The Washington Nationals and Nationals Park will host the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, as announced today by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
The announcement was made at a press conference prior to today’s Nats/Mets game. Tt will mark four straight years that the National League has hosted the game: Minnesota hosted in 2014, Cincinnati will host this season, the San Diego Padres are hosting in 2016, and the Miami Marlins are hosting in 2017. However, the American League will have “home-field advantage” in 2016 and 2018, batting last and playing as the home team.
The move leaves three existing ballparks not hosting an All-Star Game: the new Yankee Stadium, Tropicana Field and Citizens Bank Park. The old Yankee Stadium hosted the ASG in the ballpark’s last year of use, so no surprise the game has not returned. The Rays have not pushed in recent years to host the All-Star Game at the Trop — and likely won’t now at all, given the relationship between the team and the St. Pete City Council. That the Philadelphia Phillies have not hosted the All-Star Game is amazing: it’s clearly one of the best ballparks in baseball, and Phillies fans are deserving. With SunTrust Park opening in 2017, there’s one more venue worth of All-Star consideration.
“I am pleased that the Nationals will have the opportunity to host the Midsummer Classic for the first time since Major League Baseball returned to our nation’s capital in 2005,” Manfred said. “The best sporting event of the summer, which will be held one decade after the opening of Nationals Park, will add a new chapter to the long and distinguished baseball tradition in Washington, DC.”
“On behalf of the entire Washington Nationals organization, we are incredibly honored to have been selected to host the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game,” said Washington Nationals Managing Principal Owner Ted Lerner. “As the stewards of the national pastime in the nation’s capital, hosting this event has been a goal of ours from the beginning. I want to thank Commissioners Selig and Manfred and the many people who put in countless hours to make this happen. We’re confident that under Mayor Bowser’s leadership, the city will be a superb host for All-Star Week and we look forward to welcoming baseball fans from around the world to beautiful Nationals Park.”
It’s no secret that the Nationals owners have been seeking the ASG for the past several years, and there’s been lots of talk that conflicts between the Nats and Orioles have delayed such an award. We’re not going to address that talk — some very wired folks have indeed confirmed off the record that this is the case, despite public denials — but there’s no doubt that an All-Star Game in the U.S. capital is a good thing for the sport. Washington, D.C. has hosted All-Star Games at Griffith Stadium in 1937 and 1956, and in 1962 and 1969 at RFK Stadium (originally D.C. Stadium). The photo above shows President John F. Kennedy throwing out the first pitch to the Minnesota Twins’ Earl Battey. How do we know this? Twins president Dave St. Peter tweeted this in response to our original posted on this photo on our Old Ballparks Twitter page:
— Dave St. Peter (@TwinsPrez) January 3, 2015