Phillies set to host 2026 MLB All-Star Game at Citizens Bank Park

Phillies set to host 2026 MLB All-Star Game at Citizens Bank Park

MLB made official what has long been known: Citizens Bank Park will host the 2026 All-Star Game to commemorate America’s 250th birthday.

A press conference was held at Independence Hall Tuesday afternoon to officially announce it.

"I'm here to make official one of the worst kept secrets in America," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said jokingly. "The 2026 All-Star Game has been awarded to the Philadelphia Phillies and the city of Philadelphia."

The 1976 All-Star Game was also held in Philadelphia to celebrate the bicentennial. In 1996, the All-Star Game came to the Vet. 

Manfred delivered a heartfelt and emotional thank you to Phillies chairman David Montgomery.

There was also a personal component to [the announcement]. In the last 30 years, one of my best friends in baseball has been David Montgomery, the chairman of the Phillies. He's been a mentor, a friend, an adviser and I can say without hesitation, I would not stand here as the commissioner of baseball were it not for David Montgomery.

In those 30 years, Dave never asked me for a favor, for the Phillies or for himself. But almost two years ago, he began asking me whether we could announce a 2026 All-Star Game here in Philadelphia and whether we could announce it really soon. He didn't do that for himself, he didn't even really do it for the Phillies, he did it for the fans here in Philadelphia.

My only regret about today is that David is unable to be here with us today and I hope all of you will join me in wishing David and his family well.

This will be Citizens Bank Park’s first All-Star Game. The Phillies hadn’t really pursued previous All-Star Games during the ballpark’s existence because of the plan to hold it here for another milestone in the nation’s history. 

Philly is also a potential host city for the World Cup in 2026 — which will be more than halfway through the 13 years of Bryce Harper’s contract — so you might want to start setting aside some dates that summer.

Harper was one of the current Phillies on hand. He spoke toward the end of the press conference and finished with: "Of course, let's go Phillies. Ring that bell, baby, let's go!"

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall contributed to this story.

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MLB has contacted Phillies about Bryce Harper's comments on Mike Trout

MLB has contacted Phillies about Bryce Harper's comments on Mike Trout

Updated: 5:31 p.m.

Major League Baseball is aware of Bryce Harper's comments Tuesday about Mike Trout and has reached out to the Phillies.

Clearly, the Angels weren't happy and Harper's going to get a little tutorial on baseball's definition of tampering.

There is no word yet on an official reprimand. It would be determined by commissioner Rob Manfred.

"They talked to me a little bit, not MLB or anything like that," Harper said after homering in a simulated game Wednesday. "When that time comes, when guys are free agents, we'll see what happens.

"If I didn't mean it, I wouldn't have said it."

Harper, at the very end of his interview with Jon Marks and Ike Reese on WIP's Afternoon Show Tuesday, said this about recruiting stars to Philly. He mentioned Trout by name, expanding on the hint he made at his intro Saturday.

"That's one thing about this contract that I'm able to do. Having 13 years in one place, I can help recruit guys to this organization," Harper said.

"For me, I can be able to talk to Trout or whoever it is, big-name free agent thinking about coming to Philly. I can say, 'Hey, this is the place to be. This is where the fans are great, ownership understands it, our manager is awesome.' I can really put that faith in myself and being able to say we're gonna go about it the right way, we're the Philadelphia Phillies and we want whoever wants to come to Philly. If you don't wanna come to Philly, then don't come, don't be a part of it. But if you want to be a part of a winning team, a winning culture, then we're gonna need the best players to do that and I don't think John (Middleton)'s scared to go out and get the best guys that we need to have.

It's respecting Mike Trout in a certain way during the season and letting him play and do the things he needs to do to of course be Mike Trout, but if you don't think I'm gonna call Mike Trout in 2020 to have him come to Philly, you're crazy.

Trout, too, was asked about this Wednesday. 

"Obviously I saw it," Trout told reporters in Arizona. "He’s excited. He’s excited about his team. I have no control what he says."

It was a pretty clear example of tampering, even though Harper was referring to the period after Trout is set for free agency.

