline distinctions for all to see. We suspect that we will be watching the game – on TV – live from Los Angeles, but hey, maybe MLB has something else in store. We shall see soon.