With the sports world on hold, Cronkite News will take a daily look at this day in sports history and reflect on some of the biggest moments in Arizona sports.
PHOENIX – On this day in 2009, the Arizona Diamondbacks got their wish.
“Major League Baseball is proud to announce that the Arizona Diamondbacks will host the 2011 All-Star Game,” Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters at a press conference. “We are thrilled that baseball fans of the great state of Arizona will have the opportunity to see our game’s finest players assemble at Chase Field for the Midsummer Classic. I thank Ken Kendrick, Derrick Hall and the entire D-backs organization for their efforts in making this happen.”
This event would be Arizona’s first MLB All-Star Game and came during a period when it decided home-field advantage for the World Series. Phoenix would be the first first-time host of the All-Star Game since the Colorado Rockies were awarded one in Denver in 1998.
“This is an exciting day for the Arizona Diamondbacks,” Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said at the time. “This franchise, its great fans and wonderful state deserve the honor and recognition. We pride ourselves in being the most fan-friendly team in sports and for providing a wholesome and memorable game experience, and now the entire world will have the opportunity to witness it from this grand stage.
“We thank the Commissioner and all of Major League Baseball for the selection, and for allowing us to showcase our beautiful ballpark, our welcoming city and our first-class fans.”
The 2011 All-Star Game would also introduce new regulations to the Midsummer Classic as Chase Field would become the first National League ballpark to have a designated hitter.
Not only that, but there would be a record-breaking 84 players named to the teams’ rosters due to injuries and rule enforcements. This surpassed the previous record of 82 players named to the 2010 All-Star Game rosters in Anaheim.
The American League roster was particularly plagued with injuries to their pitching rotation with six of the league’s top pitchers unavailable for the game. In fact, the nine pitchers who participated in the 2011 All-Star Game were making their first All-Star appearance.
However, the biggest topic at-hand didn’t have to do with what was set to happen on the field with baseball’s biggest stars. It had to do with the SB1070 anti-illegal immigration bill that had been passed by the Arizona legislature in 2010, almost a year after the initial announcement of the 2011 All-Star Game being awarded to Phoenix.
Despite criticism, Allan “Bud” Selig announced on May 13, 2010, that the game would remain at Chase Field as planned.
With 47,994 fans on hand, the National League defeated the American League, 5-1 in the 2011 game. Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers, who hit a three-run home run, was named MVP.