Selig sends All-Star Game to KC

Selig: KC to host All-Star Game

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Kansas City is an All-Star city again.

Commissioner Bud Selig announced on Wednesday that a Major League All-Star Game will be held in Kansas City between 2010 and 2014. The awarding of the game is contingent on the passage of a sales tax on April 4 to finance Kauffman Stadium improvements.

An All-Star Game would bring five days of events to Kansas City, which last hosted the Midsummer Classic in 1973.

"I've been talking for some time with Commissioner Selig about our proposed renovation plan for Kauffman Stadium, and he's pretty excited about it," said Royals owner David Glass during a news conference.

"He's really pleased for Kansas City with that project and the fact that he believes we can get it done."

Kauffman Stadium, which opened in 1973, would get a variety of fan-friendly improvements from the passage of Question 1 on the April 4 ballot. These include wider concourses, additional concourses and rest rooms, party rooms, suites, a restaurant and new score/video boards.

"Kauffman Stadium's construction played a key role in the transformation of modern-day ballparks," said Selig in a statement. "With the approval of the proposed renovations, this historic venue will once again be transformed into one of the crown jewels of Major League Baseball."

The infusion of an All-Star Game into the local economy is significant.

"It would be hard to give an exact number," said Glass. "It's $50, $60, $70 million -- somewhere in that range that it would bring in. It's very important economically to a city."

No specific year has been picked for the game, with the decision pending the approval of the financing and the completion of the work.

"Depending on what year it is, with the young players we have coming up in the organization, I would guess there's going to be a few of our guys in that game," said Royals manager Buddy Bell.

Although a "rolling roof" between Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums has been proposed as a second measure to the tax vote, it is not essential to the All-Star selection.

"The roof would be a help but not a requirement," said team president Dan Glass, who noted that Selig long has been a fan of Kauffman Stadium.

"He was receptive from the outset," said Glass. "He has a special place in his heart for Kansas City. It really just took the commitment for the renovation and, once he saw all that, he got very excited about it. And from the facility standpoint, we have to have that in order to carry it off."

The president doubted that Wednesday's announcement would have a significant effect on voters in Jackson County.

"I think it's a plus for them, [but] I don't think it sways the vote," he said.

In addition, the Chiefs, who share the complex, have a commitment from the NFL for a Super Bowl if the renovations are made.

That prompted a good-natured jibe at Bell, who attended the conference.

"The other commitment I'd like is for Buddy to get us into a World Series and have one of those at about the same time," said Glass.

Bell was part of the 1973 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.

"That was my first All-Star Game and the first year of Kauffman Stadium," he said. "The thing I remembered most is that I was lockering next to Brooks Robinson and Thurman Munson. It was an exciting time for me."

Former Royals second baseman Frank White, then a rookie, was a spectator that year.

"I came up in June that year," White recalled, "and that was the first All-Star Game I had an opportunity to be that close to. I can remember, even though it rained a little bit that day, how exciting that game was and how excited the city was."

White added a footnote about his participation in the history of the stadium.

"I might be the only guy who not only played in his hometown stadium but actually worked construction one offseason and helped build it," he said.

David and Dan Glass also attended the 1973 game.

"The thing I remember is that Johnny Bench hit that ball further than I'd ever seen a human being hit a baseball," said David Glass. "I don't know how far he hit it, but it was a shot."

That shot, which helped the National League win, 7-1, was measured at 480 feet -- still the longest in stadium history.

Since those days, the All-Star Game has grown into a major event.

"It's no longer just a game," Glass pointed out. "Actually, it's sort of a weeklong event for the city. They have the Home Run Derby, the Futures Game -- lots of activities go along with it."

It also generates tremendous media coverage. The 2005 game was broadcast to 192 countries and was available in 13 languages. More than 100 million fans watched or listened to the events from Detroit, with more than 1,500 media members providing coverage.

"The All-Star Game has additional significance, too, in that the team that wins gets home-field advantage in the World Series," said Glass. "So it's important."

But to gain that, voters in Jackson County -- home to Kauffman Stadium -- must give a "thumbs up" to financing for renovations.

From the gallery at Wednesday's news conference, a voice of authority spoke up.

"We're going to get the stadium fixed for you," said Buck O'Neil.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.