MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nationals awarded 2018 All-Star Game

Manfred makes announcement before Washington's Opening Day game

Nationals awarded 2018 All-Star Game

WASHINGTON -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Monday that the Nationals have been awarded the 2018 All-Star Game at Nationals Park.

It will be the first All-Star Game to be played in Washington since 1969, when the National League defeated the American League, 9-3, at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. This year's All-Star Game will be played at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, followed by San Diego's Petco Park in 2016 and Marlins Park in Miami in 2017. The 2018 game in Washington will make it four straight Midsummer Classics played in NL ballparks, but the AL will hit last in the 2018 game.

"I am pleased that the Nationals will have the opportunity to host the Midsummer Classic for the first time since Major League Baseball returned to our nation's capital in 2005," Manfred said. "The best sporting event of the summer, which will be held one decade after the opening of Nationals Park, will add a new chapter to the long and distinguished baseball tradition in Washington, D.C."

Principal owner Mark Lerner acknowledged that he was emotional after learning that DC was getting the Midsummer Classic. He wrote at least 20 letters to then-Commissioner Bud Selig about getting the All-Star Game in the nation's capital. Lerner was happiest for his father, managing principal owner Ted Lerner.

"It will be awesome thing for the city, for the franchise," Mark Lerner said. "What could be cooler than holding an All-Star Game in your hometown? It has been a long time. I was at the '62 and '69 games.

"You pinch yourself that it's all happening. It's a long process.It's totally emotional for me because I totally harassed commissioner Selig. I [would come] up to him and he would go, 'I know. The All-Star Game.' I'm very excited for my dad. The man is going to be 90 years old, and I want him to be around to see one in this ballpark."

The Lerner Group was all on hand for the announcement. Lerner said that the family wanted the Midsummer Classic ever since it took over the Nationals in 2006. Lerner learned from Selig last May that Washington was getting the All-Star Game, but MLB had to figure what year it would happen. The Lerners didn't know that '18 was the year until a few months ago.

It helped that the Walter E. Washington convention center was available. FanFest is expected to be held there.

"It was the only year that fit into the schedule. If we didn't get '18, we were in trouble," Lerner said.

Manfred was in Washington Monday to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the ballpark prior to the Nationals' season opener against the Mets at 4:05 p.m. ET.

The All-Star Game was also held in Washington in 1937, '56 and '62. The 2018 game will be the first in Washington to be hosted by a National League club.

Manfred succeeded Selig as Commissioner on Jan. 25, and today marks his first Opening Day in the role.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.