Unless MLB changes its mind, a new site for the All-Star Game must be selected. Avoid the politics – The Field Of Dreams Is Perfect.
Major League Baseball (MLB), thanks to Commissioner Rob Manfred’s rush to judgment to move the All-Star Game from a center of controversy in Georgia, has unwittingly become a focus of discord himself.
I reach this assessment based largely on the hundreds of comments received from readers reacting to yesterday’s article, some of which have been added to the story.
In his statement on behalf of MLB, Manfred stopped short of explaining what his next steps will be to locate a replacement venue for the All-Star Game and Major League Draft, now scheduled for July 13-17.
Obviously, time is of the essence. But given MLB’s good marks for staying on its feet through the COVID pandemic last year and into this year, three months should be an adequate timeframe to put something workable together.
MLB: A Solution Is Nearby
With the mix of politics and baseball a seeming no-no in the eyes of many fans, choosing a neutral site for the game, as opposed to another major league city, would seem to be a logical way to avoid even more controversy.
My first thought was Cooperstown, the home of the Baseball Hall Of Fame. But with New York (I live here) being a bastion of liberalism, though endearing, moving the game here is likely to light another fire that baseball doesn’t need at the moment.
However, what site and venue could be more endearing – and neutral -as representative of our National Pastime than the Field Of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa?
Logistics? – Work It Out MLB!
Logistics, you say? Well, that’s something MLB in its infinite wisdom and overflowing treasury should able to figure out.
A major league-sized ballpark is already built and ready to host the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees for a Field Of Dreams nationally televised spectacle on August 12, 2021.
Its capacity is modest at 8,000 seats and would require a lottery of sorts conducted by MLB regarding who gets to attend, but that would only add to the “unusualness” and lure of the event.
The biggest obstacle facing MLB is to find travel and accommodations for the mass of media, fans, players and their families, and sponsors.
Dyersville, the small town it is offers three hotels with other locations 20-30 miles outside of town. None are the Hyatt, but again, MLB needs only to market it as part of the journey and fun.
Bus and van transportation from remote locations is a convenience MLB must make available – free of charge.
MLB will need to reconfigure the outfield dimensions for the game between the Yankees and White Sox.
The corn begins 280 feet from home plate down the leftfield and rightfield foul lines and 300 feet in centerfield.
Otherwise, the Home Run Derby may never end. But no matter, the entertainment value of players competing to say, “I hit it further into the corn than you did” will be priceless.
MLB: Crawling From The Wreckage
For MLB, it should be only a matter of will. They have the resources and presumably the cooperation of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to jump through whatever hoops arise.
Whatever damage to MLB’s fan base has been done – is done. MLB took a risk by choosing to mix politics and baseball.
In doing so, Rob Manfred left baseball fans with no choice but to choose sides, a bad move when you consider that you can’t please everyone.
The way to recover for MLB though is to return the discussion to baseball, the reason why we care in the first place.
For many, their first attraction to the game occurred when they watched Kevin Costner field his dream in the movie.
MLB: A Way To Move On
MLB, rightly or wrongly, has made its decision to move the All-Star Game and Draft from the state of Georgia. So be it, it’s time to move on.
MLB can cop-out of a difficult decision by simply moving the game to next year’s already selected location – Dodger Stadium – and moving Atlanta back on the list assuming Georgia does its “penance”.
But a better way to go is to remain as neutral as possible in choosing an alternate location.
Dyersville, Iowa is about as neutral as you can get – and plus – it has those cornfields…