Royalty Tours USA

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Royalty goes to MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field!

The last time the Major League Baseball had its All-Star Game in Queens was back in 1964 at Shea Stadium. That was just before my time. A few years ago when plans were in the works to finally bring the All-Star Game back to Queens, I had every intention of going to the game.

On Tuesday night, July 16th, Citi Field, the Mets' new home was the site for the 84th Midsummer Classic. Since I have full season tickets for the Mets I was given the opportunity to purchase strips of tickets for the festivities which included the Futures Game which I missed because I went away over the weekend instead, the Fan Fest, the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game.

The only other time I got to see an All-Star Game was back in 2008 when the Yankees hosted it at Old Yankee Stadium. That game was an epic 15 inning marathon that ended around 1:45AM.

This time I took the day off from work so I could relax and be ready for the special night. Unfortunately the weather was brutal that day & night which tried to put a damper on the occasion. As a result, I didn't get to the ballpark too early. Instead I got a text message from my pal Eddie Pelle who said he was also going to the game. He said he was coming from work. He asked me if I wanted to meet him for dinner first. I replied to him and I said absolutely. We wound up going to a place called the Burger Garage in Long Island City. He told me how good this place was. With that being said, this was a perfect opportunity to see what he was talking about. I wound up getting a Turkey burger and onion strings. All I can say is when I got done was I was a satisfied customer. I want to thank Eddie for the recommendation. Actually his friend Fredy Sanchez deserves the credit because he's the one who found this place.

After Eddie & I finished eating we got back on the 7 train and we went to Citi Field for the big game. On the way in, I got to say hello to my pal, Sam Citron at the Rotunda entrance.As for our seats, Eddie wound up getting a ticket on the lower level. I had my season seat in section 516 row 3. When we got to the field level, I said goodbye to Eddie and I told him to enjoy the game. I proceeded to go upstairs to the promenade level. When I got up there, I saw my pal Vincent Ascanio who was there with his father, Ralph. The King was missing in action. He decided to join our friend, Bryan Gilligan on a road trip to the Midwest instead. In his absence, his brother Henry Casiano who was visiting from Florida, wound up going to the game thanks to our buddy Alan Gimpel who had an extra ticket that he bought from him in section 509 row 12. Vincent & I went over to see them before we went to our seats to get ready for the game and pre game ceremonies. It was nice to see Henry again.

Me at the MLB All Star Game
When I got to my seat in section 516 row 3 I sat down and relaxed while I waited for my pal Andrew Van Cleve to show up since he had what would have been the King's seat next to me. While I waited for him, I got a visit from another ballpark chaser who was at the game that being Bill Pritchard who lucked out and won a contest that got him free tickets for the game in section 402 out in right field. He was very fortunate to be in the building. He stayed for a few innings before he returned to his seat. I want to personally thank Bill for stopping by.

Tribute to real heroes
As for the festivities, there was a special touching tribute to the real heroes, those who have and continue to protect our freedom here and abroad, after the players of both leagues were introduced to the crowd. The players were lined up between the bases in the middle of the infield. The Veterans were positioned along the base lines allowing the players to acknowledge them as we braced for the National Anthem which concluded with a fly over.

Live action from the All Star Game
As for the game we saw, Mike Trout hit the first pitch he saw from Matt Harvey, the Mets' All-Star starting pitcher down the right field line for a lead off double. The next batter was Robinson Cano of the Yankees. Harvey proceeded to hit him with a pitch putting runners on first and second. Cano was taken out of the game. Apparently he got hurt. Matt Harvey settled down as he retired the next three batters to end the inning. He went back out for the second inning and he retired the American League in order. In his two inning appearance, he struck out three. After a shaky start, he proved he was worthy of the starting nod. As the game went on, changes were frequent. In the fourth inning, the American League finally broke the scoreless tie as Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays' hit a sacrifice fly to center field to make it a 1-0. In the fifth inning, the Orioles' J.J. Hardy grounded into a fielder's choice that drove in another run to make it 2-0. As for the National League, they got their first hit after the first ten batters made out. Former Met and now Cardinal Carlos Beltran did the honors. It turned out to be the first of just three hits that the National League had for the game. In the eighth inning, Jason Kipnis of the Indians doubled in another run to give the American League a 3-0 lead. After their half of the inning ended, the crowd was treated to a special live version of the song Sweet Caroline as Neil Diamond came onto the field to perform it. When he got done, Mariano Rivera was called in from the bullpen to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning. He came in to the familiar tune by Metallica, Enter Sandman. Mariano was acknowledged by the record breaking crowd of 45,186 as there was a moving tribute to the greatest relief pitcher of the modern era. I beg to differ with Bud Selig's commentary that's he's the greatest of all time. The game has changed so much that it's not right to compare the different eras of baseball. Regardless Mariano is the best at his role as the game is played today. He proceeded to throw a scoreless 1,2,3 eighth inning. In the ninth inning, Jason Grilli of the Pirates was summoned from the bullpen to pitch the top of the ninth. Stay tuned for a special post that I'm going to do about him. He's truly a great story. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning but he was forced to work out of a jam because Prince Fielder got a lead off single that was played into a triple by former Met Carlos Gomez. Grilli bared down and he got the next three batters out keeping it a 3-0 game. The National League managed to get a two out double off closer Joe Nathan of the Rangers but Paul Goldschmidt was stranded there as Pedro Alvarez popped out to second base to end the game. The American League won, 3-0 and they will now have the home field advantage in the 2013 World Series.

Shortly after the game ended, they announced the Most Valuable Player of the game. Since they're wasn't a clear cut choice, Mariano Rivera was given the award. By doing so, they sent him out in style since he's going to officially retire at the end of the season. I personally thought it was fitting since the game was played in New York City.

Thank you for reading and following.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

No comments: