City that never sleeps bustling with All-Star events
From FanFest to Derby, exciting weekend is prelude to Midsummer Classic
NEW YORK -- Millions of baseball fans around the world will turn their attention to Citi Field on Tuesday night, when the biggest names in the game will appear at the 2013 All-Star Game, competing for pride and home-field advantage for their league in the World Series.
But that's only the culmination of a five-day celebration of baseball that includes the T-Mobile FanFest, SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game and the Chevrolet Home Run Derby. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of all the festivities.
The FanFest, which runs through Tuesday, gets bigger and better each season. This year the Jacob K. Javits Center has been transformed into the world's largest baseball theme park, with interactive exhibits, clinics, free autographs, more than 115 Hall of Fame artifacts, memorabilia, Q&A's and appearances by an impressive lineup of Hall of Famers and former players who are identified with the New York Mets, the host team for this year's extravaganza.
The Hall of Famers expected to participate were Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda, Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, Ferguson Jenkins, Juan Marichal, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry and Ozzie Smith. They were to be joined by a number of the 1969 Miracle Mets, including Ed Charles, Bud Harrelson, Cleon Jones and Ed Kranepool as well as Dwight Gooden, Howard Johnson, Darryl Strawberry, Tim Teufel and Mookie Wilson from the '86 World Series championship club.
Sunday's Futures Game, which pits the stars of tomorrow from the United States against those representing the World, has become a fixture since its inception at Boston's Fenway Park in 1999. This year's edition will feature 13 former first-round Draft picks, seven players picked in Compensation Round A and four second-round picks. The World Team features players from 10 countries and territories outside the United States, led by 12 from the Dominican Republic.
The 15th annual Futures Game takes place at 2 p.m. ET on All-Star Sunday and can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World Team dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.
Among the current stars who appeared in previous Futures Games are David Wright, Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder and Joey Votto.
The United States leads the all-time series, eight games to six.
That will be followed immediately by the Taco Bell Legends & Celebrities Softball Game. Comedian Chris Rock, film and TV star Kevin James, singer and actress Ashanti, TV star George Lopez, Miss America Mallory Hagan and more will join Hall of Famers and Mets legends. All-Star catcher Mike Piazza and Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson will be among the former standouts who are scheduled to participate along with Frank Thomas, Fred Lynn, Bernie Williams and John Franco.
The action continues on Monday for Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, with some of baseball's best slugger showcasing their power in the Home Run Derby, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
As a warmup, international music sensation Pitbull will conduct a special on-field music performance, presented by Budweiser.
Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder will be vying for his third individual title after winning last year at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium and in 2009 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. He'll be joined on the American League squad by Major League home run leader Chris Davis of the Orioles, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
The National League team will consist of Mets third baseman David Wright, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez and Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer. The contest will continue to follow the format first introduced in 2011, featuring team competition between the American and National Leagues. Last year the AL won, 61-21.
Fans can download the official MLB.com Home Run Derby Game, featuring 24 sluggers from the 2010-12 Home Run Derby events. Connect and challenge gamers on the worldwide leaderboards. Available for free on the Apple App Store.
The Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m.
All of that leads up to the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night, with the first pitch estimated for 8:15 p.m. American Idol winner Candice Glover will perform the national anthem and two-time Grammy Award winner Marc Anthony will sing God Bless America during the seventh inning.
The final phase of All-Star Game experience will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.