CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians made it back to the World Series last year for the first time since 1997.
They’re about to connect with another moment from their past.
Cleveland will host the All-Star Game in 2019, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press on Thursday. The team will hold a news conference on Friday at Progressive Field to formally announce the event, last held in Cleveland in 1997. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made.
Hosting the mid-season’s showcase is another boost for the Indians, who won their first AL pennant since ‘97 last season and pushed the Chicago Cubs to seven games before losing the Series.
When the Indians hosted the game in ‘97, Indians catcher Sandy Alomar hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning and was selected as the All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player.
The city also hosted the game in 1935, 1954, 1963 and 1981 at Municipal Stadium, which was torn down in the 1990s.
Cleveland.com first reported that the Indians will be hosting the 2019 game, which will end a four-year run by NL ballparks. Cleveland will be the first AL host since Minnesota in 2014. The All-Stars will be in Miami this year and Washington, D.C., in 2018.
The AL champion Indians have made significant changes to their downtown ballpark since last hosting the All-Stars. Back then it was called Jacobs Field.
The team has removed thousands of seats in the right-field upper deck and the club has created open social areas and better viewing for its fans with the installation of bar rails. The club also upgraded its concessions, using numerous local food vendors.
Cleveland’s attendance has been among the majors’ lowest in recent years, but the Indians have gotten a recent increase in ticket sales after signing free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, a three-time All-Star who has averaged 39 homers during the past five seasons.