The commissioner praised the organization, calling it one of the game's model franchises.
Standing in 90-degree sunshine Wednesday on Target Field's right field plaza , Commissioner Bud Selig acknowledged that it really wasn't a tough decision awarding the Twins the 2014 All-Star Game.
The only wrinkle in the Twins' four-year-long quest to land the event came when the Ricketts family bought the Cubs in 2009 and requested the 2014 All-Star Game as a tie in with the 100th anniversary season at Wrigley Field.
But with the Mets playing host in 2013, that would have meant back-to-back All-Star Games in National League ballparks. It also would have forced the Twins to wait even longer.
"Given the history, given what's happened here with the ballpark, everything else, it was really pretty easy," Selig said. "I just don't like to do this [formal announcement] too soon, but I knew a long time ago where the 2014 All-Star Game was [heading]. It's coming here because it's the right thing to do, and this is the right place to be."
Surrounded by former All-Stars, including Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Paul Molitor and Bert Blyleven, Selig heaped praise on the Twins, especially in their dedication to getting Target Field built.
"This is special to me because of my close professional relationship with [late Twins owner] Carl Pohlad, who is really -- as history will someday understand -- one of the great owners in American sports, in my generation and in baseball," Selig said.
"It's become one of our game's model franchises," the commissioner added. "And as I said to Paul Molitor, Target Field is just spectacular. Every time I'm here, I just can't tell you how impressive this is."
Selig has been making similar remarks about the Twins for years, but this time, his words came with the team holding the American League's worst record for a second year in a row.
"We're all humbled by the commissioner's comments," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "Our fans have been as passionate and loyal as any fans in baseball. And for what they've put up with on the field the last two years, they deserve an All-Star Game -- and a lot more."
Equally caught up in the moment, Twins CEO Jim Pohlad said, "I suppose we could hope for a double in 2014, and have not only the All-Star Game, but the World Series."
As far-fetched as that sounds now, the Twins pulled off that double in 1965, playing host to their first All-Star Game at Metropolitan Stadium before losing to the Dodgers in the World Series. The Twins also were hosts of the 1985 All-Star Game at the Metrodome, during a ho-hum 77-85 season.
"When you had the games here before, it was a one-day event," Selig said. "This is really a six-day event with Fan Fest and everything else that's going on. The game itself is really the centerpiece."
At this year's All-Star Game in Kansas City, Kauffman Stadium was sold out for three consecutive days. Sunday features the Futures Game and celebrity softball game. Monday brings the Home Run Derby, and the All-Star Game is played Tuesday.
"I would expect that for the most part, tickets will be sold in strips, as they were in Kansas City," St. Peter said. "I don't know how long that has been the practice. It's set by Major League Baseball, not set by the Twins."
St. Peter said Twins season-ticket holders will have priority for buying the 2014 All-Star strips, based on the volume and price of their ticket package.
"There will be some tickets available to the general public," St. Peter said. "How many will be dictated by how many tickets Major League Baseball requires, combined with what our season ticket base is at that time."
That base is shrinking, but the Twins hope this All-Star announcement helps bolster sales.
|Cincinnati - A. Simon||1:20 PM|
|Chicago Cubs - J. Samardzija|
|St. Louis - M. Wacha||6:05 PM|
|Washington - G. Gonzalez|
|Milwaukee - K. Lohse||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - C. Morton|
|Toronto - D. Hutchison||6:05 PM|
|Cleveland - J. Masterson|
|LA Angels - J. Weaver||6:08 PM|
|Detroit - D. Smyly|
|Atlanta - A. Harang||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - J. Niese|
|Baltimore - C. Tillman||6:10 PM|
|Boston - J. Lackey|
|NY Yankees - H. Kuroda||6:10 PM|
|Tampa Bay - E. Bedard|
|Seattle - C. Young||6:10 PM|
|Miami - N. Eovaldi|
|Chicago WSox - F. Paulino||7:05 PM|
|Texas - M. Perez|
|Minnesota - R. Nolasco||7:10 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Vargas|
|Philadelphia - J. Pettibone||7:40 PM|
|Colorado - T. Chatwood|
|Houston - J. Cosart||9:05 PM|
|Oakland - S. Gray|
|San Francisco - M. Cain||9:10 PM|
|San Diego - T. Ross|
|Arizona - W. Miley||9:10 PM|
|Los Angeles - Z. Greinke|