CINCINNATI (AP) - The Reds started a countdown to a 2015 All-Star game on Wednesday by breaking out the bunting and bursting into a standing ovation.
A few of them also started to dream about playing in it.
Commissioner Bud Selig awarded the midsummer game to Cincinnati on Wednesday, rewarding years of persistence by Reds owner Bob Castellini. The city hasn’t hosted an All-Star game since 1988, when the Reds played at Riverfront Stadium.
“I can’t imagine what’s going to happen, but I think it’s going to be beautiful,” said second baseman Brandon Phillips, a two-time All-Star under contract through 2017.
The Reds lobbied hard for years to get the game.
It’ll be the fifth time that the game is played in Cincinnati, which was the stage for one of the most memorable All-Star moments. Pete Rose bowled over Indians catcher Ray Fosse to win the 1970 game at Riverfront Stadium.
The 1988 game was something of a disappointment. Rain wiped out the home run derby events, and the American League won the game 2-1 a day later with the winning run scoring on a sacrifice fly.
The Reds moved into Great American Ball Park in 2003. Castellini became controlling partner in the ownership group after the 2005 season and was determined to bring the game back to his home city.
It’ll be played in New York this year, followed by Minneapolis in 2014.
Baseball’s oldest professional franchise has enjoyed a renaissance in the last few years. Under Castellini’s leadership, the Reds reached the playoffs twice in the last three seasons, ending a 15-year postseason drought.
The franchise hosted the Civil Rights Game in 2009 and 2010, impressing Major League Baseball with its handling of one of its premier events. Former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., last summer, putting the spotlight back on the franchise.
Now, the All-Star game.
“If we’d been able to bring the Reds along to where they’re a perennial contender _ which we feel we’re on the verge of doing _ that has to be the biggest challenge we’ve had in this ownership,” Castellini said. “Then to have a jewel of having the All-Star game _ we can only surpass that by having the World Series.”
Selig informed Castellini a few months ago that it appeared Cincinnati would get the 2015 game. The Reds brought business and community leaders, along with fans and members of the front office, to the announcement at the ballpark on Wednesday.