The venue is chosen by Major League Baseball and traditionally alternates between the two leagues every year. (This tradition will be broken in 2007, when the San Francisco Giants will be the host for the 2007 All-Star Game. Pittsburgh Pirates will host the 2006 event.) The "home team" is the league in which the host franchise plays its games. The criteria for choosing the venue are subjective. For the most part, cities with new parks and cities who have not hosted the game in a long time tend to get the nod. In 2005, Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, will host the mid summer classic.
Baseball fans vote on the starting position players for the All-Star Game, with ballots distributed at baseball games before mid-season and, more recently, on the Internet. As of 2004, pitchers and back-up position players are elected by other players, with the teams' managers then deciding how to fill any empty slots which may result from injury or other inability to play. Each major league team is guaranteed to have at least one player selected to participate. Selected players have sometimes declined to take part in the game, citing health concerns or personal matters; as a matter of courtesy, other players have generally been selected to take their place.
Following a highly controversial tie in the 2002 game when both teams ran out of pitchers in the 11th inning, and in response to the increasing complaints of fans that the atmosphere of the games had gradually come to resemble a casual event rather than a competition, Major League Baseball changed the rules to give the All-Star game "meaning" and additional incentive for victory. For the 2003-2004 seasons, the champion of the league that won the All-Star game was to be given home-field advantage for the World Series (as of July 2004, it is not yet clear whether this "experiment" will continue in 2005 and later). Previously, home-field advantage in the World Series alternated between the two leagues each year.
In 1945, with severe wartime travel restrictions in effect, the All-Star Game scheduled to be played at Boston's Fenway Park was canceled.
There were two All-Star Games played each season from 1959 to 1962.
Other All Star Weekend Events
Since 1985, the Home Run Derby, a contest between home run hitters, has been played on the day before the All-Star Game. Also, a celebrity softball game is also held the day before the Home Run Derby. The teams are usually a mixture of former stars from the host team's past plus some celebrities (including Meat Loaf, Garth Brooks and many others). Also, since the late 1990s, the Futures Game has also been held during All Star weekend. The two teams (United States and World) are usually chosen based on prospect status in the minor leagues. Several stars have emerged from this game including Alfonso Soriano and Albert Pujols.