Thursday afternoon, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas will host the 2024 MLB All Star Game, yet again passing over Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The stadium that revolutionized ballpark design is in play to host the 2025 Midsummer Classic but will face stiff competition from the likes of Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Atlanta’s Truist Park. If history is any indicator, Camden Yards will likely be passed over again for reasons that have nothing to do with the ballpark or Baltimore’s reputation as a host city for special events and much to do with a petty vendetta over regional broadcast fees.
It has been 29 years since Oriole Park at Camden Yards hosted the MLB All Star Game. Unfortunately, the wait may continue for some time.
Over the past decade, the Orioles and Washington Nationals have been embroiled in litigation regarding the revenue splitting of MASN, the majority-Orioles-owned regional broadcast network. I won’t bore you with the legalese, but basically the Nationals want more money and the Orioles are responding by putting their hands over their mouth and blowing a raspberry (and asserting that the Nats get fair market value already). Manfred has commented on this situation in the past, advocating for a resolution on the matter while making comments that could be interpreted as pro-Nationals with regard to the distribution of revenue.
One of the Orioles highly touted prospects, Heston Kjerstad, took home the Arizona Fall League MVP after a successful stint in Scottsdale
The Orioles continuing with the case as opposed to settling seems to be a source of frustration, but there’s very little within the league’s purview that can be done to influence the situation. What options does Manfred have? Well, refusing to award the club the right to host the All Star Game and denying them the revenues that go along with it is one.
At this stage, there are few logical reasons why Camden Yards hasn’t hosted an MLB All Star Game in three decades. Despite its age, the park remains one of baseball’s beautiful Crown Jewels with picturesque, 360-degree views. It’s a downtown stadium accessible by car, foot, or light rail. Fells Point and Federal Hill are a short Uber or a long walk away. There are no shortage of hotel rooms and the Convention Center directly across the street is perfectly equipped to host media partners and sponsor activations. Baltimore is tailor made to host events like this.
Yes, it’s hosted before, but so have other ballparks. Cleveland’s Progressive Field has hosted two MLB All Star Games since Camden Yards last did (1997, 2019). T-Mobile Park in Seattle was selected as the 2023 host after hosting the Chan Ho Park game in 2001. Denver’s Coors Field got it twice. The 2024 game will be Arlington’s second in 29 years.
But as long as the MASN lawsuit drags on, new ballparks get built, old ones get renovated, and Manfred stays devoted to petty score-settling, it is highly unlikely that Orioles fans will get to watch the league’s best take the field for an All Star Game at Camden Yards or watch sluggers take their turns trying to replicate Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1993 warehouse-tagging blast in the Home Run Derby. All because a bunch of billionaires can’t agree how to divide their exorbitant amounts of cash and because the guy hired to serve the best interests of said billionaires seems intent on holding a grudge over it.