Major League Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta presents a logistical problem. The Midsummer Classic is usually awarded to a city several years in advance of the game. Whatever city is awarded this year’s game will have slightly more than three months to prepare.
MLB made the announcement Friday that the game, scheduled for Truist Park in suburban Atlanta on July 13, would be moved in response to a new Georgia law that civil rights advocates believe has the potential to restrict voting rights for people of color.
The law in Georgia, signed last week by Gov. Brian Kemp, was the first major bill of voting restrictions to be passed in a battleground state since the 2020 election, The New York Times reported. The new law requires photo identification in order to cast an absentee ballot by mail, limits drop boxes, grants more authority over elections to the Georgia Legislature, and makes it a misdemeanor to hand out food or water to voters waiting in line within 150 feet of a polling place or within 25 feet of any voter at a polling site, WSB-TV reported.
This year’s game was also going to honor the legacy of Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who died in January at the age of 86. Aaron, who became baseball’s all-time home run king in 1974, played in Atlanta from 1966 to 1974. He hit the four-bagger that broke Babe Ruth’s then-record of 714 home runs on April 8, 1974, at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium.
Atlanta hosted the All-Star Game in 1972 and 2000.
So, here are five possible venues where this year’s All-Star Game could be played.
Milwaukee: American Family Field is the most obvious venue, particularly if MLB intends to honor Aaron. The Hall of Fame slugger began his career in Milwaukee in 1954 and remained with the franchise when it moved to Atlanta in 1966. Aaron returned to Milwaukee to end his career with the American League’s Brewers in 1975 and 1976.
“It makes sense, it’s such a natural fit to have the game here, the year they’re paying tribute to Hank Aaron,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told WITI. “When the decision was announced, within hours we contacted the commissioner’s office.”
Milwaukee last hosted the All-Star Game in 2002.
Minneapolis: Given the emotional climate in Minneapolis over the Derek Chauvin trial, this could be an interesting venue. In the first days after the death of George Floyd in May 2020, the Minnesota Twins were the first MLB team to address the subject, and one of only 12 teams to mention Floyd by name, USA Today reported.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli tweeted about Floyd’s death two days after the incident -- and a day before the Twins, writing that Floyd “should be breathing right now. We have a lot of progress to make. A lot. Remember his name. Remember what happened.”
A marquee event could help heal the wounds in Minneapolis. Steve Simon, Minnesota’s secretary of state, urged MLB in a tweet to consider the Twin Cities, which last hosted the game in 2014. Simon said Minnesota has “pro-voter election laws, and the No. 1 voter turnout in the nation.”
Los Angeles: Dodger Stadium was supposed to be the site for the 2020 All-Star Game, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the game to be canceled, NBC Sports reported. Los Angeles is set to host the 2022 game, and there has been some thought about moving the timetable up one year. Dodgers officials, however, will most likely opt for the least amount of disruption and keep the game in Southern California in 2022.
Dodger Stadium hosted the All-Star Game in 1980. The Dodgers also held a game in 1959 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and in 1949 at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field.
Arlington, Texas: Globe Life Field was used as MLB’s neutral site for last year’s National League Championship Series and the World Series. The ballpark is relatively new and much nicer than Arlington Stadium, which last hosted the game in the Metroplex in 1995.
Tampa Bay: A definite long shot. The Rays, who are the defending American League champions, would be a natural host for the 2021 All-Star Game. But the biggest obstacle for the franchise -- the only team that has not hosted an All-Star Game -- is quirky Tropicana Field. Hosting a big event is not an issue for the Tampa Bay area, which stepped in to take Super Bowl LV when a new stadium in Los Angeles was not going to be ready in time for the game.
Tropicana Field is one of five venues that have yet to host an All-Star Game. The others are Truist Park, Globe Life Field, the new Yankee Stadium and Citizens Bank Park. Citizens Bank Park, in Philadelphia, has been awarded the 2026 game to coincide with the 250th anniversary of American independence.