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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
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A Major League Weekend For Baseball Fans

The countdown to Major League Baseball’s (MLB) All-Star game begins officially on Friday, July 12, when the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest opens its doors at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in midtown Manhattan.

MLB’s mid-summer classic will be held on Tuesday evening, July 16, at Citi Field in Flushing, yet there are numerous events being held between July 12 and 15 that will give baseball fans a chance to enjoy an extended All-Star weekend. Before making plans, check which players are headed to New York for the MLB All-Star game. The rosters will be announced on Saturday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m., on Fox.

Billed as the “world’s largest interactive baseball theme park,” the All-Star FanFest at the Javits Center (655 W. 34th St.) starts Friday, July 12, at 9 a.m. It closes on that day at 8 p.m. The FanFest will maintain those hours of operation on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, July 16, its final day, the All-Star FanFest runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily tickets are $35 per adult and $30 for each child aged 12 and under. To see which MLB players will be appearing at FanFest, and signing autographs, go to www.allstargame.com for details.

Brooklyn and Manhattan will be the site of All-Star Game-related events on Saturday, July 13. The All-Star 5K (3.1 miles) & Fun Run (1.5 miles) begin at 8 a.m. in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. The charity runs will raise funds for Sandy Relief, so adults are each being charged $35 to participate, and they’ll pay $30 for each child who joins them. Register online at the New York Road Runners’ website, and do so by day’s end Thursday, July 11.

Central Park’s Great Lawn in Manhattan will be the venue for the Saturday, July 13, All-Star Charity Concert, with Sandy Relief again the beneficiary. Featuring two sets from the New York Philharmonic and its music director, Alan Gilbert, who will be joined by Mariah Carey, the 7:30 p.m. concert is free of charge, with MLB making a $1 million Sandy Relief donation. General admission tickets can be found at www.allstargame.com/concert.

The action turns to Citi Field on Sunday, July 14, with the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game getting underway at 2 p.m., followed by the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game.

The Futures Game traditionally showcases some of MLB’s best prospects from the U.S. and around the world. The All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game will include three retired Met greats — John Franco, Dwight Gooden, and Darryl Strawberry — along with Hall of Famers Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers, and Ozzie Smith. The former major leaguers will play alongside celebrities from the fields of music and television.

Meanwhile, on Monday night, July 15 at Citi Field, David Wright of the Mets and Robinson Cano of the Yankees will serve as captains of the National League and American League squads for the 2013 Chevrolet Home Run Derby. The home run hitting contest will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 8 p.m. The Home Run Derby also will raise funds for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, as well as charities selected by the captains.

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: MFBARRY@optonline.net