When I was a kid, I always said, “if the All Star Game is ever at Shea Stadium, I’ll be there!”
Today, Shea is long-gone, I live in Thailand and much of my life is spent traveling.
However, fate and luck conspired to bring me home to New York City just in time for the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field.
Perhaps it’s the united rainbow of uniforms playing together on one field.
Or the nostalgia that comes from a eight decades of tradition.
For me, the All Star Game always has been a season highlight; even when it ended in a tie. I love the camaraderie between the players and seeing all of my favorite names in one place.
Plus, the game is always an excuse to get together with good friends for a night of baseball talk.
In the months leading up to the 2013 All Star Game, I had accepted the fact that I would not be able to attend.
In all likelihood, I would be filming a National Geographic Channel TV show in South Korea.
Otherwise, I might be driving across America or traveling somewhere else abroad.
It seemed fate and luck wanted me in Queens
When filming ended in Korea, I had a return flight to NYC and only three days before I had to leave again.
One of those three days happened to be All Star Tuesday.
The universe had decided for me; there was no way I wouldn’t be at the game!
For many, the most exciting part of a baseball All Star Game is the pregame lineup announcement.
Citi Field went bananas cheering for hometown favorites, including David Wright and Matt Harvey, and former Mets players, including Carlos Beltran and Carlos Gomez.
However, when players from our hated rivals were announced – ie the Braves, Phillies, Nationals and Yankees – cheers turned to boos and “New Shea” really erupted.
Who needs a seat anyway?!
Thanks to the design of modern baseball stadiums, you can watch a game from field level with standing room tickets.
Sure, you’re constantly jockeying to get a good view and if you leave your spot it’s gone forever. But considering how much actual seats were for the All Star Game, I figured this was my best option.
Plus, I planned on spending most of the game wandering around and taking photographs.
I have never seen so many people with standing room tickets in my life. Finding a spot with a good view was practically impossible: even for a 6’3″ guy like me.
After spending the first three innings running up and down the upper deck taking photos, I finally found a few empty seats in the very last row of right field.
This spot was perfect and, in general, is my favorite place in any baseball stadium to take a fisheye photograph.
While squinting to see the ant-sized baseball players from my sky-high perch, I checked Facebook and saw that Katie, a dear childhood friend of mine, also was at the All Star Game.
Soon after, I was sitting 12 rows behind first base with her entire family, catching up and actually enjoying the action on the field.
It’s amazing how OK I was with my upper deck view until I got a taste of the good life down below.
As team Captain of the hometown New York Mets, the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field doubled as the David Wright show.
He was the only player to stay in the game for 7 innings and even managed to get one of the National League’s 3 measly hits.
Citi Field has dozens of display screens located around the stadium. This what a few of them looked like during the 2013 Baseball All Star Game
One of the best American singalong songs of all time, Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline is often played during the 8th inning of Mets Games.
The 2013 MLB All Star Game was no different; except, Neil Diamond himself was on-hand to belt out his classic tune.
Baseball is very strange. On one hand, I’m anti-Mariano Rivera. He’s spent his career shutting down the Mets – and everyone else – using one unhittable pitch.
Yet, I also love and respect Rivera as one of the greatest pitchers of all time and as a true class act.
That’s why it was so special when Mariano Rivera entered the 8th inning of the 2013 MLB All Star Game and was honored with a standing ovation by players, staff and fans alike.
Exit Light. Enter Night. Take My Hand…
…Off to Never Never Land!
After Neil Diamond wrapped up Sweet Caroline, the loudspeakers belted out that all-too familiar refrain.
It was Mo Time!
Citi Field went nuts with applause, cheers and a few select boos, as New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera sprinted to the mound from the center field bullpen.
Once there, Mo took a few minutes to wave his cap towards the fans and soak in the love. It really was a special moment for all those in attendance.
The best part about attending the 2013 All Star Game was the excitement leading up to the game.
From the Home Run Derby to the Fan Fest, Red Carpet Parade, pregame flyover and first pitch, all of baseball was on the edge of their seat.
However, once the game started, I wasn’t really sure what to do.
I was rooting for the National League because I’m a Mets fan and it was our home stadium. Other than that I had little attachment to the action on the field.
That said, I was at the All Star Game and it was one of the most amazing experiences in my life!!!