Ferguson: Blue Jays should target the 2016 All-Star Game

Scott Ferguson,
2/22/2013 4:18:36 PM
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Over the last couple of weeks, we've heard talk that the Maple Leafs and the Raptors both want to host their respective leagues' All-Star games in the next few years. It could very well happen, and I think the Blue Jays should try to make it a trifecta.

The Blue Jays target date should be 2016. That's the next year that hasn't already been spoken for. Its will also be 25 years since the first and only Mid-Season Classic was held in Toronto: in 1991 in what was then called SkyDome.

I was part of those festivities and it was an incredible event. In the Legends' Game, Bill Mazeroski - the man who won the 1960 World Series against the Yankees with a walk-off homerun - hit one into the left field seats. I was in the National League dugout doing player interviews as this happened and got chills watching "Maz" do his homerun trot.

In the Homerun Derby, Cal Ripken Jr. put on an awesome display of home run hitting, driving ball after ball off Windows Restaurant. Ripken slugged 12 homers in all and the American League beat the Nationals in the Team format 20-7.

Ripken was the star of the All-Star Game itself blasting a game-winning three-run homer in the third off Dennis Martinez as the American League triumphed 4-2. The Blue Jays' Jimmy Key picked up the win as three Blue Jays appeared in that game for the "Junior Circuit": Key, Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. Cito Gaston was one of Tony LaRussa's coaches.

In all there were nine other players who either had been or would be Blue Jays taking part in that game including the likes of Roger Clemens, Jack Morris Rickey Henderson, George Bell, Cecil Fielder and Paul Molitor.

It was an incredible spectacle that included a huge party out on Toronto Island. One of my greatest thrills was seeing Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams in the opening ceremonies down at home plate before the game, and then having the late great Ernie Harwell join Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth in the broadcast booth to work a couple of innings.

Major League Baseball rotates the All-Star Game so that practically every city gets a chance to host and for the most part the American and National Leagues alternate year-by-year. The Next three games, are at the Mets' Citi Field in 2013, Target Field in Minnesota in 2014 and the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati in 2015.

If everything holds true to form, it will be the American League's turn to host in 2016. Since 1991, only two other American League cities haven't hosted the Allstar game, Oakland and Tampa Bay.

The A's are trying to move to San Jose, and the Rays are angling for a new stadium somewhere else in the Tampa area.

That's not exactly the kind of stability that would merit another shot at the "Mid-season Classic."

Just for argument's sake, if you were to include the National League cities that haven't hosted since 1991, you would be talking about only Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago.

The Marlins have the spanking-new stadium, but after the way they blew up their team in the off season, MLB won't be looking to do Jeffrey Loria any favours.

The Cubs are trying to finalize a plan to renovate Wrigley Field which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year. The Cubs last hosted the game in 1990, so they may have a chance.

The biggest challenge for the Blue Jays should they bid might be the Dodgers. Amazingly they haven't hosted the game since 1980, and their new ownership has deep pockets and a desire to take the Dodgers back to their glory years.

As I mentioned earlier, though, 2016 should be the American League's turn. The Blue Jays appear to be back on the upswing and it will be the 25th anniversary of that glorious game at Skydome in 1991. The fans deserve it.

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