The MLB All-Star Game, also known as the Midsummer Classic, is the official mid-point contest in the season, which has been held by the Major League Baseball Organization every year since 1933. The participants in the game are the star players from the two major baseball leagues: the American League and the National League. There are a host of additional festivities and special features that accompany the event, and the game is broadcast live on television throughout the country.
When is the MLB All-Star Game Held?
The MLB All-Star Game is not actually held at the mathematical mid-way point in the baseball season, but this is what it represents. The game usually takes place on the second or third Tuesday in July, although there are a series of events that are scheduled both before and after the contest. Both of the major leagues have a break in their regular season fixtures during this time so that they can participate in the game.
Where is the MLB All-Star Game Held?
The venue for the annual MLB All-Star Game is selected by the Major League Baseball Organization, and the reasons for the choice can be anything from practical to historical. Traditionally, the selection alternates between the National League and the American League venues, but this custom has been flouted on several occasions.
Nevertheless, from a wagering standpoint, it’s good to note that the two sides are fairly even when it comes to hosting. To date, the National League has hosted 46 times, whereas the American League has had the honor 43 times. In all the years of the event, only two games have been ties.
The Venue for the 2020 Game
The announcement about the choice of venue for the forthcoming games is made well in advance. The most recent game was held in 2019, and it was the 90th Major League All-Star Game. It took place in Cleveland at the Progressive Field and was hosted by the Cleveland Indians. In 2020, the game will be hosted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in their stadium.
Key Information for 2020
|Host||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Date||Tuesday, July 14, 2020|
The Home-Field Advantage
The designation of home team has traditionally been awarded to the team in the league that is hosting the event. As the choice of venues is, in theory, alternated between the leagues, this is considered to be the fairest system. From 2003-2007, the league that won the All-Star Game was given the home team status in the World Series. It was a practice that was highly unpopular among fans and players alike, and so in 2017, the MLB put an end to it.
The History of the MLB All-Star Game
The MLB All-Star Game was originally intended to be a one-off event. The idea came from the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune, Arch Ward, who devised the event as a way to promote the sport and to bring some well-needed cheer during the Great Depression. The attendance at the first-ever game was estimated to be 49,000, and the proceeds from the tickets went to a charity for disadvantaged Major League players.
The inaugural game was held on July 6, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, as part of the World’s Fair in Chomiskey Park, which is the home of the American League’s Chicago White Sox. The game was a huge success, especially as the American League defeated the National League at one of their home venues. Following the triumph of this event, the All-Star Game became a regular fixture during the baseball season.
The First All-Star Game
The first game was billed as the ‘Game of the Century’, and it certainly lived up to the hype. The star of the game was undoubtedly the legendary Babe Ruth, who hit a two-run home run, the first ever in the All-Star Game history. The game lasted for just over 2 hours, and the American League’s winning score was 4-2.
How is the MLB All-Star Lineup Chosen?
The selection process for the various participants in the game is a combined affair. The starting fielders are selected by a fan vote, the managers choose the pitchers, and the reserves are chosen by both the Commissioner’s Office and the players. Each league has 32 places on the roster, and all 30 MLB teams must be represented on it.
The managers of the game are the winners of the previous year’s league. This arrangement means that the managers are often with a different club to the one that validated the All-Star appointment by the time they are chosen to manage the game. The coaching staff for the game is selected by the managers.
Compiling the MLB All-Star Roster
The 32-man roster for each team consists of 20 position players and 12 pitchers. In addition to this, there are Designated Hitters. This is commonly associated with the American League and was only incorporated into the MLB All-Star Game in 1989. Up until 2010, it was used solely in games that were hosted by the American League, but it has now become a standard part of the game.
The Designated Hitter (DH) for the American League is voted for by players, but in the National League team, it’s the manager who makes the choice. The selection for the players is completed in the following way:
The Fan Vote – The starting fielders are chosen by the fans in a ballot selection. The vote is for 8 players for both the National League and the American League. Since 2015, these votes have been cast entirely on the internet.
The Player Vote – The MLB players get to vote for the sought-after spots on the team. They vote for 8 position players for the National League and 9 for the American League, as this includes a vote for the Designated Hitter. The players also choose 8 pitchers for each side. This is broken down into 5 starters and 3 relievers. Additionally, the players select one back-up for each position, including the DH position.
The Commissioner’s Office – The Commissioner’s Office selects the remaining players. This is the result of consultations between the managers of each league, and in particular, with the managers chosen for the All-Star Game. The manager for the NL side selects the Designated Hitter at this point, too.
The Final Vote – There is one last online vote for one additional player. This player is picked from a selection of five names that has been put together by the two league managers and the Commissioner’s Office.
The Roster and the Rules for Injuries
If a player on the roster for the MLB All-Star Game subsequently receives an injury and is unable to participate, the reserve with the most player votes in the initial ballot is given the place. Another reserve player is then chosen by the league. This rule is also used if a player decides not to take up the invitation to participate in the game. The Commissioner’s Office has the ultimate responsibility of ensuring that there are reserve players available.
