Major League Baseball made official what has been speculated for a while now: The 2016 All-Star Game will be held at Petco Park in San Diego -- and not in Baltimore. The announcement was made Thursday as part of the owners' meetings in Phoenix.
That means baseball's Midsummer Classic will be played in National League parks in consecutive seasons -- the 2015 game will be held at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati -- for the first time since 2006 and 2007, when it was also held in consecutive NL cities, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, respectively.
Outgoing commissioner Bud Selig said on multiple occasions last year that he wanted to keep the All-Star Game on a rotation between American League and NL cities, and he also said that Baltimore was a viable candidate for hosting the 2016 event, which was scheduled to be the AL's turn.
But there were several new stadiums in the NL, including Petco Park, that have not featured the exhibition in the past, whereas Camden Yards hosted it in 1993 and Toronto's SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) played host in 1991. San Diego most recently had the game in 1992 at old Jack Murphy Stadium.
"Major League Baseball has received a number of outstanding bids from National League clubs whose ballparks have never hosted the All-Star Game," the commissioner's office released in a statement. "Due to the quality of these bids, it was determined that the 2016 site would be awarded to the club that made the most competitive bid, regardless of league affiliation."
The only other two AL cities that haven't had the All-Star Game since Baltimore did are Tampa Bay (never) and Oakland (1987), but both of those franchises are dealing with stadium issues.
The Orioles informed MLB last year that it would like to be considered as host for the 2016 event. But because the team and managing partner Peter G. Angelos are in a legal squabble with MLB and the Washington Nationals over the television rights fees involving the Orioles-owned Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, Orioles officials privately thought it was unlikely that MLB would award Camden Yards the All-Star Game.
Selig, however, said in August that the MASN fight and the All-Star Game host were separate issues.
The 2017 All-Star Game has not been awarded. Miami and Washington, D.C., are considered possibilities for that one -- if it ends up again in a NL city.