This past summer, Washington and the Nationals were tossed around as strong candidates to host the 2015 All-Star Game.
Ain’t happening. Commissioner Selig announced yesterday the summer classic goes to Cincinnati (thus the Marty Brennaman reference).
So it’s back to the drawing board for Washington. The Nationals have certainly done everything they can do to earn the selection. The apparent roadblock is the “slow development around the ballpark,” as Mark Zuckerman reported yesterday.
Yahoo Sports wrote,
“The Nats lost out, the speculation goes, because the area around Nationals Park is underdeveloped.”
Given that the area around Citi Field (the Mets host this year) isn’t exactly a smorgasbord of dining and drinking options, this “not-yet-fully-developed” argument may or may not to be true. But there’s no question the Nationals are keeping a close eye on Jacqueline Dupree’s development map, which has tracked real estate around the ballpark even before the Nationals arrived.
Dupree has rolled her eyes more than once when someone who knows better has understated the amount of re-development surrounding Nationals Park.
A lot of new real estate has arrived and more is coming on board this year, but it is that high visibility area between the Metro station and the ballpark that stands out like an eyesore. Yesterday Dupree said, “the big hole in the ground and the big lot covered with shipping containers probably speak for themselves.”
Baseball fans in the nation’s capital craving for the mid-summer classic should be mindful that the Nationals and the Marlins are not the only teams whispering passionate pleas into Selig’s ear. Wrigley Field will turn 100 in 2016 and reportedly be renovated. The Phillies and Padres both have nice modern parks and have not had the game in years. There’s always some new anniversary waiting to be pop up, and Selig has been known to invoke the “let’s help out the sagging franchise” clause.
Washington has not seen the game since 1969. But to that argument, Selig might counter that 1972 to 2004, the period of time when DC did not have a big league team, doesn’t count as a waiting period.
There’s also the worry about that tall white dome which stands one mile north of Nationals Park, the place where Congress dragged baseball to the table during the steroids hearings. Selig, who does have a tough job as Selector-in-Chief, could be holding a grudge, or he wants time to pass before baseball and Washington are juxtaposed.
There was a time when Washington had a bit of a monopoly on the ASG, hosting it 1962 and 1969. The latter celebrated big league baseball’s 100th anniversary. 2019 could be what Selig has in mind for the nation’s capital, and by that time, the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood will be more than ready to host the three day festival.
Meanwhile, we’ll see how many Nationals can make this year’s All-Star Game, while we wait for our turn.