Major League Baseball announced on Friday that the Atlanta Braves would no longer host the 2021 All-Star Game. This news comes on the heels of new voting regulations that were recently put into law by the state of Georgia.
In a statement from Major League Baseball, commissioner Rob Manfred states that “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
There is certainly room for debate regarding whether the MLB should have pulled out of Atlanta, but what’s done is done. And while there will be arguments made about why San Diego or some other city should host the All-Star Game, we all know the obvious choice is to bring the game to the City of Brotherly Love.
Why Philadelphia Should Host the All-Star Game
First and foremost, the most obvious reason for Philadelphia to host the All-Star Game is the fans. If you look across the league last year, there was only one city that had crowds of fans standing outside, come rain or shine, throughout the season. The Phandemic Krew has become a city staple and is the type of the iceberg when it comes to the most passionate fanbase across the entirety of Major League Baseball.
There’s a reason players like Cliff Lee have taken less money to come to Philly. There’s a reason J.T. Realmuto wanted to come back to Philadelphia. It’s because of the fans. Because it doesn’t matter if there are zero fans allowed, 8,800 fans, or 43,000, these fans make their presence known and bring the energy with them.
Keeps the Game in Division
The National League East is the best overall division in the league this year. Every team (yes, even the Marlins) has a chance to win the division. With Atlanta hosting the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball had a chance to feature this race in great detail. Keeping the game within the NL East would ensure that the focus stays on the NL East as it should.
“What about the other NL East cities?”
Okay, I hear your point. So, let’s look at the other teams real quick:
- Miami Marlins: The city has no actual fanbase and has an indoor stadium. Normally, an indoor stadium is nice, but given that COVID-19 restrictions will still exist in July, an indoor stadium just is not good optics.
- New York Mets: New York has hosted the All-Star Game nine times, they don’t need it again.
- Washington Nationals: First, they literally just hosted the All-Star Game in 2018. Second, remember when the stadium had so few Nationals fans that they had to try and keep Phillies fans out? Exactly.
Philadelphia is beautiful, and would serve as a great host.
Preparation for the 2026 All-Star Game
The Phillies are set to host the All-Star Game in 2026 to mark the 250th birthday of the United States of America. With only three months to plan, festivities are sure to be more low-key than expected as the MLB adjusts course. Not to mention the pandemic will still be a factor. But having Philadelphia host the All-Star Game now could act as a practice run for the main event in 2026. The 2026 All-Star Weekend will be a momentous occasion for the whole country, so knowing what works and what didn’t from this year could only help.
Imagine the Possibilities
Just picture it: two home run derbies going on at once. First, Bryce Harper takes the field to win his second Home Run Derby in front of hometown fans. Meanwhile, front-line workers from across the City of Philadelphia are selected to compete in a home run derby at The Yard. The winner of this contest gets to throw out the first pitch at the All-Star Game as well as winning a car or $50,000 as a thank you for their service.
Then, imagine the Best Catcher in Baseball walking out to catch for Aaron Nola as the duo open up the All-Star Game for the National League. Thousands of Phillies fans cheer on from their seats as the All-Star Game solidifies that the worst of the pandemic is over.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire