Yankee Stadium gets all-star game

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NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball will say goodbye to Yankee Stadium by staging the 2008 all-star game there in the final season of the fabled ballpark before it is torn down and replaced by a new venue next door.

The new 51,000-seat stadium is due to open in time for the 2009 season for baseball's marquee franchise, the Yankees.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced the decision on Wednesday that the Yankees had prevailed over a long list of other clubs that wanted the game.

Selig cited the history of Yankee Stadium, which has hosted two popes, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali in addition to a team that has won 26 World Series championships.

"Celebrating unprecedented history was the overriding concern. Given the whole history of the Yankees and all the events that have taken place in Yankee Stadium, (it) was the right thing to do," Selig told a news conference.

The all-star game is a mid-season exhibition pitting the best players from teams in the National League against those in the American League. It has taken on added importance in recent years because the league that wins the game gets home-field advantage for its team in the World Series in October, when the winners of each league play each other for the championship.

Yankee Stadium opened in the Bronx in 1923 to accommodate the team's growing fan base due to the popularity of Babe Ruth, who came to the Yankees from the Boston Red Sox in 1920 as he was revolutionizing the game by swatting home runs as never seen before.

It was dubbed "The House that Ruth Built."
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