Major League Baseball today announced pregame ceremonies for the 86th All-Star Game, as well as the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders and All-Star Sunday. Pregame festivities for the Midsummer Classic will feature the announcement of the winners of MLB's season-long "Franchise Four" campaign, including the on-field participation of the four "Greatest Living Players" and the selections representing the host Cincinnati Reds, as chosen by fans.
"Franchise Four" allowed fans to vote for the most impactful players who best represent the lineage of each Major League franchise and several other significant categories in the sport's history. A month-long period (April 8th-May 8th) of voting at MLB.com/FranchiseFour generated more than 25.5 million votes across 33 categories (the 30 Major League franchises, as well as the Greatest Living Players; the Greatest Negro Leagues Players; and the Greatest Pioneers, covering players whose careers began in 1915 or earlier).
Additionally, Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and actress Ciara will sing the U.S. National Anthem and Leo Welsh will perform the Canadian Anthem as part of the pregame ceremony prior to the All-Star Game. Following the U.S. National Anthem, the U.S. Navy will conduct a flyover featuring four FA-18 Super Hornets from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The aircrafts performing the flyover are from two aviation units: the VFA-213 Blacklions and the VFA-87 War Party. One of the "Greatest Living Players" will throw out the Ceremonial First Pitch. Also part of the All-Star Game, multi-platinum-selling MCA Nashville recording artist Josh Turner will sing "God Bless America." Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on FOX.
Before the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, teenager Marlana VanHoose will sing the U.S. National Anthem and Reds legend and three-time Home Run Derby Champion Ken Griffey Jr. will throw the Ceremonial First Pitch. The Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com, plus ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio in the U.S. as well as ESPN International.
Prior to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 12th the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Brass Ensemble will treat fans to a special rendition of the U.S. National Anthem. Later, The Mistics will perform "God Bless America."
Adding to the festivities, The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) will host nine youth players from Cincinnati-based baseball and softball organizations that have been BTF grant recipients in the past as part of its 2015 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game "BTF Kids Take the Field" event. To celebrate its 16th anniversary, BTF invited children from six organizations to take the field during the pre-game ceremony. The children, who will be joined by the U.S. Team players, were nominated for participation by their youth organization.
Live coverage of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game begins on MLB Network at 3:00 p.m. ET. The All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game will be played after the Futures Game on Sunday and air on ESPN immediately following the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders on Monday, July 13th.
For more information on All-Star Week events fans can visit AllStarGame.com.
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Contact: Jen Zudonyi, MLB Communications, (732) 778-2072, Jennifer.Zudonyi@MLB.com