NEW YORK -- July means All-Star Week is right around the corner here, and Major League Baseball announced on Monday that its T-Mobile All-Star FanFest on July 12-16 at the Jacob K. Javits Center will feature a daily theme this year, offering unique events and giveaways centered around youth, diversity, families, military and local heroes.
"I think the FanFest is probably the most fun," said MLB All-Star Ambassador and Mets legend Mookie Wilson, who conducted a media tour on Monday that included a visit to the MLB Fan Cave. "I was fortunate enough to go to the All-Star Game when it was in Seattle and Milwaukee, and I was able to, as a fan, go to the FanFest. It's fantastic. You go and get free autographs. You get to see some baseball history with the exhibits from the Hall of Fame. You get to see some of the legends of the game. ... I think that's the most unique part [of All-Star Week].
"Theme Days have been added as different things for everybody. ... and each of those days is going to be focused on a different part of our culture. It's just to bring people together. All baseball fans who will be here in New York, on that day, whatever day that may be, it's going to be MLB Day. We're going to enjoy Major League Baseball and the beautiful and the great baseball players who are going to be coming through."
Here is a look at daily themes for this FanFest, hosted by the Mets:
Friday, July 12: Kids Day
To start All-Star Week, junior ROTC members will present the colors at the FanFest Opening Ceremony. In addition, there will be a Home Run Derby for kids on The Diamond presented by T-Mobile along with an MLB mascot autograph session at the Rookie League attraction. MLB All-Star Ambassador John Franco will sign autographs and the first 1,000 eligible children 12 and under get a free Mr. Met Mini Bobblehead.
Saturday, July 13: Heritage Day
New York's diverse culture is celebrated as fans experience some of baseball's historic moments and meet players from the Negro Leagues. Vera Clemente, wife of late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, and Sharon Robinson, daughter of late Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, will both participate in Q&As from the All-Star Clubhouse presented by Majestic. MLB All-Star Ambassador Edgardo Alfonzo will sign autographs. In addition, Wilson will conduct a Q&A with fans, and the first 1,000 eligible fans receive his free Mini Bobblehead.
Sunday, July 14: Family Day
This is the essence of FanFest every year dating back to the first one staged in Toronto in 1991 -- parents and children whiling away hours enjoying interactive areas, entertainment and baseball immersion as a family. They will enjoy participating together in activities such as learning baseball fundamentals during special clinics and playing catch on The Diamond. The first 1,000 eligible children aged 12 and under receive a free Lil' Teammate Figurine.
Monday, July 15: Military Appreciation Day
The focus on this day will be military personnel and their families, part of an overall salute by MLB that will include recognition of one active or veteran military member represented each Major League team during pregame at the All-Star Game, in support of Welcome Back Veterans. A Bank of America Military Branch T-Ball Game will feature children of various military branches and a Baseball Boot Camp on The Diamond, where fans will go through drills. Fans also have the opportunity to send thank you messages throughout Military Appreciation Day to support troops. The first 1,000 eligible fans receive a free military patch.
Tuesday, July 16: Tribute Tuesday
Throughout the day of the Midsummer Classic, FanFest will honor local heroes and those of surrounding areas. These heroes include teachers, service men and women, community leaders or a local neighbor who has done outstanding work in her or his community. The Opening Ceremony will also include the NYPD and the FDNY presenting America's colors. Wilson will sign autographs as part of Tribute Tuesday, Franco will conduct a Q&A with fans and be available for photos in front of the World's Largest Baseball, and the first 1,000 eligible fans get a free David Wright Mini Bobblehead.
MLB also announced that a number of ticket specials are being offered to FanFest including "Buy One Get One Free Friday," "Two for Tuesday" and a FanFest Family Pack. Visit AllStarGame.com/FanFest for details on the ticket offers.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, visit allstargame.com.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.