LOS ANGELES – The wait is over.
Baseball’s All-Star Game is returning to Dodger Stadium in 2020 for the first time since 1980, thanks in large part to the upgrades made by the team’s ownership in recent years.
Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement from a platform in center field Wednesday with Dodgers alumni Don Newcombe, Tom Lasorda, Manny Mota, Ron Cey, Bill Russell and Reggie Smith looking on. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, injured third baseman Justin Turner and closer Kenley Jansen joined them under a hot sun.
Manfred cited three factors in awarding the 2020 edition to Los Angeles: the city offers a “great place” to showcase the game’s younger talent, Dodger Stadium is iconic as baseball’s third-oldest park, and “it’s time for us to be back here.”
The Dodgers played a video showing scenes of the ballpark and city narrated by retired Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully, who concluded with the line, “This is our home and we can’t wait.”
Stan Kasten, team president and CEO, donned a blue cap with the insignia “LA ASG 2020.” He touted the franchise’s ability to top 3 million in attendance in recent years as another reason why the Dodgers deserved to host for the fourth time.
The franchise previously hosted in 1949 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn; 1959, in the second All-Star Game that year at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; and 1980.
“This is the most beautiful venue ever built to play and watch baseball,” Kasten said.
The Dodgers have watched while the All-Star Game went elsewhere in Southern California over the years.
Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego played host in 1992 and its replacement, Petco Park, was the site in 2016. Anaheim hosted in 1989 and 2010.
Kasten said one of the reasons it’s taken Los Angeles so long to win another All-Star bid was because of scheduling conflicts for other venues that will be used for the fan fest and related activities during the four-day event.
The Dodgers will send representatives to Washington, D.C., for this summer’s game, where Roberts will manage the National League team, and Cleveland next year to observe.
Kasten said playing host is a “good excuse” to launch the next stage of renovations at Dodger Stadium.
Since 2013, the 56-year-old stadium has undergone a series of structural and behind-the-scenes upgrades, including the creation of two new entrance plazas, tiered seating and bar areas overlooking both bullpens, new high-definition video screens and sound system and wider concourses. Restrooms have been renovated and displays of the team’s rich history have been enhanced.
Away from the public’s view, the home and visitor clubhouses have been improved and new batting cages were installed adjacent to both clubhouses.
“In my lifetime, I’ve never gotten to witness an All-Star Game in Los Angeles,” said Turner, who is from Long Beach. “This is quite an honor.”
Jansen, who is from Curacao, was equally enthusiastic.
“This is awesome,” he said. “I can’t wait for 2020 to see this.”
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