Dodgers ready to host MLB All-Star Week

LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – The last time Major League Baseball held its annual All-Star Game was back in 1980. The league has brought the game and all of its festivities back to Dodger Stadium this season.

Among the many activities slated for MLB All-Star Week include a celebrity softball game that is expected to feature Simone Biles, Jamie Foxx, Anthony Mackie, and Jimmy Kimmel. The T-Mobile Home Run Derby will also be a major highlight for the event that will run from July 15 to July 19. 

“As you know here in L.A., we are the city of big events and big parties,” said Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten. “And that’s what we’re going to have in July-five days of a big, big event and a big, big party.”

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, the scenario of MLB having its All-Star Game in Los Angeles is expected to make for a grand time in the City of Angels.

May 3, 2022. Members of the Los Angeles Dodgers (left to right front row: Justin Turner, Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman; left to right top row: Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Walker Buehler, and Clayton Kershaw) attend the official press conference to kick off MLB All-Star Week at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“One of the things that we noticed about L.A. when we were looking at locations, is the diversity of places to engage with fans in L.A.,“ said MLB Chief Operations & Strategy Officer Chris Marinak. “You have, obviously, iconic Dodger Stadium, the largest venue in Major League Baseball, and just an iconic location for baseball fans.”

“But then you have something like the oceanfront, the beach, the Santa Monica Pier. You have downtown L.A., which is a vibrant, international type of feel, diverse feel, with a lot of different audiences in the downtown L.A. area,” Marinak added. “And then there is a whole host of opportunities where kids are playing the game throughout southern L.A. and all throughout the city. I think that we came across a place that really has a vast array of fans and a great way to expose our sport to the local community.”       

As to why it has taken 42 years (No. 42 is also the number of the jersey that Robinson wore and MLB has retired across the sport) to bring the game back to Los Angeles, Marinak said there was a myriad of things that created that scenario. 

“So, I think that some of it was that we wanted to synchronize it with the renovation work that was happening here,” Marinak said. “I don’t know if you’ve taken a look at this great centerfield complex here. That was part of the plan.

Mookie Betts is all smiles
May 3, 2022. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts and some of his teammates attend a press conference to kick off MLB All-Star Week at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“The Dodgers wanted to build this new element of their park and then showcase that at the game. That was originally planned to be done for 2020. We had planned for 2020, and then obviously got pushed back and now we’re excited to be back.” 

Representatives from MLB and a handful of members of the Los Angeles Dodgers, including Justin Turner, Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw, and Freddie Freeman, were present for the kick-off press conference prior to the team playing the San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers defeated the Giants, 3-1 Tuesday night. The Dodgers then went on to sweep their division rival with a 9-1 win Wednesday. The team travels to play the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates on the road before returning to L.A. for a seven-game homestand.

Some of the luminaries on hand for the MLB presser were Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo. Waiting more than four decades to host MLB’s All-Star Weekend is a long time. But by hosting the event this year, the Dodgers and MLB will have an even bigger celebration on their hands as the memory of No. 42 continues to hover over all of baseball.

“It’s been 42 years since our last game,” Kasten remarked. “Now there’s something serendipitous about that. Everyone knows how that number resonates in our sport, not just in baseball but in all sports around the country. Forty-two is a special number. So when I was asked about this ten years ago, I wished I could have had the foresight to tell them, ‘Well, wait until it’s 42 years.’ But whom am I kidding? Two years ago, I thought the drought was going to end at 40. But we’re happy it’s finally here. It has been a long time coming, but it is going to be worth the wait.”