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Tigers awarded 2005 All-Star game

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DETROIT (AP) _ The All-Star game will return to Detroit in 2005, for the first time in more than 30 years.

``It's been a long time,'' commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday during a news conference at Comerica Park. ``It's really been too long.''

The announcement did not come as a surprise because Selig said last year that the Tigers were ``a prime candidate'' to host the game, which last happened in 1971 at Tiger Stadium. Also, the All-Star game often gets assigned to recently opened ballparks and Comerica Park opened in 2000.

``There was never a doubt in my mind that Detroit was going to be the home of the 2005 All-Star game,'' Selig said. ``This was the one that was so obvious. I finally decided we were going to do this.''

The All-Star game is the latest in a series of high-profile sporting events awarded to the area in recent years.

The 2006 Super Bowl will be played at Ford Field, next to Comerica Park, about six months after the All-Star game.

``We're delivering a 1-2 punch at the right time,'' Tigers owner Mike Ilitch said.

The 2004 Ryder Cup will be held at Oakland Hills in suburban Detroit. The 2009 NCAA Final Four also will be played at Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions.

The 2004 All-Star game will be in Houston.

In addition to the 1971 All-Star game _ memorable because Reggie Jackson homered off the light tower at Tiger Stadium _ Detroit hosted the 1941 and 1951 All-Star games.

All major league teams must have one All-Star representative each season, and the Tigers have had only one in each of the past nine years.

Thursday's announcement has been about the only positive source of news for the Tigers this year.

Detroit, which easily has the worst record in baseball this season, is on pace to threaten the modern major league record of 120 losses set by the 1962 New York Mets. Even if the Tigers won all of their remaining games, they would still have a losing record for a 10th season in a row.

Even though Comerica Park is quiet with sparse crowds during most games, the Motor City proved that it is still a baseball town in June when a record crowd of 44,095 watched Roger Clemens fail to win his 300th game.

Fans filled almost every spot in Comerica Park _ and beyond. Some took in the game from through the iron fence on Adams Street beyond the outfield wall and others gathered on the upper deck of a parking garage to see Clemens pitch.
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