CINCINNATI - As Bud Selig stood behind the microphone for the second time on Wednesday to announce Cincinnati would host the 2015 All-Star Game during a press conference, he could not help but make a joke.
"You know in baseball you try to keep secrets, but you know it's impossible to keep secrets," said the commissioner of Major League Baseball. "I was hoping today, this would be the one time we'd keep a secret."
Days before Selig came to Cincinnati, speculation surrounded the reason for his visit. The first time Selig approached the microphone, he announced a $1.5 million donation to construct an Urban Baseball Academy at Roselawn Park in Cincinnati, a facility to teach baseball, vocational and educational skills to urban and underprivileged children.
The second time to the podium, as expected, Selig announced that Cincinnati, and the Reds, would host its first All-Star game since 1988. Cincinnati hosted the game in 1938, 1953, and 1977 as well.
This will also be the first time the Mid-Summer Classic will be at Great American Ball Park.
"You won't recognize the event if you saw it in 1988," Selig said. "The scale of our activities are stunning."
All-Star activities span over six days, offering many family-friendly activities, such as Fan Fest, Selig said. Additionally, WCPO Digital business reporter Dan Monk took a look at the potential economic impact of hosting the six-day event, sourcing experts that say it could be upwards of $80 million. Monk's report can be read at http://ow.ly/h4tyW .
"I believe the 2015 All-Star Game will be a really profound way to celebrate major league baseball's oldest franchise, the Cincinnati Reds," Selig added.
During the press conference, Mayor Mark Mallory agreed with Selig's sentiment about the city hosting the All-Star Game.
"Baseball is a part of the fabric in this city," Mallory said.
Mallory related how he and the city have pushed for the All-Star Game since 2003.
Mallory also joked about his entry in Reds baseball history with his 2007 Reds Opening Day pitch that made headlines. Mallory related how Reds' owner Bob Castellini consoled Mallory by telling him people would forget.
"Nice try, Bob," Mallory deadpanned to laughs.
For himself, the Reds owner said he could not be happier with the selection of Cincinnati for the 2015 All-Star Game.
"You've picked a sweet spot of a location for 2015," Castellini said to Selig. "And just like the fans who will select the best in the 2015 All-Star Game, you've selected the best place to highlight the best baseball has to offer."
Castellini also thanked Major League Baseball for its generosity when it came to donating $1.5 million for the construction of the facility that will house the Urban Youth Academy to reach out to the city's youth.
"I've often said baseball is a social institution with enormous social responsibilities," Selig said when announcing funding for the academy.
And when asked about the difficulty of the decision to allow Cincinnati to host the 2015 All-Star Game, Selig said that decision was easy.
"The All-Star Game is a celebration of our sport, most importantly it is a celebration of the great history of our sport," the commissioner said. "What better place to come to celebrate the history of baseball than Cincinnati."
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