Teams and fans vie for their city to host the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The lead-up to the festivities is exciting, and it generates buzz. Except there’s a dark tale rarely, if ever told about the MLB All-Star Game.
Here’s a remarkably creepy tale of teams who fell apart in the regular season after hosting the Midsummer Classic in recent memory.
Detroit Tigers (2005)
Miguel Cabrera was still playing for the Florida Marlins, the Tigers had an unreliable starting rotation, and their lineup was led by veterans on their last leg, such as Ivan Rodriguez, Craig Monroe, and Dmitri Young — although they formed a very productive offense. At the same time, they could’ve been better if Carlos Guillen and Placido Polanco didn’t miss so many games. All in all, the Tigers finished out the Alan Trammell era with a 71-win season.
Pittsburgh Pirates (2006)
Outside of big seasons from Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez, and Ronny Paulino at the plate, there were few, if any happy moments from the 2006 season for the Pirates. Their starting rotation struggled, and they finished 67-95. Even worse, they played in the worst division in baseball that season, as five teams finished with 82, or fewer wins — including the Pirates — and the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League Central with a whopping 83 wins.
San Francisco Giants (2007)
The Giants had some budding young players around the diamond and on their pitching staff, but it only mounted to a 71-win season. It was also Barry Bonds‘ send-off year. To this day, the sport’s all-time home run leader hasn’t punched his ticket to Cooperstown, and it’s possible he never will. Left-hander Barry Zito also recorded the worst ERA of his career (4.53), in what was his debut season with the Giants.
New York Yankees (2008)
It was the final year in “The House That Ruth Built.” It was the last season of now-Hall of Fame right-hander Mike Mussina‘s career. It was supposed to be a special year that included the Yankees hosting the All-Star Game and going on a deep playoff run in the final season of Yankee Stadium. For the first time since 1994, the Yankees missed the playoffs, finishing behind the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox in the American League East.
Los Angeles Angels (2010)
In 2009, the Angles made it to the AL Championship Series. They went into the ensuing season with several high-profile players such as Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Howie Kendrick, Hideki Matsui, Mike Napoli, Jered Weaver, and Ervin Santana. They even made a midseason trade for Dan Haren. The Angels weren’t able to turn a corner in the second half of the season and finished 80-82.
Kansas City Royals (2012)
In 2012, the Royals were boasting about how they had a team in the minor leagues that was eventually going to take over the sport. Side-note: They had not made the playoffs since 1985, so the future was their only positive talking point. Unfortunately for Royals fans, Robinson Cano, who was the captain of the AL Home Run Derby team and winner of the contest in 2011, didn’t select homegrown power hitter Billy Butler to help represent the AL. The Royals also finished the season 72-90.
New York Mets (2013)
The Mets had a nice positional core, and Terry Collins was entertaining, but they offered little hope to their fans, in regards to being a playoff team. They finished the season 74-88, their starting pitching was electric in spurts, and no one in the organization could feel safe. To make matters worse, David Wright began to severely decline the ensuing season, mostly due to injuries — which would plague the rest of his career.
Minnesota Twins (2014)
The AL Central had the Tigers’ fingerprints all over it earlier this decade, and the Twins were a direct culprit. Outside of hosting the star-studded exhibition, there was little for the Twins to be positive about. They finished the season 70-92, which warranted last place in the AL Central, Joe Mauer hit a career-worse .277, and there were few building blocks in place — outside of hoping that Byron Buxton would get called up and prosper.
Cincinnati Reds (2015)
Little was going right for the Reds since they fired manager Dusty Baker, and 2015 exemplified that. They finished the season with just 64 wins, which was the fewest amount of victories they’ve accumulated since 1982. Joey Votto and Todd Frazier were cranking out extra-base hits, but Cincinnati proceeded to trade Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in the offseason and their ace, Johnny Cueto, to the Royals before the MLB trade deadline.
San Diego Padres (2016)
Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte, among others, showed some promise, but the Padres went through another yawning season in 2016. After going all in on several bold transactions the offseason prior, the Padres took several steps back. They finished in last place in the NL West for the first time since 2011 and a long rebuild continued to bleed on. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2006.
Miami Marlins (2017)
The Marlins haven’t made the playoffs since 2003. Sure, they finished in second place in the NL East in 2017, but it was with 77 wins in what was, hands down, the least competitive division in baseball. New owner Derek Jeter and the Marlins decided to undergo an offseason fire sale in the winter, trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon; they also traded J.T. Realmuto this past February.
Washington Nationals (2018)
The Nationals won the NL East in four of the six seasons prior to 2018 and did so in dominating fashion. Then the Atlanta Braves young core emerged, the Philadelphia Phillies improved, and the Nationals were a team knocking on a Wild Card seed throughout 2018, but never kicked down the door. They’re still a talented ballclub playing for the postseason, but the Nationals are no longer the team to beat in their division.
Cleveland Indians (2019)
The Indians have been one of the best teams in baseball over the last month, but they look poised to lose the division for the first time since 2015 to the Twins (56-33). In all likelihood, the road to the postseason goes through the AL Wild Card Game for the Indians. For an organization that has endured a lot of roster turnover and dealt with several injuries, not to mention becoming a punching bag for postseason collapses, do they have what it takes to win a one-game playoff?
A Creepy Tale With No Explanation
Does history prove that the Indians fate is sealed? No. The St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks won their respective divisions when they hosted the All-Star Game in 2009 and 2011.
With that said, in each of the last seven seasons, and 12 of the last 14 seasons, the team that has hosted the Midsummer Classic has missed the playoffs and/or experienced something painful that same year. It’s bizarre. Maybe hosting the MLB All-Star Game isn’t the spectacle it’s framed as?