Denver, Colorado has been awarded the hosting duties for 2021 MLB All-Star festivities. Many other cities had a strong candidacy for hosting, so what put Denver over the top?
Given current protocols, the Rockies are able to welcome the third-highest capacity percentage in baseball (42.6), reasoning Coors Field more desirable than others this year for fan attendance. The Rockies have plenty to show off this July with the completion of McGregor Square and the trendsetting party deck in right field; subsequent growth in and around Union Station will also be on full display right next to the ballpark.
The All-Star Game will do more than just promote some new development, however, as a global stage will help a resurgence of existing businesses in Lower Downtown. Colorado already boasts one of the premier ballpark ‘districts’ around an MLB stadium, and some high traffic is soon to visit Denver in an otherwise quiet weekday stretch in July. The long-term impact could do wonders to revitalize a post-pandemic landscape in Colorado’s capital city.
Before we celebrate, let’s look at how privileged we are to receive the honor. Hosting could be fitting in some other cities, too:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin - American Family Field
In the wake of the passing of Hank Aaron, perhaps the most fitting alternative to Atlanta would have been Milwaukee, the only other city he called home in his big league career. The Brewers currently welcome 25 percent capacity into American Family Field (formerly Miller Park), and last hosted the Midsummer Classic in 2002.
Chicago, Illinois - Wrigley Field
The north side of Chicago hasn’t hosted the All-Star Game since 1990, and such a timeless venue is an easy candidate after going such a long time without. A five-year renovation project was finished just before the 2020 season, and aside from a few fans this year, Wrigley hasn’t been able to show off just yet.
Arlington, Texas - Globe Life Field
The Rangers are currently the only MLB team with capacity limits over 51 percent. They opened up their sparkling new stadium, Globe Life Field, to 100 percent capacity for their home opener on Monday. The venue is the newest in the majors; it also hosted the neutral-site NLCS and World Series last year.
Los Angeles, California - Dodger Stadium
The reigning champs were only able to play two postseason games in their home ballpark last year, so an All-Star Game could serve as some form of compensation—although the Dodgers are set to host the All-Star Game in 2022 after originally planning to host last year. Perhaps Los Angeles would be the most prepared to host this year after their planning efforts in 2020.
MLB has always held the All-Star Game inside an MLB ballpark. They could have used 2021 as a year to tip the scale, and award the honors to an ‘outside’ venue. Due to partial seating capacities (and subsequently, limited revenue), 2021 could be the most practical year to justify an outside host.
Here are some ‘wild card’ candidates:
San Juan, Puerto Rico - Hiram Bithorn Stadium
Keep in mind how awesome the atmosphere was when Puerto Rico played in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Hosting the All-Star Game in their homeland would not only expand the global recognition of the game, but it would also help Puerto Ricans after a pandemic and the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Omaha, Nebraska - TD Ameritrade Park
The host city of the College World Series went without their routine influx of tourism last year when the yearly event was cancelled. TD Ameritrade Park seats 24,000 fans, and an Omaha-based All-Star Game would help make up for plenty of lost revenue. Omaha is extremely close to the geographic center of the contiguous 48. (Denver is pretty close, too.)
Dyersville, Iowa - Field of Dreams
“If you build it...”
The White Sox and Yankees are scheduled to play on August 12 right next to the original Field of Dreams movie site. This venue wouldn’t be ideal for fan seating, but maybe Dyersville could come alive like it did in the movie if it were awarded hosting duties.
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Enjoy your dose of Coors Field today in these national headlines:
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Raimel Tapia was diagnosed with whiplash after crashing into the left field fence on Saturday. Josh Fuentes was scratched on Sunday due to a sore left wrist. Jon Gray was pulled on Saturday due to “full body cramping.” Monday’s off day gave Colorado a chance to hit the reset button, and they will look to reset the momentum from a 1-3 start as the Diamondbacks (1-3) make their first trip to Denver.
Colorado’s starting pitchers threw a combined 15 1⁄3 innings in the first four games of the regular season. It may be common for workloads to be ‘limited’ this early in the season (especially on the heels of a 60-game 2020), but when no starters worked past the five inning mark, the bullpen had to carry a lot of weight each day.
Under those provisions: maybe a 5.66 reliever ERA to start the year isn’t too bad. (Keep in mind the Dodgers ranked 2nd in team wOBA last year, and all Rockies games to this point have been at Coors.)
Colorado will have another day off next Monday.
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