Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says the National League and American League will bat last in alternating years in the All-Star Game, regardless of where it's played.
Manfred disclosed the plan Friday when Miami was awarded the 2017 All-Star Game. The game will be played in an NL city three years in a row, beginning this summer in Cincinnati.
The American League will be the home team, wear white uniforms and bat last in 2016 in San Diego, Manfred said.
"We will alternate years in terms of who bats last," Manfred said. "We will be making that change going forward.
"We have made a concerted effort to reward the most deserving cities that present the best bids, and that's why Miami got this game. It happens that in recent history we have received great bids from National League clubs who have ballparks who have never hosted an All-Star Game. That's why we made the decision we made.
"I have tremendous respect for the long tradition of alternating between American League and National League cities, but now that we use the designated hitter in all the All-Star Games, there's really no competitive reason why we strictly have to follow that rule."
Manfred replaced Bud Selig as commissioner three weeks ago. Going forward, Manfred plans to encourage multiple cities to bid for the All-Star Game each year.
"It's important to the sport that we pick cities for the All-Star Game that are really excited to have us," he said.
Four current ballparks have yet to be assigned an All-Star Game – the homes of the Yankees, Phillies, Nationals and Rays. The Braves plan to move into a new ballpark in 2017. The Toronto Blue Jays have also said they're interesting in holding the event.
Manfred addressed several other subjects at a news conference:
Regarding Alex Rodriguez's return to the Yankees after a season-long suspension for violations of the drug program and baseball's labour contract:
"I'm very proud of the drug program that we have negotiated. One of the important aspects of that program is that there are very, very severe penalties. Mr. Rodriguez was out for an entire season as a result of his involvement.
"The flip side of those penalties is that once a player has served out his time, baseball has to make every effort to allow him to resume his career. I have had a number of conversations and a meeting with Mr. Rodriguez in an effort to help him be in the best possible position to resume his career."
Regarding Pete Rose's lifetime ban from baseball, which has prevented him from appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot:
"I'm sure there's going to come a point in time when I'm going to have to make a decision with respect to Mr. Rose. It would be inappropriate for me today to say anything about the substance other than that."
Regarding use of a pitch clock to speed up games:
"I'm positive about the experiment in the Arizona Fall League, positive enough we're going to use it in Double-A and Triple-A this year. It's too early to make a prediction as to whether it will become a factor in the big leagues. Pace of game is an issue for us. We're working hard with the players' association right now. We'll have some changes that will be applicable this year, but it will be an ongoing topic."
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