Dodger Stadium is poised to host the 2022 MLB All-Star Game

Chub Feeney faced the team for his annual Rah-Rah speech at their home clubhouse at Dodger Stadium. It was July 1980. The National League All-Stars were about to defend their eight-game winning streak against their American League counterparts, and Feeney was desperate to continue the trivial dominance.

Feeney was the President of the National League. Winning that game mattered to him, and it mattered to the players in the room back when Summer Showcase was more than just a light-hearted scramble with a mic.

“The pride took over,” said Steve Garvey.

Garvey was the National League’s first baseman and one of six Dodgers selected for the team that year. In his first All-Star appearance in 1974, he was voted Most Valuable Player. He appeared in 10 games in his career and went undefeated. But nothing compared to a suit in Los Angeles in 1980.

“Winning the game in front of our crowd was very special,” he said.

The 1980 All-Star Game was the first at Dodger Stadium and the second the Dodgers had hosted since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. Ken Griffey Sr. was voted MVP. The first home run derby was five years away. Interleague baseball was a purist’s distant nightmare.

The ballpark was apparently an ideal host. Perfect weather every day. celebrities everywhere. Consistent fan support in a huge market. But years, decades, generations passed and the game never returned.

Dodgers pitcher Jerry Reuss gestures while standing next to New York Yankees pitcher Rich "goose" gutters.

Dodgers pitcher Jerry Reuss gestures while standing next to New York Yankees pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage during warm up for the 1980 MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.

(Lennox McLendon/Associated Press)

Finally, after 42 years and recent dismay, that will change in July when Dodger Stadium hosts the All-Star Game and its growing list of events. The Futures game and the Celebrity game will take place on Saturday. The draft takes place on Sunday at LA Live. The home run derby takes center stage on Monday before the game wraps up the midseason festival on Tuesday, July 19.

“It’s going to be very special,” said Dodgers infielder and two-time All-Star Max Muncy. “The All-Star Game is almost like the city of LA in a way. It’s Hollywood, it’s lights. It’s just a big stage. That’s all LA does every night.”

Ending the drought was one of the priorities of Dodger’s ownership when Guggenheim bought the team a decade ago. The effort came to fruition in April 2018 when Major League Baseball awarded the 2020 game to the Dodgers.

MLB prioritizes teams that have never hosted the game and new stadiums, but that formula hasn’t always been consistent; nine teams were awarded the game twice between 1980 and 2018.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred speaks alongside Stan Kasten during a news conference at Dodger Stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred officially announces Dodger Stadium as the host of the 2020 MLB All-Star Game as Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten stands next to him during an April 2018 news conference. The COVID-19 pandemic forced MLB to cancel the 2020 Midsummer Classic.

(Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press)

“It’s kind of unthinkable,” Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. “Because the other sports are trying to come here as much as possible, and baseball hasn’t been here that long. I can’t explain why it took so long.”

In 2019, with the All-Star Game in mind, the Dodgers unveiled plans for a $100 million renovation with a new center field court scheduled to open in 2020. The outbreak of COVID-19 changed everything.

In March 2020, four months before the exhibition was scheduled to take place at Dodger Stadium, MLB suspended operations. Within weeks, Kasten said, it became clear the game would not go ahead.

A giant sign bearing the All Star Game logo was nevertheless delivered to Dodger Stadium this spring. It would have been a waste, but for one thing: the logo didn’t contain a year. So the Dodgers put the sign up in the empty stadium anyway.

“It will just be a reminder that it’s coming,” Kasten said.

Four months later, MLB awarded the Dodgers that year’s game. The near future remained bleak. The pandemic was still raging. Vaccines were not yet available. And a daunting potential obstacle loomed within the sport: the expiry of the collective agreement.

MLB implemented a lockout on December 1st. The season, including the All-Star Game, was in jeopardy. But the owners and the union struck a deal to save it.

“You’re talking about the third oldest stadium in MLB and all the history that happened there,” said Dodgers third baseman and two-time All-Star Justin Turner. “The fact that it’s been over 40 years since they’ve had an All-Star game just seems crazy.”

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey celebrates with Montreal Expos catcher Gary Carter.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Sr. celebrates with Montreal Expos catcher Gary Carter during the 1980 MLB All-Star game at Dodger Stadium. Griffey was named the game’s MVP.

(Associated Press)

This time, Dodger Stadium will host its first home run derby. There will be no rousing speech from the National League president before the game, as that position became obsolete by the turn of the century. The American League must defend its eight-game winning streak.

The game itself will feel different. It won’t show the ferocity of Garvey and the other players from 1980. It will be a television production with commercials all over the place and long commercial breaks. But in Los Angeles, the stars will finally shine again. It only lasted 42 years. Dodger Stadium is poised to host the 2022 MLB All-Star Game

Andrew Schnitker

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