This week, Major League Baseball is holding the 80th All Star Game in St. Louis. With the recent success of the Tampa Bay Rays, the question could be asked – when will the Rays host the All Star Game?
There are 25 metropolitan areas with one or more of the 30 major league baseball teams. Of that number, only two have never hosted an All Star Game: Miami and Tampa Bay. (Phoenix will host the All Star game in 2011.) So, why won’t the summer classic come to the sunshine state?
The answer: crappy stadiums.
Since the Rays joined MLB in 1998, the average age of the eleven All Star venues at the time the game was played, is 12 years 2 months. If you remove Fenway Park, host of the 1999 game, off the list, the average age drops to four years and eight month old. Major League Baseball loves new stadiums for All Star Games.
Both the Marlins and the Rays have been campaigning hard in their communities for a new stadium. The Florida Suncoast Dome/Thunderdome/Tropicana Field is already 19 years old the tenth oldest in all of baseball. Dolphin/Joe Robbie/ProPlayer/LandShark Stadium is 22 years old, the eighth oldest. The Marlins play in a true football stadium, sharing their field with the Miami Dolphins and University of Miami. Meanwhile, Tropicana Field was built for a different baseball economy.
So, as we watch the fun and festivities it yet another area, we will continue to be among the “have nots” for the All Star Game.
Maybe by 2020, the Rays will have their new stadium and Tampa Bay will have an All Star Game.