QUEENS — Batter up!
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Citi Field this summer will feature a powerhouse lineup of events leading up to the Midsummer Classic, including a red-carpet parade, an international exhibition game and the Home Run Derby.
"This year's All-Star Game is going to be a real All-Star week in New York with a full roster of events on and off the field," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement published on MLB.com. "There will be big league thrills for everyone in the days leading up to the Midsummer Classic."
Leading off the four-day festival will be FanFest on July 12, taking place at the Jacob Javits Center, where attendees will be able to try their skills in a slew of interactive events, from base-stealing and batting to pitching and broadcasting.
Tickets cost $35 for adults and $30 for children ages 2 to 12, seniors ages 65 and older, college students and military service members.
"New York knows how to throw a party, and this is going to be no exception," said Mets third baseman and six-time All-Star David Wright, who is serving as the official spokesman for FanFest.
The festivities continue on two days later with the "All-Star Futures Game," featuring a match-up between U.S. minor-league players and prospects from across the world, and the "All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game." Tickets start at $40, but must also be purchased with a ticket to FanFest.
"The All-Star Game's always been special, and I've always enjoyed the festivities that go along with it," Mets first-base coach and former outfielder Mookie Wilson said. "To be a part of it this year, to be an ambassador, to be part of what it's all about, I'm extremely excited about it."
The Home Run Derby takes place on July 15, followed by the All-Star Game the next day. Before the game, there is a parade along an 80,000-square-foot red carpet on 42nd Street from Bryant Park to Second Avenue.
"Baseball is in the blood of New Yorkers," said Wright. "If I had a vote, I'd have the game here every year. New York has the most passionate, the greatest fans. I'd gladly trade all six of those I was in to participate in this year's."
Bloomberg has touted the All-Star Game's supposed economic boons for its host cities, stating that the game will attract close to 176,000 fans and generate $191.5 million in revenue, at a cost that "wouldn't be noticeable."
"It's validation that New York City really has become the sports capital of America," he said.