How the Fan Vote Works
The online fan votes can usually be cast from the end of the spring via the official MLB website. Each team has a page with a voting link so that its dedicated fans can cast their votes. Since 2018, there has been an app available, too. The first decision to make is whether you are voting for the American League or the National League players. Once this has been decided, you are allowed to vote for:
- One player for each infield position
- 3 outfielders
- One Designated Hitter (for the American League only)
- A final vote after the rosters have been revealed
Changes to the Fan Ballot in 2019
There were some changes to the system for fan votes in 2019, which are likely to remain in place for the 2020 ballot. The 2019 poll was the first time that fans had voted in a primary. The votes for the primary took place from May 28 to June 21. Previously, fans were allowed to vote up to 35 times in total, but they could vote up to 5 times a day in the primary.
After the primary ballot, the top three finishers for every infield position and the top nine for the outfield went on to the Starters Election. This vote was to determine the final starting positions, and fans could only cast 1 vote. The roster for the fan vote was announced on June 30.
Controversies with the Player Voting System
There is some controversy over the fact that all 30 Major League teams must have a representative on the All-Star roster. Many people feel that the All-Star game should be about showcasing the best baseball players in the two leagues and that having each team represented prevents this from happening.
It has to be acknowledged that stronger players are often overlooked due to this rule. However, supporters of the rule feel that the larger teams would dominate the game if this stipulation wasn’t in place. It is also worth noting that fan interest is heightened by having players from their teams in the game.
Issues with Stuffing the Ballot Box
The term ‘stuffing the ballot box’ refers to fans casting too many votes in an attempt to sway the results. Over the years, there have been several accusations of this, and since the advent of online voting, suspicions have been aroused again. In 1999, the MLB refused to accept 39,000 votes, and in 2015, the MLB disallowed more than 65 million votes, which completely changed the starting roster.
What happens if the Game Ends in a Tie?
In the history of the series, the MLB All-Star Game has only finished twice in a tie. The first time was in 1961 in Boston when rain stopped play after nine innings. With the score at 1-1, the game was called. On the second occasion, in the 2002 Milwaukee game, the tie caused a whole heap of controversy.
The game ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings, but both managers had used up all the substitute pitchers. Faced with a tricky situation, Commissioner Bud Selig declared a tie. The result was met with widespread disapproval from fans and the media, and this led to changes being made to the structure of the All-Star Game.
In an attempt to make the game more than an exhibition event, Major League Baseball introduced the rule that gave the winners the Home-Field Advantage in the World Series. This rule was highly controversial, and it was finally revoked in 2017.
The Most Valuable Player Award
The MLB All-Star Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) is presented annually to the player considered to have played the best during the game. The MVP winner is also given a Chevrolet. The prize was first given in 1962 and was originally called the Arch Ward Memorial Award. It then became the Commissioner’s Trophy before becoming the Ted Williams MVP Award.
Significant Moments in the History of the MVP Award
During the All-Star Game, fans cast online votes for the most outstanding player, and these count for 20% of the official vote. If you want to wager on the recipient of the MVP, these facts are worth considering:
- The 2019 MVP Award was presented to the road team. Shane Bieber, a Cleveland Indians player, was the winner.
- Two prizes were given in 1962, the first year of the award. Maury Wills from the National League and Leon Wagner from the American League were both given the award.
- After the drama of the 2002 tie, no MVP was presented. This is the only time since the conception of the award that the prize hasn’t been given.
- Five players have won the award twice, and only Mike Trout has won it in back-to-back years.
- Only two players from the losing league have ever been given the award. Two players shared the award: Bill Matlock and Jon Matlack.
Other Notable All-Star Game Events
Over the years, the MLB All-Star Game has become more than a single event. If you’re interested in following and wagering on some of the other events, these are the key festivities that take place around the time of the game:
The Home-Run Derby
This annual event first began in 1985 and is traditionally held on the Monday before the All-Star Game. Eight players who have the highest home run totals for the season are picked for the contest. Each player is given a time limit of four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The players are matched up in head-to-heads, and the winner of each round progresses to the next stage.
The All-Star Futures Game
The All-Star Futures Game started in 1999 and is used to showcase new talent in baseball. Previously, a team of Minor League players would take on a team of players from other countries, but this changed in 2019. For the first time, the players were chosen from the American and the National Minor Leagues. The game was seven innings and ended in a 2-2 tie.
The All-Star Legends Game
The All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game started in 2001 and takes place the day before the main All-Star Game. The two teams are a mixture of celebrities and former players, and there are six innings, with sudden-death rounds played in the event of a tie. In 2019, Jamie Foxx and Jimmy Kimmel were among the celebrities that took part.
The MLB All-Star Game in 2019
The American League was victorious in the 2019 All-Star Game, defeating the National League by 4-3. This result means that the American League has had six straight wins and has been victorious 19 times in the 23 most recent games. The game produced a few significant records for the sport:
- The Cleveland Indians have now hosted the All-Star Game six times, which makes them the team that has hosted the most games.
- The game was held on the 25th anniversary of the Progressive Field in Cleveland.
- The first 3 hits all came from Astros players, the first time a single MLB team has achieved this.
- There were 36 players who were participating in the All-Star Game for the first time.
- This was the first time that the game had featured two starters aged 32 and over.
Betting on the 2020 MLB All-Star Game
The American League has been undeniably dominant in recent years and will go into the 2020 game as favorites. While it’s hard to wager against another victory, a bet on the underdog will certainly attract better odds, and so the National League might be the way to go.
Alternatively, the prop bets always provide some interesting options, so once the roster is announced, shop around to see what’s available. Also, consider the benefits of in-play betting. This gives you the opportunity to see the direction of the game and respond to the action before you commit to a bet.