NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Fans got a free opportunity to see their favorite Major League Baseball All-Stars up-close Tuesday afternoon, but the players were not on the usual baseball diamond.
Instead, at 1 p.m., the All-Stars and Mets legends began walking the red carpet as they traveled across 42nd Street and made their way to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game as part of the ninth annual MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show.
David Wright and several New York Mets legends were riding the Gray Line tour bus decorated in Wright’s honor.
The fans cheered as their favorite players rode by in pick-up trucks, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
“David Wright, ‘Doc’ Gooden, you know just all these All-Stars and people from way back in the day, so it’s been fascinating and a love affair for all these years,” said a Mets fan at the event. “I played the game back in high school so I’m just a kid at heart.”
Those scheduled to make an appearance at the event were:
- Tom Seaver as Grand Marshal
- All members of the 2013 National and American League All-Star Teams
- NL All-Star team manager Bruce Bochy and AL All-Star team manager Jim Leyland
- Mets legends including Al Leiter, Mike Piazza, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry
- 30 PEOPLE Magazine “Tribute for Heroes” winners
- MLB Mascots
- The World Series trophy crafted by Tiffany & Company
“You know, we never get to see the players this close so it’s kind of cool,” said a spectator. “Even if you don’t know what position they play, you can just yell out nice things.”
The trip started at Bryant Park on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, on about 80,000 square feet of red carpet, continued past Grand Central Terminal and ended at 42nd Street and Third Avenue.
The MLB said the event was a chance for the fans to celebrate the Midsummer Classic and see the stars of the game, but former Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz said drivers might encounter traffic delays, WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported.
“It’ll be much like a presidential visit,” Schwartz said. “Every avenue will be stopped.”
Schwartz suggested that travelers avoid taking a taxi, especially in Midtown East.
After the procession, the 84th MLB All-Star game will begin Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Mets ace Matt Harvey will start the All-Star game on his home mound at Citi Field and the Detroit Tigers’ Max Scherzer will open for the American League.
Harvey is the 11th overall pitcher from the host team to start an All-Star game, and the first since Houston’s Roger Clemens did so in 2004.
Mets fans said having Harvey named the NL starter is only icing on the cake for the host ballpark.
“Harvey’s my favorite pitcher. He’s a stud. Great mechanics, throws hard. Always shutting down hitters,” one fan told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
“I think it’s pretty cool. I mean, All-Star Game only comes around once in a while at your stadium and to have a Mets player being a starting pitcher at his home field, that’s got to be a pretty cool feeling,” another fan said.
Tom Seaver and Doc Gooden are the only other Mets to start an All-Star Game.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be taking the 7 train to the All-Star Game Monday evening, and urged all ticket holders to take mass transit out to the ballpark.
The mayor said looking forward to one of his favorite ballpark combinations at the game.
“Beer, as long as you drink it in moderation and don’t drive, which I do not plan to do. To me, this will be a few boxes of popcorn and a few beers,” Bloomberg told reporters including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
The Mets will be providing cups of ice for fans to help them beat the heat.
Bloomberg said the All-Star Game at Citi Field is a huge boon for the city.
“It will bring nearly 200,000 visitors and more than $190 million in revenue to the city and that’s great. People will come here, they’ll go home and say ‘New York is safe, New York is clean, New York is friendly, New York is affordable, New York is exciting.’ All the things that we want to have to keep our tourism business growing,” said Bloomberg.
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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)