SEATTLE — Eliminated in the second matchup of Monday night’s Home Run Derby, Adley Rutschman stuck around to watch the other competitors. Like everyone else in T-Mobile Park, he couldn’t look away during Julio Rodríguez’s opening round.
The Seattle Mariners’ young outfielder — the only player to top Rutschman in last season’s voting for American League Rookie of the Year — hit 41 home runs as a sold-out crowd in his home ballpark almost constantly chanted “Ju-li-o! Ju-li-o!”
“Dude, that was electric,” Rutschman said the next day. “To me, that was so cool. Seeing everyone just get so hype, 41 home runs, that was a highlight.”
With Rutschman enjoying the experience enough to say he would be open to competing in the derby again someday, it’s fair to wonder when home fans watching the event might get to chant “Ad-ley! Ad-ley!”
The Orioles haven’t hosted an All-Star Game since 1993, Camden Yards’ second season. That run will extend at least another year, with the Texas Rangers set to host the event in 2024 at their ballpark, which opened in 2020. The 1995 All-Star Game was at the Rangers’ previous stadium.
The 2026 festivities are devoted to Philadelphia in recognition of the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but 2025 is open. Although it’s unknown whether MLB would be willing to have consecutive Midsummer Classics that close to each other geographically, Baltimore is on a list of candidates to host that year, USA Today reported, along with Toronto and Atlanta.
When asked Tuesday whether Atlanta’s Truist Park was in consideration for 2025, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said yes but did not expand on other potential choices. Atlanta hosted in 2000 and was scheduled to in 2021 before MLB moved the event to Denver after the Georgia State Legislature passed an act that restricted voters’ rights.
Manfred later added that the Chicago Cubs have also expressed interest in hosting in the future. Wrigley Field, one of the sport’s oldest and most iconic venues, last held the All-Star Game in 1990.
“As time goes by, I’ve been more focused on keeping track of when a game was last there and trying to get back to places where we haven’t been in a really long time,” Manfred said.
Beyond the Cubs, the only teams that have gone longer than the Orioles since last hosting are the Toronto Blue Jays (1991), Oakland Athletics (1987) and Tampa Bay Rays (never), with the Rangers set to become the fifth team to have multiple ones since. The A’s and Rays notably have ongoing stadium situations with the league, with the former in the process of relocating to Las Vegas and the latter progressing toward a new ballpark.
The Orioles, too, face some uncertainty with their venue, as the team’s lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority is set to expire at the end of this calendar year. Chairman and CEO John Angelos said in February he hoped a new long-term lease would be an “All-Star break gift,” but the four-day hiatus is nearly over. Manfred said Tuesday that he has “every confidence” the team will agree to a new deal and remain in Baltimore.
Perhaps getting that lease in place, unlocking the $600 million in public funds that would come with it, and using those to provide necessary upgrades to Oriole Park’s infrastructure would help bring the All-Star Game back to Baltimore. Resolution to the team’s dispute with the Washington Nationals, who hosted in 2018, over rights fees for the co-owned Mid-Atlantic Sports Network might also entice the league.
Even with its flaws — a lacking sound system, an outdated scoreboard and “a lot of stuff behind the scenes,” as Angelos put it in February — Camden Yards remains a gem, one that deserves the sport’s eyes upon it. The team’s fans, who have weathered years of bad baseball, likewise deserve the chance to see the league’s best in their backyards and perhaps try to entice them to stick around, as Mariners fans did Tuesday with “Come to Seattle” chants directed toward Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
Before this year, Seattle’s most recent All-Star Game was in 2001, when Orioles icon Cal Ripken Jr. homered and was named Most Valuable Player. Over two days there, the Orioles’ four All-Stars — fewer than only four other teams — got a look at how loving a home crowd is to its own honorees. When Rodríguez replaced Baltimore’s Austin Hays in center field in the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s exhibition, fans rose to their feet, and more chants of his first name broke out. They came again as Rodríguez batted as the potential go-ahead run in the ninth.
“Being able to experience something like that in your home ballpark has to be an amazing feeling,” Hays said. “If I could be a part of something like that in my own ballpark, it would be pretty special.”