Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday evening what many in the baseball world have known for months, if not years.
As Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports, the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium will host the All-Star Game in 2012.
It has been 39 years since the Mid-Season Classic was last held in Kansas City and the region is expecting nearly $60-$65 million in overall financial impact. St. Louis had the 2009 game and saw a $60 million impact. Anaheim is hosting this year’s All-Star Game and the event will travel to Phoenix in 2011.
With some of the country’s best food and a criminally underrated stadium, Kansas City should have a blast hosting baseball’s elite athletes, as well as the throngs of media members that follow the game. Hopefully the Royals will send someone other than Zack Greinke to represent what truly is one of the United States’ great towns.
In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.
“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.
“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.
Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.