It’s Tuesday, Athletics Nation!
Next week brings the 2022 MLB All-Star Game. It’s being held in Dodger Stadium for the second time ever, and played in LA as a make-up in scheduling after the 2020 game originally scheduled in Chavez Ravine was cancelled due to the pandemic. The last time the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the All-Star game was in 1980, and 40 years later they got the nod again a) because it had been four decades since one of the highest profile teams in a major population centre hosted, and b) with recent upgrades and renovations to the park, the Dodgers have no plan to move out of Dodger Stadium any time soon.
That last point gets to one of the most critical factors that MLB uses to decide what team hosts the game: the stadium. MLB loves to use the All-Star Game as a way to showcase the league’s newest and shiniest stadiums. In the last 20 years of ASGs, only three games have not been the first hosted by that stadium: last year’s sudden replacement game at Coors Field; 2012 at Kauffman which followed a major park refurbishment in 2009; and 2008 at old Yankee Stadium which was used as a sendoff to the old park before new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009.
Currently the only announced future ASGs are next year’s at T-Mobile Park in Seattle (following 2013 and 2017 renos), and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia in 2026 (first ASG since the park opened in 2004, also coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence). Four other parks have yet to host the All-Star Game: Tropicana Field, new Yankee Stadium, Truist Park (which just opened in 2017), and Globe Life Field (opened in 2020), and among them all but the Trop seem likely to host during the next decade. Tampa Bay will likely get the chance to host once a new stadium gets figured out for the Rays, rather than showcasing an aging dome that first hosted an NHL team.
So where do the A’s fit into this? Well, similar to the Dodgers it’s been awhile since Oakland hosted the game, 35 years in fact. But much like the Rays situation, MLB probably doesn’t want to showcase the 56-year-old concrete dive bar that the A’s call home.
The continued development of the Howard Terminal ballpark changed that story though. Assuming all goes well through the summer and the current expected timeline holds true, ground could break on the Howard Terminal park early next year. Following the usual two-year construction period for an MLB-quality stadium, the A’s would look to move into their new home in 2025 — which lines up with an expired Coliseum lease after 2024.
But don’t expect green and gold All-Star jerseys just three years from now. Even with a brand new park, the A’s have four or five candidates in line ahead of them depending on how Tampa Bay shakes out. Considering the fact that Truist Park was already set to host the ASG once before, and a Midsummer Classic at Yankee Stadium will always be a slam dunk for MLB, the All-Star schedule for the next while could look like:
- 2022: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
- 2023: T-Mobile Park, Seattle
- 2024: Truist Park, Atlanta?
- 2025: Yankee Stadium, New York City?
- 2026: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
- 2027: Globe Life Field, Arlington?
These are the gimme locales, either already confirmed, or ready for their ASG debut. Conveniently this even fits into MLB’s preference of alternating NL and AL parks. What follows enters into the conjecture-zone, as we get to some assumptions and if-everything-goes-right scenarios.
So we assume that the A’s finally get their new park in 2025. An operational park doesn’t mean that the area around it is fully developed. With the current Howard Terminal plan being tied to housing, hotels, and commercial space being built around the park, the chances of showcasing the new Oakland Ballpark go up once those high rises in all the mockups get built. Now some of that will come along with the park, some of it will follow close after, but let’s give 3 years for the area to be more or less solidified. That puts us in 2028.
The 2028 idea gives us another assumption, because the Rays’ lease at Tropicana Field runs out after 2027. That means six years from now the Rays are hopefully opening their new stadium and joining the A’s in potential All-Star hosting contention. The A’s and Rays securing stadiums brings about one big event for Manfred and MLB: Expansion. The Commissioner has stated multiple times that expanding the league will be on the table once the two lingering ballpark situations are sorted, and in our theoretical 2028 they are.
Assuming that any remaining necessities for expansion get hammered out with the new Commissioner in 2024, once ground is broken for the new Oakland and St. Pete parks the league starts the expansion bid process in 2026. Along with the 2027 collective bargaining agreement getting sorted, setting a 2027 expansion draft means that a pair of new clubs join the league in 2028 and enter the fray for the ASG. So we have 4 candidates post-2027: the Oakland A’s, the Tampa Bay Rays, and our expansion teams who for the sake of convenience we will call the Montreal Expos and Vancouver Mountaineers.
In addition we can expect a few existing parks to go through some extensive refurbishment or replacement. Let’s say Wrigley Field (last hosted 1990) and American Family Field in Milwaukee (last hosted 2002 under the name Miller Park) both get revamped enough to qualify for hosting duties. With that lineup of teams and fields we can build the ASG timeline out past 2028:
- 2028: Wrigley Field — Fresh off fully integrating the Wrigleyville rooftops into the stadium, the team hosts a special Home Run Derby from one of the roofs.
- 2029: Publix Park — Eager to get the Rays their first All-Star Game, MLB fast-tracks their bid for the new retracting-roof stadium built in the parking lot of the Rays former home.
- 2030: Parc BMO — After playing their first season in the dilapidated Stade Olympique, the Expos get to showcase their new ballpark on Île Sainte-Hélène in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.
- 2031: Kaiser Permanente Park — Six years after the A’s walk into their new waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal, they get to host their second ASG, 44 years after the Coliseum’s showcase. It’s really a no-brainer at this point for the Athletics to host. Since moving into Kaiser Park, John Fisher finally opened up his pocketbook and the A’s are in the Top 10 in spending. The talent re-signed long term from the 2027 World Series winning Athletics have only gotten better, and the new crop of free agents that joined the team in 2029 helped the A’s go back-to-back in ‘29 and ‘30. The 2031 All-Star Game isn’t just a celebration of the new A’s dynasty, it’s also a catharsis for A’s fans who went through the decades of often-frustrating penny pinching ownership.
- 2032: American Family Field — They gave Bernie Brewer a second home run slide, and told Commissioner Cohen that he could slide down it as many times as he wants during the game. This locked in the Brewers for 2032.
- 2033: BC Place — While plans for the Mountaineers new park have hit a series of speed bumps, less than 10 years after the A’s move out of a multi-purpose stadium, the Vancouver team hosts the ASG in the field they share with the CFL’s BC Lions.
While this is all incredibly speculative, the timeline seems pretty reasonable. It’s easy to see the A’s hosting the All-Star Game within the next decade, especially with the current ballpark momentum.
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Keep your eyes out for Schuemann making his way up the minors
Max Schuemann has a .317/.425/.451 career line in 122 games for Double-A Midland. He's now headed to Triple-A Las Vegas and could be in-line for a look in Oakland in the near future.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) July 11, 2022
Matt Olson takes over the Ironman streak, playing every game since last May with the A’s
With Whit Merrifield's games played streak coming to an end today, the longest "Ripken" streak belongs to Matt Olson. 221 straight games.— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 11, 2022
Only four players have played in every single one of their team's games this season: Olson, Dansby Swanson, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman.
Montas update: looking good
Frankie Montas played long toss today, could throw a bullpen Wednesday if he responds well, A’s still hopeful he can make a start in Houston before the All-Star Break, Mark Kotsay said.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) July 11, 2022
Bride update: could be back in game action as soon as tomorrow
Jonah Bride hit off a machine and threw from 105 feet today. If he responds well, he could begin a rehab assignment with Las Vegas on Wednesday.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 11, 2022
Post-game Piscotty update
Stephen Piscotty said pitch got him in the left wrist area but X-ray showed no fracture. Mark Kotsay termed it a forearm contusion and said Piscotty will be day to day.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) July 12, 2022