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Braves, SunTrust Park to host '21 All-Star Game

@mlbbowman
May 29, 2019

ATLANTA -- Now that the rebuild is complete and the new stadium has proven to be a comfy home, Braves fans have been eagerly looking toward this next decade, which will now feature the opportunity to welcome baseball’s top stars to Atlanta for one of the sport’s jewel events. Hank

ATLANTA -- Now that the rebuild is complete and the new stadium has proven to be a comfy home, Braves fans have been eagerly looking toward this next decade, which will now feature the opportunity to welcome baseball’s top stars to Atlanta for one of the sport’s jewel events.

Hank Aaron and Chipper Jones were among the Braves’ greats in attendance early Wednesday evening, when Commissioner Rob Manfred announced SunTrust Park will serve as the host for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game. This will be the third time Atlanta has hosted the Midsummer Classic.

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"The 2021 Game will be the fifth one for the Braves and the third one here in Atlanta," Commissioner Manfred said. "We've not been here since the year 2000, and it's about time that we're back.

"The Braves' bid was successful for really three reasons: There was great commitment of all of the involved governmental entities. ... Secondly, there's no place in Major League Baseball where there's more buzz around a great young team than there is here in Atlanta. Last, and maybe most important for us, the facility here, including SunTrust Park and the Atlanta Battery, is the best in baseball. Hats off to chairman Terry McGuirk for the development here."

Looking toward the future, there is reason to wonder if Ronald Acuna Jr. may experience the same hometown thrill Aaron felt when he hit a two-run homer while the 1972 All-Star Game was played at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The opportunity could also be afforded to Freddie Freeman, who has heard Jones reminisce about being the only player to homer when Turner Field hosted the event in 2000.

"In 2000, I was one of the lucky few to be able to run out on my home baseball field and represent my team and my league in the All-Star Game," Jones said. "You can't imagine what a proud moment that's going to be for the next group of guys, whether it's Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna, Mike Soroka -- whoever makes the All-Star Game in a couple of years."

Since SunTrust Park and its adjoining mixed-used development (The Battery Atlanta) opened in 2017, Manfred has praised the Braves for creating a blueprint other teams will use in an attempt to provide fans both an optimal in-stadium experience and the opportunity to enjoy numerous dining and entertainment options located just outside the ballpark.

When MLB’s Owners Meetings were held on the Braves’ property in November, Braves chairman Terry McGuirk gained more confidence that he’d realize his goal to bring another All-Star Game to Atlanta.

“What’s so really neat about it is we had sugar plums dancing in our heads when we first started this project,” McGuirk said. “We were thinking, ‘If we build it, will they come?’ When we got all the other owners over here -- most had never been here -- when they saw this place, they said, ‘Oh, my gosh.”

The All-Star Game could generate close to $100 million in revenue for the city of Atlanta, which has become a destination spot for the sports world’s top events. The city hosted the Super Bowl this past February and college football’s national championship game in 2018. The 2020 NCAA men’s basketball Final Four will be played at the recently constructed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which also served as the site for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game.

"Thank you, Commissioner, for recognizing Atlanta and this project [SunTrust Park and the Battery] for its excellence by staging one of baseball's crown jewels here in 2021," McGuirk said. "I think I'm most proud of how this event will show how unified Metro Atlanta really is."

John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Andruw Jones, Phil Niekro, Terry Pendleton, Brian Jordan, Dan Uggla and Gary Matthews were among the other former Braves All-Stars present for Wednesday’s announcement. They will join Jones and Aaron in serving as ambassadors for the 2021 All-Star Game.

“I get a chance to travel and see all the venues,” Smoltz said. “This is as good as it gets.”

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.