At least one Dodger-related drought will come to an end in the next few years.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 11, 2018
For the first time since 1980, Dodger Stadium will play host to the MLB All-Star Game. The next two All-Star games will be played in Washington D.C. and Cleveland, respectively, and the Dodgers were awarded the next vacant game in 2020.
The news was broken by a Bill Plunkett tweet on Tuesday, and the formal announcement came Wednesday afternoon as commissioner Rob Manfred held a press conference at Dodger Stadium. A stage was set up in center field, and Manfred was joined by former Dodger All-Stars, including Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, Ron Cey, Tommy Lasorda, and Don Newcombe.
2020 will be only the second All-Star game held at Dodger Stadium. It will be the third time the Dodgers have hosted the event, but the first time came at the Los Angeles Coliseum. In 1980, the National League defeated the American League 4-2. Ken Griffey Sr. was the MVP of the game. The Dodgers had six representatives in the game including four starters: Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Reggie Smith. Pitchers Jerry Reuss and Bob Welch were also named to the team.
It’s tough to tell how many Dodgers will represent the home squad in 2020. Looking back at Dustin’s 2020 lineup and pitching staff predictions, it’s easy to think they can match or surpass the six from 1980. Barring catastrophe, Clayton Kershaw and Jansen could represent Dodger pitching. Cody Bellinger will be 24 and Corey Seager will be 26, so they’ll probably be in the conversation. When Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Chris Sale all become Dodgers via free agency in the next two offseasons, that could push them up to seven.
One of the potential reasons for the 40-year All-Star game drought could be due to the location of Dodger Stadium. Here’s an excerpt from Plunkett’s OC Register story yesterday:
Since 1980, though, the All-Star Game has grown into what Manfred called “a four-day celebration of baseball” including the All-Star Futures Game, a celebrity softball game, the Home Run Derby and numerous satellite events. That will require more than Dodger Stadium to host and Kasten praised the cooperation and support of Los Angeles city officials. The massive FanFest event, for example, will be held at the L.A. Convention Center, a major logistical hurdle that had to be cleared.
With the isolated nature of Dodger Stadium, it’s a little tough to host major events there. They handled it well during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, with food trucks and music taking over one of the center field parking lots. However, All-Star game festivities are a bit bigger, and Plunkett reported that All-Star FanFest will take place at the Convention Center. No pricing has been confirmed, but according to this San Diego Union Tribune article from when San Diego hosted the All-Star Game in 2016, tickets for FanFest were $35 for adults. I’m scared to think how much tickets to the game or Home Run Derby will be, but at least we all have a little over two years to save up.
During the announcement, Dodger President Stan Kasten also announced that there will be renovations to the stadium in the coming years.
"We’re Los Angeles. We know how to throw a party. We know how to host big events."
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) April 11, 2018
Renovation number one should be to get better All-Star hats. Seriously. Those are not good.
One of the recent renovations has worked well in a small sample size. The Dodgers announced new in-stadium WiFi right before the season. I’ve only been to one game so far this season (Opening Day), and the WiFi did stay strong despite a sellout crowd of 53,595.
It’s been a rough start to the season for the Dodgers on the field, so it’s nice to get some good news with this All-Star announcement. Traffic will be trash, so maybe out-of-towners will finally understand why some Dodger fans aren’t in their seats until the third inning at least. The Dodgers will play host to an All-Star Game, and hopefully there’s a new banner or two to show off.