Hey, MLB, what took you so long to return to Dodger Stadium? – Daily News

LOS ANGELES – It has been 42 years since the city of Los Angeles hosted baseball’s All-Star Game. That’s unconscious.

The Midsummer Classic will finally grace Dodger Stadium on July 19, and the folks behind its return tried to put the best face on things at a news conference on Tuesday, hours before the Dodgers played the San Francisco Giants. Among other things, they noted that the 42-year gap could be considered an inadvertent salute to Jackie Robinson.

Never mind that it was 42 years only because COVID-19 wiped out the scheduled 2020 game. Even 40 years was way too long.

Consider: Between the 1980 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium – long enough ago that Ken Griffey Sr. was the game’s MVP – and this one, 28 franchises have hosted at least one All-Star Game. Nine, including the Angels, have hosted two. Cleveland has hosted three.

Was it something we said or did?

In all likelihood, it probably had as much to do with (a) ownership changes and (b) the condition of Dodger Stadium, which has aged more gracefully over the last decade than it had before largely because of Guggenheim Baseball’s investment in place since taking over the club from Frank McCourt 10 years ago this week.

Dodgers president Stan Kasten noted Tuesday that when the current ownership group took over, one of the first and most persistent questions he was asked was, “Are we going to get an All-Star Game? Can we get an All-Star Game? ”

“It had already been an unthinkable 32 years,” he said. “And let’s face it, every team and every team’s fanbase deserves an All-Star Game and would do a magnificent job. But no city and no city’s fans have supported their team like Dodgers fans have. It’s been nine straight years of leading baseball in attendance. They are hungry for this game and they are very excited that we are finally going to have it.

“As you know, here in LA, we are the city of big events and big parties, and that’s what we’re going to have in July, five days of a big, big event and a big, big party.”

All-Star Week is expanding, maybe to match the sprawling nature of the host city. The plans unveiled Tuesday include a free All-Star Oceanfront at the Santa Monica Pier and beach that Friday through Sunday, featuring youth baseball and softball activities on the beach, yoga classes and interactive baseball activities and (of course) merchandise sales on the pier.

LA Live and the LA Convention Center will host “Play Ball Park,” a ticketed event that seems to be the closest approximation to the sport’s FanFest. That will run Saturday through Tuesday, game day. Additionally, there will be an All-Star Block Party in the neighborhood.

The Futures Game and All-Star celebrity softball game, which up to now have been held on the Sunday before the All-Star Game, will shift to Saturday. Shortstop Trea Turner talked of watching the celebrity softball game “to see who’s got a good swing or who can embarrass themselves a little bit,” but he’ll have to record it. While the All-Star activities will occupy Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers will be completing a two-game series against the Angels in Anaheim.

Sunday, formerly the Futures Game day, will instead feature the early rounds of the MLB Amateur Draft to be held at LA Live. Monday is the Home Run Derby, and Tuesday is the 92nd version of the game itself.

Aside from the very last part, none of that was on the agenda 42 years ago. There was a Monday workout for the All-Stars, but it was a few years before the workout itself became public, which led to the Home Run Derby on Monday, which led to the Futures Game Sunday, which… oh, you know.

Want another indication of how long ago it was? The current mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, was 8 years old. He was at the game but said he’d have to look up the details, yet he remembered one significant All-Star.

“Steve Garvey was my hero,” he said. “The guy that when I had to role-play I always pretended I was, was Steve Garvey.”

Now, of course, Garcetti is the city’s first fan but also looks at these events from a different perspective. LA just got done hosting a Super Bowl – and the Rams brought the spoils from that Tuesday night, lugging the Lombardi Trophy to the ballpark in an inspired bit of trolling San Francisco.

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