Major League Baseball, Firestone and the host Mets -- represented by principal owner Fred Wilpon, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and team president Saul Katz -- marked the official start of the All-Star Balloting Program with a news conference on Wednesday morning at City Hall in Manhattan, revealing some much-awaited local details as key initiatives were announced along with the ballot candidates to start the 84th All-Star Game on July 16 at Citi Field.
"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," New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "There will be big league thrills for everyone in the days leading up to the Midsummer Classic."
Off to a good start with the bat, Wright is on pace to contend for a seventh All-Star selection this summer. Either way, he is now ensured of playing a starring role during All-Star Week, in assuming this now-traditional spokesperson role that has gone in the past to such players as Torii Hunter, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Justin Upton.
Former Mets players Edgardo Alfonzo, John Franco and Mookie Wilson also were named MLB All-Star Ambassadors.
"All-Star FanFest is the world's largest baseball fan event, and is a great experience for the whole family," Wright said. "Just like New York City, FanFest has something for everyone, and I am proud to be a part of the home team as we host this exciting event.
"New York knows how to throw a party and this is going to be no exception."
As official spokesperson, Wright will help to generate public awareness for FanFest and make a variety of appearances in support of the event, which is more than 400,000 square feet of baseball fun on 12-16 at the Jacob K. Javits Center. As Ambassadors, Alfonzo, Franco and Wilson will take part in an array of events leading up to and throughout All-Star Week.
All FanFest attractions are free with the price of admission, and the only additional costs are for concessions and memorabilia. Tickets are available at $35 for adults, or $30 for children ages 12 and under (children 2 and under are admitted free), senior citizens or military personnel. Tickets for the event are sold on a timed-entry basis, providing fans the ability to reserve the day and time of their choice.
The Red Carpet parade route details were announced, sharing only the same Midtown Manhattan starting point as the 2008 All-Star Week parade hosted by the Yankees. That one went up Sixth Avenue. This one will start at Bryant Park on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue and proceed East on a roughly 80,000-square-foot red carpet past Grand Central Station and ending at 42nd Street between Second and Third Avenues.
The event is free for fans and begins at 1 p.m. ET on the day of the All-Star Game, so crowds can gather around lunchtime and see all of the 2013 Major League All-Stars and their families as they are carried along in open-air Chevrolet vehicles, usually throwing goodies toward the sidewalks. At the end of the parade route, the on-field personnel will then be transported out to Queens and to the big game on FOX.
The All-Stars will ride in the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado trucks. Jim Leyland and Bruce Bochy, the American League and National League All-Star team managers, respectively, will lead their teams down the carpet in Chevrolet Camaro convertibles. The World Series Trophy crafted by Tiffany & Company will be featured in the parade, symbolic of the World Series home-field advantage going to whichever league wins the All-Star Game.
"There are plenty of ways to have an All-Star experience in the ballpark but we've worked really hard to make sure everyone in New York and these surrounding towns have the opportunity outside the park to have an All-Star experience," said Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president of business. "Everyone who wants a piece of an All-Star memory should be able to get one."
Per recent tradition, MLB and the host All-Star club have lined up a series of community and charitable initiatives and projects leading up to the big game, to ensure a lasting legacy benefiting communities throughout New York and beyond.
This MLB All-Star Summer community effort will support recovery efforts from Sandy, impact the lives of underserved youth and local veterans, support cancer research, highlight the importance of environmental consciousness, and complement the midsummer celebration of Baseball and the Mets.
MLB and the Mets plan to donate more than $4 million, through MLB Charities and the New York Mets Foundation, to MLB All-Star projects in the New York Metropolitan area and to support national charitable initiatives, including Stand Up To Cancer, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Make-A-Wish, among others. The funds will be raised from Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 15.
A significant portion of 2013 MLB All-Star Summer lasting legacy donations will be focused on communities throughout New York to fund a number of worthy projects and causes, including the following: FirstStepNYC, a New York mayoral initiative that draws from Educare, a visionary model of early childhood education; youth field renovations; St. Albans Community Living Center in Jamaica, Queens, with a focus on welcomebackveterans.com; a construction project at the South Queens Boys & Girls Club in Richmond Hill; City Harvest, to support its fleet of refrigerated trucks that were damaged by Sandy and to helping feed those in need; and Wheelchair Sports Federation, which will have 25 sports wheelchairs donated by MLB and the Mets.
All-Star Week includes Taco Bell All-Star Sunday (July 14) featuring the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game; All-Star Workout Day (July 15) featuring the Home Run Derby; and the 84th All-Star Game (July 16). Visit MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
"With a full roster of events, this is going to be something really wonderful for New York," Bloomberg said. "There'll be activities for fans of all ages."
The ballot for both leagues was revealed at the news conference, thus opening the largest All-Star balloting program in sports. Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until 11:59 p.m. ET on July 4.
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.