Twins push for All-Star Game in 2014

Published 9:17 am Thursday, July 12, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All signs still point toward the Minnesota Twins being awarded the 2014 All-Star Game, with a formal announcement expected sometime in the next two months.

The Twins sent a 12-person delegation to this year’s All-Star festivities in Kansas City to study logistics, as they continue formulating their own plans for the event. The group was led by Matt Hoy, the team’s senior vice president of operations, and Laura Day, executive vice president for business development.

But team President Dave St. Peter, who remained in Minnesota, was careful not to assume the team is landing the 2014 event.

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“I think we’re very confident in our ability to garner a game in the relatively near future – in 2014 or 2016 or beyond,” St. Peter said. “Our focus has been on 2014, and as we’ve said throughout, we’re very hopeful. We’re also very respectful of the process that Major League Baseball has put forward.

“Until Commissioner (Bud) Selig touches down in Minneapolis and makes an official announcement, we’re going to continue doing our due diligence. And frankly, we continue to do some work with the city of Minneapolis, trying to finalize some things within our bid that we’ve given to Major League Baseball.”

The Royals learned they would be hosts of the 2012 event in June 2010. The Mets will be host of next year’s All-Star Game, and even though that was common knowledge in 2007, logistical issues in New York kept MLB from making an official announcement until this May – five years later.

The Twins, or any team, benefits from knowing as soon as possible, as it can help drive season-ticket sales. Teams reward loyalty by promising seats to the All-Star Game, as well as the Home Run Derby and Futures Game, which all sold out in Kansas City.

“I’m amazed at how intense people are wanting to get an All-Star Game right now,” Selig told members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. “And we’ll announce the 2014 All-Star Game in a reasonably short period of time.”

Selig has alternated the host site between the American League and National League most years, generally awarding cities that have built new ballparks. The NL was host in back-to-back years in 2006 (Pittsburgh) and 2007 (San Francisco), followed by the Yankees (2008), Cardinals (2009), Angels (2010) and Diamondbacks (2011).

The Cubs are contenders for the 2014 event, as they look to tie it to the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. Meanwhile, there is a backlog of NL teams with new ballparks, each waiting to host the event. That list includes the Nationals, Reds and Marlins.

“People are desperate for the game,” Selig said. “I mean, I really have my hands full trying to juggle the next few years, trying to be as fair as possible. Ten, 15 years ago – I’m not even joking – you had to beg people to take it. You had to offer some other kind of carrots for them to take the game.”

St. Peter said the Twins anticipated having to replace some sod after Target Field was host to its first concert Sunday, featuring Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. Sure enough, Larry DiVito’s grounds crew has been busy replacing sod in deep center field, between the power alleys, with the Twins next home game coming Friday against Oakland.

“I would say we came through the show probably better than expected,” St. Peter said. “And I think we feel really confident that our playing field will not only be major league ready, but will continue being one of the best playing surfaces in the league on Friday night.”