Atlanta Braves hosting of 2021 All-Star game could be delayed

The delay in the start of the 2020 season has ramifications that could extend into next year, a scenario that might move the 2021 All-Star game, which is set to be hosted by the Atlanta Braves.

The 2020 All-Star Game was scheduled for Tuesday, July 14 in Los Angeles.  The city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Braves were already looking toward the next year, where the Midsummer comes to the South for the first time since 2000.

The phrase “was scheduled” is intentional.  It is still a point of speculation as to what might happen, but almost all commentators are in agreement:  that July 14 date is almost certainly not going to be met.

This from Tim Brown and Hannah Keyser of Yahoo Sports:

The fate of the Midsummer Classic will depend in part on how long the coronavirus shutdown lasts — the longer it lasts, the more things that will get canceled. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony could get postponed simply because it still might not be safe to have crowds of that size gather. The Field of Dreams game is also up in the air now.

So virtually all special events slated for this year could be in jeopardy:  the Field of Dreams game, the London series between the Cubs and Cardinals, and yes:  the All-Star Game.

As the reality of an altered All-Star Game is sinking in, there’s now a myriad of proposals coming in from all over in an effort to figure out what to do with it:

  • Cancel the game outright (various floated suggestions, on the basis that the league will need all the days they can get to muster enough games for a credible season)
  • Open the season with the game
  • Play it between the League Championship Series matchups and the World Series (Brown/Keyser)

Clearly, this last option would have some issues, mainly that there are at least 2 teams that would not be able or willing to provide players:  the World Series contenders.  I’d also suggest that the teams they had just vanquished might not be emotionally up to turning around and participating in an All-Star day either.

So omit All-Stars from the best teams in baseball?  That doesn’t quite sound like a game that people would be clamoring to see right before the World Series starts (of course Atlanta Braves fans wouldn’t care if we were in that World Series!).

The notion of a possible cancellation was specifically raised by Jim Bowden today on MLB Network Radio (no link available), and his thought was that it would only be fair to give the Dodgers the 2021 game in place of one this season.

The thinking is that the city and the team had already begun preparations for hosting the event, and that money shouldn’t be wasted.

If that were to happen… then the Atlanta All-Star year would likewise be pushed to 2022.  In turn, the 2022 contest, which could be awarded to the Colorado Rockies, would bump an additional year as well.

The writers from Yahoo Sports aren’t sold on the idea of a cancellation, under the quite correct notion that Fox Sports has paid quite a bit for the privilege of broadcasting the game, and they certainly would have a say in the discussions as well.

One obvious possible solution would be to extend their contract out a year to accommodate them in the event of a cancellation, but we’re well into the realm of speculation at this point.

Regardless:  since we don’t yet know when we’ll get a season underway, everything discussed is merely ‘ideas being floated’.

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But the Yahoo writers are certainly right about this:  the longer this goes, the more things will have to change… and thus Atlanta could truly be impacted.