NEW YORK -- Two years after the Mets' inception, they were rewarded with the 1964 All-Star Game, giving the new franchise the chance to show off Shea Stadium to the rest of the league. In 2013, 49 years later, Flushing, N.Y., will once again play host to the Midsummer Classic and show off its most recent stadium -- Citi Field.
Left fielder Mike Baxter, 27, grew up a Mets fan in Whitestone, N.Y., a town roughly 15 minutes from Citi Field. As a child, he regularly attended games at Shea Stadium, but he never received the chance to watch the All-Star Game in his home city. Next year, the stadium he now truly calls home, will get that opportunity.
"That's something I've never experienced before," Baxter said. "It's the best spot in the world, in my opinion. I think we have a great stadium, and I think it's a great platform to kind of show off what we have here. I think it's a nice opportunity for the organization."
While Baxter was new to Citi Field until he started playing with New York late last season, he said it ranks among the best ballparks in the league.
"I love it," Baxter said. "It's just a great park to come to every night, and I think what's going to be even better about it with the All-Star Game, is it's going to be packed. Our fans are going to get the chance to make some noise, and I think that separates this stadium more than anything. When we have our fans out here, I think they're the best in the world."
Mets left hander R.A. Dickey agreed with Baxter's evaluation of the ballpark. He pointed to Citi Field's grounds crew and brand new facilities as the reason it could compete with any ballpark in the country. Dickey was New York's most consistent starting pitcher the last two seasons, and he currently boasts a 5-1 record and 3.65 ERA. In nine seasons in the Major Leagues, the knuckleballer has never made an All-Star team.
"It certainly would be incredible to make an All-Star Game, period," Dickey said. "To have one here, that'd be pretty remarkable."
Johan Santana and David Wright are the two players on the current Mets roster who have played in an All-Star Game. Wright -- named an All-Star five consecutive years from 2006-10 -- said the game is still too far away to consider the honor of playing in it, although he acknowledged a selection in front of his home crowd would be gratifying.
"We're talking about a long ways away. I haven't even thought about that," Wright said. "I saw how much some of the other guys playing in the All-Star Games enjoyed playing at home, but like I said, that's a long ways away."
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy felt like the Yankees did a good job with the 2008 All-Star Game in New York, which was held at old Yankee Stadium in its final year of existence. Murphy said he expects the city to embrace next year's game with a similar enthusiasm.
"I think it's going to be a chance for the country, and hopefully a lot of people around the world, to appreciate what I'm fortunate enough to see on a daily basis, which is how beautiful this stadium is and what a great job they've done with it," Murphy said.