Dodger Stadium to Make More All-Star Game Memories in 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01: General View of stadium at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01: General View of stadium at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Memory can be a tricky thing. The brain can be a pristine computer processor, a dusty treasure chest, or a banged up and disorganized old filing cabinet. It can protect you, keeping your most closely guarded secrets, or it can fool you, creating false memories, combining dreams and weaving together the blanket of childhood. To this day, every time I’m driving south on the 405 and I pass the Hotel Angeleno; I’m transported back to a summer visit to friends of my parents who lived nearby.

My memory tells me it was the fist time I had a bowl of Cheerios, (what an incredible discovery!) I remember playing chutes and ladders with my sister and the daughter of the couple my parents were visiting, and on the television or the radio was the first baseball All-Star Game I can remember, the 1980 contest at Chavez Ravine.

And yet, if you asked me about it last week, I couldn’t tell you very much, if anything, about the game. I knew the “hometown” National League won, I knew a Cincinnati Red took home the MVP award (it was Ken Griffey, Sr.) and I knew that the roster was full of Dodgers. In fact, there were six Dodgers playing in that game, including Dodger legend Steve Garvey who had won the All-Star Game MVP award just two years before.

For years afterward, though, the All-Star Game would take on a special significance for me. I would try to carve out the hours each summer in front of the television watching the game, and for some reason, it would be the one game of all games that I would actually, as Vin Scully always put it, “score from home.” Perhaps it was an excuse to my family why I couldn’t miss a batter, couldn’t miss a play, or it would mess up my chronicle of history.

And what history would be caught in those curling box scores?

I have a vague memory of working on a project for school at my friend’s house (in the summer?) but pausing to watch Fred Lynn smack a grand slam off of Atlee Hammaker in 1983, as the American League finally broke a streak of 11 straight wins by my National League favorites, my only consolation is that Vin Scully had the call and that Hammaker pitched for the Giants.

I remember Dodger legend Fernando Valenzuela, absolutely dazzling the world, striking out five consecutive batters in the 1986 Midsummer classic, tying the record set by Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell in 1934.

I remember Bo Jackson’s cannon shot leading off the bottom of the first inning in 1989, and the shock and awe it seemed to create in the broadcast booth, in the stands, and I imagined in living rooms across the land.

I remember a campground barbecue, straining to hear the call of the game over the portable radio I had brought with me, hoping the antennae could maintain the signal at least long enough for any Dodger at bat. And every year, wondering if a Dodger would win the coveted MVP award again until Mike Piazza finally did after destroying Charles Nagy’s pitch in 1996, and Bob Costas’ Ted Williams reference on the call as Piazza made his way around the bases.

And I remember Cal Ripken’s last All-Star game in 2001 when he capped off his career with a home run on his way to the MVP honors, and a place in the hearts of fans everywhere.

More from Dodgers History

Then came 2002, Miller Park, an 11 inning game, all the players were getting used to please the fans, and the commissioner called the game a tie to prevent injury, and yet something was lost. The game had been losing its competitive edge, changes needed to be made.

Since that time we have witnessed the future of the World Series’ home field advantage decided by the winning team (for a time), and we’ve seen the Futures game. We have seen FanFest celebrations and Celebrity Softball games. We have seen Home Run Derbies go to the Final Four and All-Stars like Justin Turner win the Final Vote.

We have seen the All-Star Game become a week of festivity in the host city coinciding with renovations and overhauls at host stadiums to enhance the fan experience. On Wednesday, when Stan Kasten addressed the crowd during the official announcement awarding the game to the Dodgers and Los Angeles he hinted that changes would be coming at Dodger Stadium as well, what they will be one can only imagine, but my imagination takes me back once more to a simpler time, and in the way only memory can beautifully mix the past, present and future, I hear a forgotten childhood voice calling out to me, the voice of one-time Dodger PA announcer John Ramsey, calling out from a summer day in July of 2020. . .

Next: Enough with the silly Dodger lineups

“Now leading off for the National League All-Stars, and your Los Angeles Dodgers, center fielder, Chris Taylor. . .”