The MLB All-Star Game is tonight at 8 p.m., and the whole shebang kicked off at 1 p.m. today with a traffic-crippling parade up Sixth Avenue, from 42nd Street to Central Park. Rows of fans five deep pushed against police barricades to take pictures of diamond luminaries like Aaron Cook and Dan Uggla. We were there for the whole two-plus-hour spectacle, and have the sunburn to prove it.
Or favorite moments:
• The American League team is full of Boston Red Sox, which is good for the team as a whole but, on this day, not so great for individual players. Fans hammered Terry Francona and Dustin Pedroia mercilessly, though David Ortiz (too injured to play but never one to turn down a crowd) received some begrudging respect, thanks largely to his playful heckling right back.
• The worst of it, though, went to Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox, who made the terrible decision of bringing his family. You know you're in a New York parade when the Red Sox's first-baseman is covering his child's ears as people scream, "YOU FUCKING SUCK."
• The parade also featured Hall of Famers, including Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken, Bob Gibson, Bob Feller, and a frighteningly obese Tony Gwynn. Yankees legends Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra shared the back cab of a truck. One observer, upon seeing Yogi, exclaimed, "Whoa! I had no idea he was a real person." Yogi has always had a certain "fictional character" quality.
• About a half-hour into the parade, a fire broke out on the fifteenth floor of the McGraw/Hill building on 49th Street and Sixth Avenue. This did not benefit the already paralyzed traffic flow. Cops made way for a smattering of fire trucks, and even forcefully demanded the truck carrying Rockies manager Clint Hurdle back up. Hurdle seemed unfazed.
• Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, predictably, received the biggest ovations from the crowd. How'd A-Rod do, you ask? Well, he certainly was applauded, though this might have been because he looked so lonely. In a parade full of players and their families, Alex Rodriguez sat in the back of his Chevy truck, snazzed up in a sharp suit but alone with some unnamed assistant wearing a T-shirt and a visor. He was treated to many, many Madonna chants.
Apparently we weren't the only ones burning up in the sun out there; it appears to have felled a San Francisco Giants pitcher. It must be hard to try to play in a city that's actually hot during the summer. —Will Leitch