Leadoff: Why MLB chose Dodger Stadium, not SunTrust Park, for All-Star Game

Good morning. Welcome to LEADOFF, today’s early look inside Atlanta sports.

New stadiums often have an advantage in landing marquee sports events. But Major League Baseball chose 56-year-old Dodger Stadium, not 1-year-old SunTrust Park, when it awarded the 2020 All-Star Game on Wednesday. 

“The Dodgers prevailed in what has become a very competitive process to secure All-Star games,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a center-field news conference at Dodger Stadium, streamed on the team’s website. “We’re very fortunate we had a number of cities that were interested in hosting the game in 2020 and now beyond 2020.” 

Manfred enumerated the reasons Los Angeles landed the game. 

“There were really three important things that distinguished the Dodger bid,” he said. “First of all, we thought Los Angeles would be a great place to showcase the young stars in our game. Secondly is where we are today: Dodger Stadium is one of our iconic stadiums, and it's particularly appropriate that we bring an All-Star Game here. 

“The third factor is one that (Dodgers president and CEO) Stan Kasten mentioned to me once or twice during the process. And that was that there hadn’t been an All-Star Game here (at Dodger Stadium) since 1980 so it’s time for us to be back here.” 

Although the Braves had sought to bring the All-Star Game to SunTrust Park as early as 2020, their bid also included the 2021 game, for which MLB is still considering bids. MLB hasn’t said when it will award that game. 

The Braves last hosted the All-Star Game in 2000 at Turner Field, 20 years after the Dodgers last hosted it.

Kasten, the former president of the Braves (and Hawks and Thrashers), said during Wednesday’s news conference that the Dodgers’ ownership group had been working on landing an All-Star game since buying the team in 2012. He described Dodger Stadium -- the third oldest MLB stadium -- as “the most beautiful venue ever built to play or watch the game of baseball.” He acknowledged, “There were other people in line (for the All-Star Game). There are new stadiums. There are cities that deserve it. And every city is deserving of one.” 

The Dodgers have made major improvements to their stadium in recent years, and Kasten suggested “our next set of upgrades, renovations and additions” will occur before the All-Star Game arrives. 

Fittingly, the Dodgers celebrated their winning bid with a video narrated by legendary broadcaster Vin Scully:

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> Jeff Schultz explores the Hawks’ biggest question: Is coach Mike Budenholzer coming back? Read his column here.

> Mark Bradley writes in defense of Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson’s contract extension. Read his column here.

> The Braves are worth $125 million more than a year ago, according to new valuations of MLB franchises by Forbes.  See story here.

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