Great news for people who own bars and baseball teams in the greater Cincinnati area as, according to a report from Reds beat writer John Fay, the 2015 All Star game will take place in beautiful downtown Cincinnati.

The Reds play host to All Star festivities for the first time since 1988, and the first time in their new home, the Great American Ball Park. Reds ownership fought long and hard to earn the right to host the Midsummer Classic. Fay reports landing the All Star game was a goal of Team CEO Bob Castellini since his ownership group took over in 2006. Fay notes Castellini insisted on Opening Day last year that the ASG was coming to Cincy, he just didn’t say when.

As always, there is much more to this story than the league generously picking the fresh-faced Reds out of the crowd for their day in the sun. Plenty of politicking goes in to getting the league to park its shop in your town for a week in July. Building a new baseball facility is a great way to get the attention of the powers that be, though the Reds opened GABP in 2003. A lifetime ago compared to this year’s host CitiField and the site of next year’s event, Target Field in Minnesota.

The Marlins and Nationals were thought to be in the running for the 2015 game and, as noted above, the Reds were reportedly offered the 2019 game. Dogged handshaking and baby kissing by the current Reds regime — in addition to showing a willingness to reinvest in the on-field product — could well have tipped the scales in their favor.

Concerns about the lack of “party infrastructure” around the ballpark the legitmate, as the All Star Game is nothing if not a party thrown in honor of corporate sponsors and all the taxable cash that makes the league go ’round. The debacle better known as Marlins Park sorely lacks in nearly every way when it comes to life around the ballpark, not to mention the Marlins current status as league pariah and whipping boy in the eyes of the league.

As always, these wheelings and dealings go down away from the prying eyes of fans and media. The league will show up Wednesday, announce they’re awarding the game to Cincinnati, mention the MLB Urban Youth Academy also going up in Cincinnati and then move on. Then, two years from July, everyone will show up in The Nati, sweat off 10 pounds and watch home run balls fly into the Ohio River.

The only concern for Reds fans is getting Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce into the starting lineup. Though, that would still be their mission if they didn’t get the game until 2019, as well. How many first basemen does the NL All Star team need, anyway?

And the rest

The Houston Astros signed Erik Bedard to a minor-league contract. What does GM Jeffery Luhnow think about the deal? Plenty. [Tag's Lines]

Jeff Sullivan does Scott Boras’ work for him, creating a “sign Bourn!” campaign in its own right. [Sullivowned]

Very interesting stuff on plate discipline [DRays Bay]

Toronto Blue Jays fans quickly learn about supply and demand [DJF]

Giancarlo Stanton speaks. You should listen [L.A. Times]

Handing out Winter Report Cards, Jay Jaffe is not impressed with the Royals attempts to skip to the answer without showing their work. [SI's Hit and Run]

Cool chat with BBWAA head Susan Slusser, conducted by your boy Ian Miller! [BP (free!)]

What did YOU do with YOUR vacation time this year?