08/29/12 7:55 PM ET
MLB tabs Target Field for '14 All-Star Game
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MLB announced on Wednesday that the Twins will the host the Midsummer Classic on July 15, 2014, at Target Field. Commissioner Bud Selig, along with Twins owner Jim Pohlad and Twins president Dave St. Peter, made the announcement.
It's the third time the iconic event will be held in Minnesota, as the Twins hosted the 1965 All-Star Game at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn., and the '85 Midsummer Classic at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
But it's the first time the All-Star Game will be at Target Field, which opened in 2010 after the club spent the previous 28 years indoors at the Metrodome.
"Given everything and what's happened here with the ballpark and everything else, it was really pretty easy," Selig said of his decision. "I just don't like to do this too soon but I've known for a long time where the 2014 All-Star Game was going. And it's coming here because it's the right thing to do. This is the right place to be."
The Twins will get the chance to host the game and all the festivities that come with it after the Mets host the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field.
The effort to bring outdoor baseball back to the Twin Cities began in the 1990s, when the late Carl Pohlad, the club's former owner, argued that his team needed a new ballpark to be competitive.
"This Midsummer Classic will be a celebration of Carl's legacy," Selig said. "[Minnesota has] become one of our game's model franchises."
The Twins were even discussed as a potential option for contraction in 2001, underscoring the need for a new stadium, but the dream of an outdoor baseball stadium became a reality when then-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the stadium bill on May 26, 2006.
Ground was broken on the $545 million stadium on Aug. 20, 2007, and Target Field hosted its first Major League game on April 12, 2010, with 38,145 fans on hand to see the Twins beat the Red Sox, 5-2.
Target Field, which seats 39,504, has received plenty of fanfare since its opening, as it's considered one of the crown jewels in baseball. ESPN the Magazine ranked it the best stadium experience in North America in 2010.
The Twins have had their eye on hosting an All-Star Game since 2008, and now they'll get a chance to show off their beautiful new stadium, located in downtown Minneapolis.
"I think it's going to be really a special day," said Mike Opat, the Hennepin County board chairman. "We're looking forward to two years from now and all the activities that will happen. We'll be ready for them in downtown Hennepin County. It's a great day, and we're looking forward to 2014."
In the 1985 All-Star Game, the National League defeated the American League, 6-1, with LaMarr Hoyt winning Most Valuable Player honors for pitching three scoreless innings.
That event came 20 years after the '65 Classic at Metropolitan Stadium, the outdoor home of the Twins from 1961-81. The NL won that one, 6-5, despite a two-run homer from hometown favorite and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.
"It's great to be here; it's great to be a Twin," said Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who didn't play in either of the Midsummer Classics hosted by Minnesota but did qualify for 18 others. "It's nice to see the game come back to the Twin Cities, and I know the Twins organization is going to do a heck of a job putting on the All-Star Game."
But the All-Star Game has evolved since then, as it's now part of All-Star Week's various events and festivities, including FanFest, the State Farm Home Run Derby and the XM All-Star Futures Game.
The All-Star Game traditionally has a major effect on the host city's local economy as well, as Kansas City brought in an estimated $60 million from this year's Midsummer Classic, while Phoenix reportedly garnered $67 million in 2010.
Selig said he estimates the All-Star Game will bring about $75-100 million to the local economy and about $5 million will go to local charities.
"I think it means a lot," Jim Pohlad said. "I'm not going to try to put numbers on it -- pessimists will say one thing, optimists will say another -- but it's clearly impactful."
The game also determines whether the NL or AL will have home-field advantage in that year's World Series, with the NL having emerged victorious in the last three Midsummer Classics, including an 8-0 win this year at Kauffman Stadium.
"The game means something," Selig said. "It's the best All-Star game in sports by far."