NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05: A general exterior view of the Mets' Home Run Big Apple outside the stadium prior to the New York Mets hosting the Atlanta Braves during their Opening Day Game at Citi Field on April 5, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Forgive me if I hold the applause for the announcement that the Mets will host the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm excited in as much as All-Star baseball is still better than no baseball at all. Still, this news has been forthcoming for so long than any lingering suspense in the hearts of Mets fans must be completely contrived. So you're saying the Mets will host the 84th Midsummer Classic in 14 months' time? How quaint. I still won't believe it until I'm officially shut out from being able to buy tickets because of the presumably large demand.
The New York Post's Kevin Kernan said the Mets would get the All-Star Game three years ago. Jon Heyman declared over 16 months ago that the Mets getting the Midsummer Classic was a done deal. Hell, even Fred Wilpon himself expected last February that the Mets would get the game. The only thing that could make the news shocking is if we learn in the coming days that the Mets hadn't actually started to prepare to host it.
Still, does the first occurrence of All-Star festivities in Flushing since 1964 mean anything? Should we feel slighted that it took so long?
Out of curiousity, I took a gander at how long it took for Major League Baseball to award every All-Star Game since 2005. Why 2005? Because that was the first All-Star Game awarded after the 2002 debacle that coerced MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to change how the league plays the game.
|ASG Date||Award Date||Host Team||Notice|
|2005||August 2003||Detroit Tigers||23 Months|
|2006||July 2004||Pittsburgh Pirates||24 Months|
|2007||February 2005||San Francisco Giants||29 Months|
|2008||January 2007||New York Yankees||17 Months|
|2009||January 2007||St. Louis Cardinals||29 Months|
|2010||May 2008||Los Angeles Angels||26 Months|
|2011||April 2009||Arizona Diamondbacks||27 Months|
|2012||June 2010||Kansas City Royals||25 Months|
|2013||May 2012||New York Mets||14 Months|
And by and large, MLB kept up appearances by issuing the game with over two years' notice to each host team - except the Mets... and the Yankees, who likely had to navigate the same bureaucratic morass that the Mets faced in getting the 2013 edition. One would presume the Yankees had more support given that the 2008 All-Star Game absolutely, positively needed to take place in the final year of Yankee Stadium, but hey - let's give the devil his due.
So no reason to feel slighted? Well, maybe a small one. That's because three teams - the Pirates, Astros and Angels - have held it three times since Shea Stadium served as the midsummer venue in 1964, while 13 others - the Yankees, White Sox, Cardinals, Reds, Tigers, Phillies, Brewers, Giants, Twins, Braves, Padres, Mariners and Royals - will have held it twice in that same span. (Speaking of the Royals, they suffered the second-longest All Star drought before getting the 2012 game.)
Even Washington, D.C. has held an All-Star Game (1969) more recently than the Mets despite the city going without professional baseball for over three decades. Oh, and if you think that leaves the Nationals high and dry, remember that the Montreal Expos hosted it in 1982 - and that Selig is considering either the nation's capital or Miami for the 2015 game.
This never-ending story gets a happy ending, but not because Mayor Bloomberg posed for the photos with Mr. Met and Selig at City Hall on Wednesday morning. Instead, it's because I'm a little more comfortable with what fans around baseball will see when the national spotlight focuses on Flushing next summer. The Madoff scandal is behind us. We can't make any assumptions about the 2012 Mets after seeing the team fall flat after the All Star break every year since 2009, but we can say that the brain trust running the team appears to have things heading in the right direction. There's the David Wright contract controversy, but that could be resolved one way or another by then.
If I'm excited, it's because I'm growing more comfortable with being able to boast about the hosts in 2013. I didn't think that was possible when the Post "broke" the story back in 2009. Now I'm only left wondering if the walls at Citi Field are in far enough to make for a halfway decent Home Run Derby...