BRISTOL, Conn. -- Baseball intends to stop awarding the All-Star Game by alternating leagues and will move toward a Super Bowl-type bidding process, commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN.com on Thursday.
That process would begin with the 2017 game, because the 2016 game has already been awarded to San Diego. The new system would change a practice that has been in place for the last 82 years, in which All-Star Games were generally awarded by alternating National League and American League cities, barring unusual circumstances.
As recently as last year's All-Star Game, outgoing commissioner Bud Selig had said he was in favor of continuing to alternate leagues. However, MLB has now awarded the 2015 and 2016 games to National League cities (Cincinnati and San Diego). Manfred indicated Thursday that it won't be the last time that teams from the same league host the All-Star Game in back-to-back years.
During a 30-minute question-and-answer session with ESPN.com reporters, Manfred was asked about the possibility of awarding an All-Star Game to Wrigley Field once renovations are complete.
"One of the things that I am going to try to do with All-Star Games is -- and we'll make some announcements in the relatively short-term -- I am looking to be in more of a competitive-bidding, Super Bowl-awarding-type mode, as opposed to [saying], `You know, I think Chicago is a good idea,'" he replied.
Manfred did not specify how that bidding would work. However, sources say that rather than choosing cities based on which league they're in, All-Star Game hosts will be chosen in the future based on the merits of the city and ballpark, and which team and city can produce the best "All-Star experience." But the process will be complicated, at least initially, by other factors.
"In getting all these ballparks built, we made a lot of promises to cities about getting All-Star Games," Selig said at last month's owners meetings. So sources say MLB will honor those commitments, meaning that teams such as the Marlins and Nationals, with newer parks that have never hosted an All-Star Game, could jump ahead of more established franchises, such as the Orioles, Indians, Dodgers and Cubs, in the bidding process.
Manfred did say, however, that Chicago would be a "great market" for an All-Star Game. Wrigley Field last hosted the All-Star Game in 1990.