The San Diego Padres, trying to become relevant again after flying under the MLB radar for several years, revealed this week they have made a formal bid to host the 2017 All-Star Game.
While new stadiums generally get into the All-Star Game mix quickly, Petco Park opened in 2004 and has not really been mentioned as an ASG site until recently. In August, Commissioner Bud Selig was at Petco — where an alcove was named for him — and commented “I like your chances” when asked if the All-Star Game might return to San Diego soon.
Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark will host the 2015 All-Star Game. An American League team will probably be the host site in 2016 (the ASG usually alternates leagues each year) so 2017 would be the next available year for a National League team. Selig, who is retiring in January, is expected to name the sites for 2016 and ’17 before he steps down.
One theory in play since the summer is that the 2019 ASG would be awarded to San Diego to tie in with the team’s 50th anniversary as a Major League franchise (before that the Padres were a Pacific Coast League team for decades).
Team CEO Mike Dee, front man for the Padres’ new ownership group, would like it sooner than that and said bidding for an All-Star Game has been a priority since he came into the front office in 2013. “The events of All-Star week would serve the dual purpose of attracting thousands of visitors to San Diego as well as showcasing the beauty of America’s Finest City to a worldwide television audience.
“Most importantly, though, Padres fans have spoken loudly that they want this game, and hopefully that wish will come true.”
San Diego last hosted the All-Star Game in 1992, when the Padres still played at San Diego Jack Murphy (now Qualcomm) Stadium. Ken Griffey Jr. was the star that day, winning MVP honors by going 3-for-3 with a home run in an American League victory.
Notes — Looking to upgrade what was the NL’s worst offense, new General Manager A.J. Preller recently went after free agent Pablo Sandoval and Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas. Like his offense, Preller was 0-for-2. But he went down swinging.
The Padres, known for never committing to nine-figure deals (or even close) under previous ownership, reportedly made an offer to Sandoval that was competitive with Boston’s five-year, $95 million bid that Sandoval accepted earlier this week. Tomas accepted a five-year offer from the Diamondbacks, and Preller said he was “comfortable” with not bidding higher.
Now the Padres are looking to go the trade route, and are reportedly willing to part with front-line pitching. They’re also getting inquiries about minor league catching prodigy Austin Hedges, who might be available. Players the Padres have asked about are said to include Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, and Red Sox slugger Yoenis Cespedes.
Kemp and Cespedes are right-handed batters, who generally have better luck at pitcher-friendly Petco Park than lefties.