By Shaun Smith

Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Home of the 2012 MLB All Star Game

This year’s MLB All Star Game will be taking place at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, home of the Kansas City Royals.

I didn’t even realize the game was in Kansas City this year until playing an All Star game on the MLB: The Show 12 video game.

I’ve never been a fan of Kauffman Stadium, it’s too wide open and is pretty bland to look at, which made me think of more deserving ballparks in the U.S. that should host an upcoming All Star Game in the future.

5. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (Arlington, TX)

Home to the Texas Rangers, as discernible by the name, Rangers Ballpark last hosted a major league All Star Game back in 1995. I’ve always been a proponent of having All Star games in the stadiums of winning ballparks. The Rangers are arguably one of the best teams in baseball right now so the time is right. The park is structured like an old school stadium with numerous outfield seating and a center field reminiscent of Yankee Stadium. Could you imagine Josh Hamilton returning to the Home Run Derby in Arlington with 48,000 people losing their minds?

4. Target Field (Minneapolis, MN)

Just opened back in 2010, Target Field proves to be one of the most stunning ballparks to watch a game. Seeing as the Twins are currently in what appears to be a rebuilding period, having an All Star game would attract some much needed attendance numbers to the new park. In fact, it would be a prime location for fans of the Home Run Derby. Target Field has more outfield seating than any other ballpark I’ve seen before. Now that doesn’t mean the ball would just fly out of there, you’re going to need real power hitters to crush the ball, but there are few places that could accommodate the Derby better. Target Field is currently in a bidding war with Wrigley Field in Chicago for the 2013 All Star Game so hopefully they come out on top.

3. Nationals Park (Washington, D.C.)

Another relatively new stadium, Nationals Park was opened in 2008 to unfavorably low attendance rates. That probably had something to do with the fact that the Natinals were in last place of the NL East for many years. In the hopes of filling their new stadium, the Natinals successfully marketed their ace pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, and gained larger attendance numbers. Now with the addition of Bryce Harper and the secret ingredient of winning games, the Natinals are capable of drawing people to an All Star Game. Just like Hamilton earlier, the possibility of Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, or Harper starting in some fashion would be huge for a franchise that at one point was ailing. Nationals Park looks to be a hitter ballpark so a Derby would suit it just fine.

2. Fenway Park (Boston, MA)

One of the most famous and the oldest ballpark currently active, Fenway deserves another shot at an All Star Game. The last time an All Star Game was held in Fenway was back in 1999. If anybody remembers that All Star Game then you will know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that the feeling that night was magical. This was where the All Century Team was announced as well as a special appearance by Red Sox great Ted Williams. Of course who can forget those first couple innings that Red Sox SP Pedro Martinez pitched and literally dominated?  Even though the game was held there 13 years ago, Fenway would bring a real special feeling to the All Star Game, similar to the way the 2008 All Star Game felt in the old Yankee Stadium. It’s no secret that my favorite part of the All Star festivities is the Home Run Derby. I remember Griffey and McGwire just pounding the ball out of Fenway in the Derby. All I can say is if you’re a lefty, you have a shot. 302 feet in right field makes it easy for lefties to hit home runs, not to mention the atmosphere alone would sell the game. Fenway is arguably the ballpark with the most character and intrigue. Plus you get the added bonus of having a large Green Monster in left field.

1. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, PA)

Opened since 2004, it’s amazing to me that Citizens Bank Park has never held an All Star Game. It’s an ideal park to have the All Star festivities. Not only is Citizens Bank classified as a hitter’s ballpark, but Philadelphia is a much larger market than most of the All Star venues over the past number of years. I may be a little biased when it comes to naming it the most deserving ballpark but the fact is I’ve been to Citizens Bank Park numerous times and it is easily one of the top five best parks in baseball. The layout is fantastic and you would be hard-pressed to find a bad seat in the house. I’ve been up to the nosebleeds and have had great vision of the field and an unbeatable atmosphere. When the sun sets, Citizens Bank Park voluptuously lights up and becomes an attraction in itself. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I am not a homer. Yes I live 20 minutes from the ballpark but my favorite team is Houston. I have no Philly affiliation whatsoever. The big question is during the Home Run Derby, if a batter hits a homerun does the large Liberty Bell in the outfield react?

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