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Baseball honors New York's finest, bravest at FanFest

Tribute Day also recognizes military and teachers at Javits Center

NEW YORK -- Members of the NYPD and FDNY spend much of their lives protecting baseball fans and making sure they're safe in New York City. On Tuesday, Major League Baseball showed its appreciation by honoring both departments as part of Tribute Day at the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest.

"Major League Baseball, it's a part of our life," said Sal Cassano, commissioner of the FDNY. "It's an honor for us to be recognized by Major League Baseball, and the excitement it's brought to New York City is especially gratifying."

In addition to firefighters and police offers, Tribute Day recognized servicemen and women, teachers, community members, as well as anyone who's made a positive difference in the lives of those around them. During Tuesday's Opening Ceremony at the Jacob K. Javits Center, the FDNY and NYPD presented the nation's colors, and firefighter Frank Pizarro sang the national anthem.

Pizarro has performed the anthem at Yankee Stadium in the past, and said it's always special to have the opportunity to work with MLB.

"They always take care of us," said Pizarro, a member of Engine 76 on the Upper West Side. "It's always an honor to do anything with Major League Baseball."

The children of members of the FDNY and NYPD also shared in the festivities, getting the chance to play a game of T-ball on The Diamond, presented by T-Mobile.

Chris Laietta, an officer with the NYPD's Midtown North precinct, said it was a thrill to be a part of FanFest, especially since this isn't something that comes around very often.

"Being that the opportunity of having an All-Star Game only comes to the city once in a while, to be a part of it is really special," Laietta said.

Cassano said both departments have been preparing for All-Star Week for months, making sure fans can feel safe while they're in New York and at Citi Field.

Being able to take part in the event is a special opportunity.

"It's the greatest city, and the greatest state and the greatest country in the world," Cassano said. "To have Major League Baseball here this week, it's great for the city."

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at via the 2013 All-Star Game MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, watch at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Come to for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

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, please visit

Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for