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.

 

Matt Harvey's first pitch of the 2013 MLB All Star Game
Matt Harvey’s first pitch of the 2013 MLB All Star Game

There’s Something Magical About the Mid-Summer Classic

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.

 

Today's lineup @ Citi Field
Today’s lineup @ Citi Field

 

Top of the 9th atop the NL dugout during the 2013 MLB All Star Game
Top of the 9th atop the NL dugout

A Mets Miracle

In the months leading up to the 2013 All Star Game, I had accepted the fact that I would not be able to attend.

The official 2013 MLB All Star Game logoIn 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!

 

A smiling John C welcomes me to Citi Field
A smiling John C welcomes me to Citi Field

 

 

Citi Field is made to evoke memories of Brooklyn's Ebbets Field
Citi Field is made to evoke memories of Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field

 

The old Shea Stadium home run apple is now located in front of Citi Field
The old Shea Stadium home run apple is now located in front of Citi Field

Play Ball!

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.

 

Pregame Roll Call during the 2013 MLB All Star Game at Citi Field
Pregame Roll Call

 

Introducing the NL Starting Lineup during the 2013 MLB All Star Game at Citi Field
Introducing the NL Starting Lineup during the 2013 MLB All Star Game at Citi Field

Standing Room Only

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.

 

Standing room on field level behind the Mo's Zone during the 2013 MLB All Star Game at Citi Field
Standing room on field level behind the Mo’s Zone

 

The Shea Bridge was a popular spot for standing room ticket holders during the All Star Game
The Shea Bridge was a popular spot for standing room ticket holders during the All Star Game

 


Finding Seats in the Upper Upper Deck

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.

 

This media photographer gave me serious "lens envy"
This media photographer gave me serious “lens envy”

 

Clayton Kershaw in mid-delivery in the 3rd inning of the 2013 MLB All Star Game
Clayton Kershaw in mid-delivery in the 3rd inning of the 2013 MLB All Star Game

 

It might be the All Star Game, but Citi Field still was a sea of orange and blue
It might be the All Star Game, but Citi Field still was a sea of orange and blue

Movin’ on Up (aka, down)

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.

 

Susan, Katie and I found Cowbell Man
Susan, Katie and I found Cowbell Man

 

NL All Stars in the dugout
It was so great to actually see the players

 

Standing room rules!
Standing room rules!

 

Swing and miss for Johnny Peralta
Swing and miss for Johnny Peralta

The David Wright Show

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.

 

The Captain on the jumbotron
The Captain on the jumbotron

 

Wright wruns to first
Wright wruns to first

 

David Wright and Doc Gooden earlier in the day during the Red Carpet Parade in Bryant Park
David Wright and Doc Gooden earlier in the day during the Red Carpet Parade in Bryant Park

 

Everything is Wright at third ... as Arnoldis Chapman hurls 100+ mph heat
Everything is Wright at third … as Arnoldis Chapman hurls 100+ mph heat

Scenes From the Scoreboard

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

 

Jose Bautista and the rest of the MLB All Stars on the two centerfield scoreboards
Jose Bautista and the rest of the MLB All Stars on the two centerfield scoreboards

 

Welcome to the 2013 All Star Game
Welcome to the 2013 All Star Game

 

The out of town scoreboard showed previous All Star Game scores. If you look below the word “National,” you will find The Tie
The out of town scoreboard showed previous All Star Game scores. If you look below the word “National,” you will find The Tie

 

The 2013 All Star Game boasted the largest crowd in Citi Field history
The 2013 All Star Game boasted the largest crowd in Citi Field history

Sweet Caroline

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.

 

Neil Diamond sings Sweet Caroline in the 8th inning
It’s like VH1’s behind the music

 


Enter Sandman . It’s Mariano Rivera Time

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.

 

Mariano River's classic entrance
Mariano River’s classic entrance

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.

 

An appreciative Mariano Rivera
An appreciative Mariano Rivera
One pitch. Two decades of success. The Cutter. - Mariano Rivera
One pitch. Two decades of success. The Cutter.

Thoughts and Observations
From the 2013 MLB All Star Game

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!!!

 

Prince Fielder and other baseball players
Prince Holds Court

 

Yankee fans mock-protesting the lack of A-Rod in the All Star Game
Yankee fans mock-protesting the lack of A-Rod in the All Star Game

 

One guy ran onto the field and got tackled. I hope it was worth the night he spent in jail!
One guy ran onto the field and got tackled. I hope it was worth the night he spent in jail!