There are a few recent examples of players hearing from the league about comments they made about guys on other teams.

Last spring, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge revealed to reporters that during a spring training game, he told Manny Machado that "You'd look pretty good in pinstripes, too."

Judge received a warning from MLB.

In 2016, David Ortiz openly lobbied for the late Jose Fernandez and DH Edwin Encarnacion to be Red Sox.

"I thought he was going to end up playing with me this year," Ortiz told the Boston Herald of Fernandez in the summer of '16. "I mean, you never know. I want him in my starting rotation. I mean, we need a little bit of help and hopefully that happens at some point, who knows?"

"The Red Sox know that they need to reinforce the middle of the lineup," Ortiz later said. "And sorry Blue Jays, but who better than Encarnacion to do that?"

The league reminded Ortiz of its tampering rules but did not fine him.

Harper was walking a fine line here. He's clearly excited about being a Phillie and the potential of luring other superstars to his new home. He probably knew that what he said Tuesday about Trout would earn him a slap on the wrist and also probably didn't care. His message to Trout and the rest of the league was clear. His words had the desired impact, and Harper can now put that on the back-burner while he focuses on 2019.

“Given our rules, players recruiting other players who are still under contract or under reserve to another club is a rule violation,” commissioner Manfred told the Associated Press. “So, obviously not anxious to see that.”

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Source: Phillies finally agree to deal with Bryce Harper

Source: Phillies finally agree to deal with Bryce Harper

After years of speculation and preparation, the Phillies have finally landed their superstar.

It took until the last day of February, but the Phils have agreed to a 13-year deal worth $330 million with 26-year-old Bryce Harper, a source tells NBC Sports Philadelphia Phillies insider Jim Salisbury. 

And here's the kicker:

Harper, like Jake Arrieta and Rhys Hoskins, is a Scott Boras client. There was no question Harper was going to get paid this offseason, the question was just how many hundreds of millions, and which city.

Manny Machado served as the pace car, agreeing on Feb. 19 to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres. At one point in the offseason, it appeared the Phils were prioritizing Machado, but that valuation was too high for their liking. Harper brings more of an entertainment factor than Machado and will be even better for business, which likely factored into the price tag. In some ways, Harper is also a better fit because he adds left-handed power. 

In the days leading up to the Phillies' agreement with Harper, he was connected to the Dodgers, a scary suitor because of their deep pockets, proximity to Harper's Las Vegas home and their ability to contend immediately. But money always talks and the Phillies' offer was the richest.

Even though Harper has hit below .250 in two of the past three seasons, he is one of baseball's biggest offensive difference-makers. In a healthy season, you know you're going to get huge power numbers and more than 100 walks from him. In a year when it all comes together for Harper, he's capable of putting up Barry Bonds-like numbers. See 2015, when he hit .330/.460/.649 with 42 homers.

In Harper, the Phillies are also going to get an elite player who plays with attitude and an edge. This city loves the Aaron Rowand types. Harper is that, just in superstar form. He is a genuine attraction who will increase ticket sales, jersey sales, you name it.

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Machado may be the better all-around player because of his defense and baserunning, but Harper’s OPS is 96 points higher over the last four seasons. In a down year from Harper, you’re still getting a .380 on-base percentage and 30 home runs. In Machado’s most recent down year, 2017, he hit .259 with a .310 OBP.

Adding Harper gives the Phillies such a deeper and more formidable lineup. He will likely bat second or fourth. If forced to guess at this moment, it would be second, with Hoskins in the cleanup spot.

The Phillies love to see pitches and make the opposing pitcher work. Harper does that as well as any player in either league. With Harper, Andrew McCutchen and Hoskins batting after a catalyst like Jean Segura, the top of the Phils’ order will be potent. By turning a bottom-of-the-order catcher in Jorge Alfaro into a top-of-the-order catcher in J.T. Realmuto, the Phils may indeed have the deepest batting order, 1 through 8, in the National League.

This move will obviously increase the Phils’ chances to win the NL East. So far, Phillies over-under win totals out of Vegas have hovered in the low-80s. Landing Harper pushes the Phils closer to the high-80s.

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