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In Weekly Radio Address, Mayor Gray Calls on Major League Baseball to Bring All-Star Game to the District in 2017

Sunday, July 21, 2013

In Weekly Radio Address, Mayor Gray Calls on Major League Baseball to Bring All-Star Game to the District in 2017

Mayor says District is ready to showcase city’s changes since last All-Star game in 1969

(Washington, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray used his weekly radio address this week to call on Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to bring the 2017 MLB All-Star Game to Nationals Park. The Mayor noted that the District has not hosted a Midsummer Classic game since 1969, and that the city, the Capitol Riverfront area surrounding the ballpark and the Nationals themselves are more than ready for the spotlight of the nation’s pastime.

The broadcast can be heard on All News 99.1-FM WNEW radio beginning at 10:05 am on Sunday, July 21. The text of the address is below:

 

Remarks of Mayor Vincent C. Gray

Weekly Radio Address

All News 99.1-FM WNEW

Sunday, July 21, 2013

 

Hello, WNEW listeners! I’m Vincent C. Gray, mayor of the District of Columbia. Just last week, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game took place at the New York Mets’ Citi Field. It was the second time in five years that New York has hosted the Midsummer Classic, with the old Yankee Stadium hosting it in 2008.

Meanwhile, guess how long it’s been since the District of Columbia hosted professional baseball’s premier midseason event? It’s been 44 years! In 1969, RFK Stadium played host to the All-Star Game. Just two years later, in 1971, the Washington Senators would play their last game in our city, leaving us without a baseball team to call our own until the Nationals came to town from Montreal in 2005.

It’s time for the All-Star Game for the Nation’s Pastime to return to the Nation’s Capital.

Minnesota’s Target Field will host next season’s All-Star Game. And Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park will host the 2015 game. Since Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig generally alternates the All-Star Game between a National League stadium and an American League one, that means we likely won’t have an opportunity to play host until 2017. We’re making a case to Commissioner Selig that the District is unquestionably ready to serve as the venue for that game.

The case practically makes itself. In 2008, when Nationals Park opened, there was very little in the way of businesses around the stadium. But, in the last couple of years, residential, retail and business development in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood has taken off like a rocket. The ballpark area has thousands of new residents – with more apartments, condominiums and townhomes opening all the time. There are several new options for food and drink in the area that have opened just this season, including the Gordon Biersch Brewery and the Park Tavern in the beautiful new Canal Park. Soon The Boilermaker Shops will open just around the corner from the stadium, with numerous opportunities for food and entertainment. And we have excellent new infrastructure and recreation options in the neighborhood, including The Yards Park, Diamond Teague Park, DC Circulator service, Capital Bikeshare stations and, of course, the Navy Yard/Ballpark Metro station.

Without question, the neighborhood around Nationals Park is arriving as a true mixed-use neighborhood for living, working, and playing.  With plenty more development in the pipeline, Capitol Riverfront will be absolutely brimming with life and commerce by 2017. It will be the perfect place to host the All-Star Game and showcase our great city!

The District of Columbia, after all, has proven that we’re a true major-league town since 1969.

We played host last fall to our first baseball playoff games since 1933 – and they went off without a hitch. Every week, our city hosts tens of thousands of tourists and convention-goers safely and professionally. For instance, just last week, we hosted 50,000 ladies for the Delta Sigma Theta sorority’s centennial celebration. I spoke to that group, and their members raved about what a great time they were having in Washington. We have an ever-growing number of rooms in some of the finest hotels in the country. And we have multiple forms of efficient and inexpensive public transportation – including the return of streetcar service to the District by the end of this year.

It’s time for the District of Columbia to play host to the All-Star Game again. So, Commissioner Selig, let’s “play ball” by bringing the 2017 All-Star Game to our Nation’s Capital. That would be a home run!

Thank you for listening. I’m Vincent C. Gray, Mayor of the District of Columbia