By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO (CBS) — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is positive the Chicago Cubs will be hearing that an All-Star Game is in their immediate future. A guest on 670 the Score’s “Inside the Clubhouse” on Saturday, Manfred said the Cubs are doing everything right to get the game soon.
Host sites for the Midsummer Classic have been set through 2018, with 2019 the next one up for grabs.
“It makes sense the Cubs get an opportunity ahead after the new renovations are complete,” Manfred said. “This will provide the Cubs and Ricketts family a chance to showcase the unbelievable renovation they are in the midst of doing for Wrigley Field. Timing wise, we have the schedule of cities set through Washington ( in 2018). We will have an open and complete competition for the All-Star Game beyond that time.”
Manfred will no doubt put the Cubs at the top of his list, once he’s assured renovations will be complete on the iconic ballpark. The Cubs appear to have three more years after 2016 offseason of work to do. That would put them in line for the All-Star Game in 2019 or 2020.
The rule of thumb has been for baseball to inform clubs of their acceptance three years in advance of the All-Star Game in that city. The Nationals were informed in summer 2015 that their application was accepted for 2018.
“Three years is a pretty good lead time,” Manfred said. “We have a number of games through Washington. We will have an open and competitive process, as I stated. The timing is a little indefinite on that.”
The Cubs originally thought the renovation would be complete by 2017. With city issues and weather constraints beyond their control, the renovation became a five-year offseason project and $600-million project. The original $350 million cost estimate has changed dramatically. The Cubs are paying for the majority of the rehab as an out-of-pocket expense.
The Cubs have hosted three All-Star Games since the format was invented by Chicago Tribune writer Arch Ward in 1933. The team previously hosted the contest in 1947, 1962 (second game) and 1990. Between 1959 and 1962, baseball had two All-Star Games each summer.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.