Great American Ballpark was constructed in the early 2000s to replace Cinergy Field. It was first used during the 2003 Major League Baseball season as the new home of the Cincinnati Reds.
The new park has yet to host an All Star game in its ten seasons of existence, and the city has not held the Mid-Summer Classic since 1988 at Riverfront Stadium. So the park and the city are long overdue.
It’s time to bring the All Star Game to the Cincinnati.
With the stadium along the Ohio River, there would be a lot of excitement around players hitting bombs into the water. The river would surely be packed bumper-to-bumper with boats trying to catch a Major League souvenir.
The wall down the left field and right field lines is 328 feet and 325 feet, respectively, which is why Great American Ballpark is such a great hitter’s venue. The more home runs hit means the more that fans and participants get into the action.
There would be no difficulty for players to hit double-digit home runs in a round at the Home Run Derby, and the All-Star Game would likely be high-scoring.
With the unique features of the Toyota Tundra Home Run Deck (which features a red Tundra on a platform and a “Hit Me” sign that allows a random Reds fan to win a Toyota if it is hit), the replica steamboat stacks (which launch fireworks for Cincinnati home runs and wins and are tied to Cincinnati’s history of having lots of steamboats on the Ohio River), and the Riverboat Deck (which are perfect seats for fans to watch the entire event and maybe catch a home run ball hit to dead center), the Reds have a great stadium to show off to America.
If Cincinnati’s relatively new stadium isn’t enough, how about this: the Reds have been relevant again over the past few seasons and are one of the best teams in the league this season.
They were 91-71 and made it to the playoffs two seasons ago. Joey Votto won the 2010 National League MVP. And the Reds are currently 78-52 in the N.L. Central with a six game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cincinnati baseball fans are at their peak interest in Major League Baseball again, and there would be record-breaking crowds at Great American Ballpark for the All-Star Break, especially since there would presumably be a handful of hometown All-Stars representing the city between Votto, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Phillips, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Ryan Madson, Sean Marshall, Jay Bruce, and Todd Frazier.
With the Cincinnati Reds’ roots, which trace back all the way back to the first professional baseball team, the Queen City has a culture rich in baseball tradition. An All-Star Game in Cincinnati in 2015 would be very well received.
Seven MLB stadiums are newer than Cincinnati’s, and two of them have already held the All-Star Game. Cincinnati should get the nod over the other newer stadiums because of how long Cincinnati has gone without hosting the game.
The other two teams bidding to host the 2015 Mid-Summer Classic are the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals.
This season is the first in Miami’s new Marlins Park, which features a retractable roof and an aquarium behind the backstop. Even though the Marlins have won two World Series (1997 and 2003) since their creation in 1993, they have historically horrible attendance to their games. I
t is not surprising to see entire sections of the stadium empty on a beautiful summer day, with foul balls not caught but rather picked up off the ground by whoever can run to the section where it landed first. So yes, Miami’s stadium may be nice, but their fan base has not shown that it is committed to supporting the Marlins.
Plus, Marlins Stadium will only be in its fourth year in 2015, which means that the Marlins can wait their turn to host the All-Star Game in a future year, just as the Reds will have waited for over a decade by the time they are awarded it.
Nationals Park was opened in 2008, which means that it too can wait its turn to host the Mid-Summer Classic.
The field dimensions are slightly larger than Cincinnati’s, and every foot matters in a home run derby. It makes the difference between landing in the bleachers or bouncing off the outfield wall.
The Nats do have some rising stars with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, which would draw lots of fans to Washington, but that does not make them more deserving than Cincinnati.
Both the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals would host successful, entertaining All-Star Breaks. But when it comes down to making the final decision, the Cincinnati Reds clearly stand hand and shoulders above as the best choice for 2015.
To recap, Cincinnati has:
- A new stadium located along a scenic river that has yet to be featured on the national scale of an All-Star Game in its ten years.
- A long, proud baseball tradition, which can’t be said for Miami or Washington.
- A very good team that is committed to winning.
The Cincinnati Reds have a great case – the best case – to win the 2015 All-Star Game, and I fully expect them to convince Major League Baseball to allow them to host the Mid-Summer Classic in three years.
Who do you think should host the 2015 MLB All Star Game?