Why was the National League the visiting team in last week's All-Star Game?
Several people asked about this.
The game was played at Petco Park in San Diego, home of the National League's Padres. Typically, the home team is the host of the game.
However, the confusion stems from an uneven distribution of All-Star Game hosting duties. This year's game was the second of four consecutive All-Star Games in NL parks. Last year's game was at Great American Park in Cincinnati, next year's game is at Marlins Park in Miami and the 2018 game is at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Rather than let the NL have the advantage of being the home team in each year and have an edge on getting home field in the World Series, MLB decided to alternate the home league in this stretch. The AL again will be the home team in an NL park when Washington plays host.
The alternating home field tradition has been broken several times.
The American League's Detroit Tigers hosted the game in 1951 as part of the city's 250th birthday after the AL had hosted the prior season. This was corrected by the NL hosting the next two years in Philadelphia and Cincinnati.
After the AL hosted in Baltimore in 1958, the two-game format began in 1959, both games hosted by the NL. The AL hosted twice in 1960. The leagues then split hosting duties in 1961: the NL the first game, the AL the second. The AL hosted the first game in 1962, with the NL hosting the second.
The one-game format returned in 1963, with the AL picking up hosting duties.
The National League's San Francisco Giants hosted the All-Star Game in 2007 after the Pittsburgh Pirates had hosted in 2006. That allowed the 2008 game to be held at the original Yankee Stadium to historically mark its final season.
Why was the San Diego Chicken not part of the All-Star Game festivities?
The San Diego Chicken is in the discussion for most famous mascot in sports history. The character was created in 1974 as a mascot for KGB, a rock radio station in San Diego. Ted Giannoulas wore the costume for several years.
A dispute over ownership rights eventually developed, and Giannoulas won a court battle against the station, allowing him to portray the character. However, it was simply known as the Chicken thereafter and dropped the "San Diego." He re-emerged at the "Grand Hatching" before a Houston-San Diego game on June 29, 1979.
Giannoulas spread his proverbial wings, taking his act from San Diego and going worldwide. He claims on his website, thefamouschicken.com, that he has appeared at more than 8,500 games in all 50 states, plus eight countries and four continents.
In his prime, Giannoulas performed more than 200 dates annually. Now, at age 63, his performing schedule this year is limited to just 11 dates -- mostly at minor league parks, including Louisville, Des Moines, Iowa, Wichita, Kan., and Dayton, Ohio. However, he told ESPN last year that he still makes money "in the six-figure range."
No photos of Giannoulas exist. He declines to be photographed out of costume.
Asked about his future, Giannoulas told ESPN he takes it "year to year," but retirement isn't imminent by any means.
The home plate umpire in Friday night's Marlins-Cardinals game was hit in the arm by a foul ball and had to leave the game. Is he all right?
Home plate umpire Chad Fairchild left the game after taking a foul ball off his right forearm in the bottom of the first inning. He was injured on Wei-Yin Chen's first pitch to the Cardinals' Matt Holliday.
The game was delayed several minutes, first while Fairchild was being treated at the plate and then while crew chief Jim Joyce changed gear. Joyce moved from first base to the plate, and the crew worked a man short Friday night.
A large welt was developing on Fairchild's forearm as he was escorted by medical staff from the field. However, he returned to umpire second base in Saturday's game and first base for Sunday's game.
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