Orioles VP/Communications & Marketing Greg Bader said that the team has "expressed continual interest in having" the MLB All-Star Game at Camden Yards in '16, according to Childs Walker of the Baltimore SUN. That would be 23 years "after the ballpark last hosted an All-Star Game," and the Orioles "believe they have a strong shot for several reasons." The site "generally alternates between National League and American League cities, and with Cincinnati hosting in 2015, the AL would likely be up the following year." Also, the Twins host the game next year, leaving the Blue Jays, A's and Rays as the "only other AL teams that haven't hosted the game" since '93. Neither the A's nor Rays "play in stadiums that baseball officials likely want to showcase." The game would "add a festive note" to the Orioles' 25th year at Camden Yards and also would "give the Orioles a hook in selling season-ticket packages for 2015 and 2016, with the club tying access to the All-Star Game to longer season plans." Maryland Office of Sports Marketing Exec Dir Terry Hasseltine was "not aware of any large events already planned for July 2016 and said city leaders are prepared to work" with MLB "should it award the game to Baltimore" (Baltimore SUN, 7/16). Meanwhile, in DC, Adam Kilgore reports the Nationals have "petitioned the commissioner’s office" to host the All-Star Game and the city has "planned for the showcase eventually to come." Twenty-six cities have hosted the game since DC last did, and the Nationals and the city "would like that to change, and they expect it will." They have been "waiting since Nationals Park opened in 2008 to bring the Midsummer Classic to the nation’s capital." Team ownership has "made clear its desire to host an all-star game in Washington" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/16).
DERBY DAZE? NEWSDAY's Neil Best reports part of the MLB Home Run Derby’s sustainability is it “tends to appeal to young fans.” ESPN's Chris Berman said, “Baseball has to remember it still needs new fans. The Home Run Derby, I feel, is a one-shot deal to get some new fans to say, 'Hey, that was pretty cool.'” Best writes MLB deserves "credit for trying, including many format and competitive changes." However, the "one thing that cannot be denied is that the Derby would benefit from taking less time.” Berman: “It needs tweaking. Three hours is too long” (NEWSDAY, 7/16). In N.Y., Ken Davidoff writes the Derby “remains eye-gougingly long since it draws strong television ratings, presumably because there are no other sporting events competing with it.” Davidoff: “This isn’t just a matter of shortening the Derby to fix it, though. It’s an awful idea, representing the very worst elements of the sport and our species -- short attention spans and obnoxious, meaningless displays of power.” Davidoff adds, “What a shame the Derby tarnishes, by association, the two tremendous events that surround it. Everyone loves the Futures Game, featuring the top minor league talent, and tonight’s All-Star Game boasts of much history and occasional intensity with the World Series homefield advantage at stake” (N.Y. POST, 7/16).
TIME FOR SOME FRESH IDEAS: GRANTLAND’s Michael Baumann wrote under the header, “The Six Skill Competitions That Could Fix MLB All-Star Week.” Baumann noted the NBA holds the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend, while the NHL has the Fastest Slapshot competition. Baumann: “What does MLB have? The celebrity softball game, which … ain’t exactly the dunk contest; and the Home Run Derby.” Baumann suggests adding a Race Around the Bases, a Long Toss, an Egg Toss, a Fastest Pitch competition, Pitch Accuracy contest and a Batter’s Obstacle Course (GRANTLAND.com, 7/15).