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All-Star fever coming to Queens

By Brandon Robinson

All-Star festivities have kicked off in the city and are headed to Queens this weekend.

Leading up to the 84th MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field Tuesday, Major League Baseball and the New York Mets will host a series of community and charitable events in the borough and beyond.

At the Amazins’ stadium Sunday, events will include the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, a showcase of top Minor League prospects, as well as the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, where retired players and Hall of Famers will team up with celebrities. Both games are part of Taco Bell All-Star Sunday.

On Monday, the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, which features the MLB Home Run Derby, will take over the ballpark. Mets third baseman David Wright will lead fellow National League sluggers as they take on their American League counterparts to tally the most home runs during the derby.

Outside the Queens ballpark, fans can experience what organizers are calling All-Star Summer through a variety of events. At T-Mobile All-Star Fan-Fest, a five-day interactive festival which opens at the Javits Center Friday at 8:30 a.m. and runs every day from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday, fans can check out memorabilia, sign up for a baseball clinic, test their skills in the batting cage and score autographs from Hall of Famers and players from the World Series champion 1986 Mets. Wright will also serve as the official spokesman for the festival.

“All-Star Fan-Fest is the world’s largest baseball fan event and is a great experience for the whole family,” Wright said in a statement. “Just like New York City, Fan-Fest has something for everyone, and I am proud to be a part of the home team as we host this exciting event.”

On Tuesday at 1 p.m., baseball fanatics can head to Midtown Manhattan for the MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show, presented by Chevrolet. The free parade through the streets of Manhattan will include All-Stars in convertibles along 42nd Street from Bryant Park to Second Avenue. The Scholars Academy band from Rockaway Park is slated to start off the festivities.

Later in the day at 8 p.m., the National League team, featuring Wright and Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, will take on the American League during the All-Star Game at Citi Field.

In addition to the events, some of 2013 MLB All-Star Summer charitable donations will be directed to New York City projects and organizations.

•Major League Baseball and the Mets will donate 25 sports wheelchairs for adaptive athletes who participate in Wheelchair Sports Federation activities. Many potential and current adaptive athletes of all ages have financial problems due to their disability, and a special sports wheelchair which can cost up to $5,000 is usually not covered by insurance, according to MLB officials.

•With assistance from Magical Builders, a new 3,000 square foot Teen Center and Café will be constructed for the South Queens Boys & Girls Club in Richmond Hill. The center will include a technology lab, a college lab, classroom space, a lounge and a viewing balcony overlooking the new gymnasium.

•With support from Rebuilding Together and Rebuilding Together NYC, an outdoor greenspace and recreation area within St. Albans Community Living Center will be upgraded to be more accessible and an enclosed patio will be built. Bank of America has pledged that their employees will volunteer and is giving more than $75,000 in funding. Scotts lawn care company is supplying materials.

•Baseball fields at Hinton Park in Flushing and O’Donohue Park in Far Rockaway are slated to get an overhaul. Renovations to two fields at Hinton Park, which will be made by Fields Inc. along with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, will include new Astroturf, home plates, a portable pitching mound and bases as well as repairs to fencing and improvements to bleachers, walls and handrails.

For additional info on MLB All-Star Week activities visit AllStarGame.com

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