My topic for this week is actually old news. Matter of fact, the news was announced a month ago, but looking back on my columns, I seemed to have strayed away from my favorite sport as the “Dog days of Summer” approach.
So, without further ado — I’m sure if you’re a Braves fan you know this already — Atlanta and SunTrust Park will officially host the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
At the end of May, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was in the Peach State to make this important announcement. As if the Atlanta Braves haven’t had enough fortune in recent years with the opening of their wonderful new ballpark, as well as the emergence of a flourishing, young team, they have been awarded the 92nd edition of the Midsummer Classic.
SunTrust Park is the newest stadium in baseball having opened in 2017.
This will be the third time that Atlanta has been home to the All-Star Game and the fifth time the Braves organization has hosted it. The team moved to Atlanta in 1966, and has since held the All-Star Game in 1972 at Atlanta Stadium and once again in 2000 at Turner Field.
Prior to relocating to Atlanta, the Braves had hosted the game in 1936 when they were known as the Boston Braves, and again in 1955 when the Milwaukee Braves hosted the Midsummer Classic at Milwaukee County Stadium.
This is a big deal for the Braves, SunTrust Park and Atlanta as the All-Star Game — along with its accompanying festivities such as the Home Run Derby and FanFest, which I’m assuming is the best fan experience you could ever get as a baseball lover — is one of the highlights of the sport and of the summer for baseball fans and will undoubtedly attract an abundance of visitors (and dollars) to the host city.
Manfred announced the news at the site of the 2021 All-Star Game itself. In attendance were some of the Braves’ most iconic players, including Hank Aaron and Chipper Jones — interestingly enough, Aaron and Jones had both played in an All-Star Game in Atlanta as a Brave (1972 and 2000) and, on top of that, the two Braves greats each hit a home run in their respective Atlanta-hosted Midsummer Classic game.
Residents of Atlanta, and Braves fans in particular, are certainly excited that their team stadium will welcome the other 29 teams and their fans to SunTrust Park in 2021 to celebrate the 92nd All-Star Game.
The current Braves squad is one of the most talented clubs in the National League, fresh off of being crowned NL East champions last season marking the end of a relatively brief rebuild by General Manager Alex Athopolous.
The Braves core should still be intact by the time they host the game in ’21, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were represented by current stars Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. — and perhaps even prosperous youngsters Austin Riley and Mike Soroka.
The sky is the limit for this emerging Atlanta Braves organization.