MINNEAPOLIS -- Target Field is ready for its All-Star close-up.
More than five dozen All-Stars from the National League and the American League have descended into the Twin Cities, and after a year of meticulous planning by both the Twins and Major League Baseball, the 85th annual All-Star Game is here.
"It's a big moment," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who is also serving as a coach on the AL staff. "It's a big thing for us. It's well-deserved. A lot of people have put a lot of work in here at the stadium. There was an effort to get this park built. So this is what it's all about."
The 2014 All-Star Game will take place at Target Field on Tuesday, with airtime at 7:30 p.m. ET and the game starting at 8 ET. Visit MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, 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 will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow fans to help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com, and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities
It marks the return of the Midsummer Classic to Minnesota for the first time since 1985, when it was held at the Metrodome. But the Metrodome has been torn down, and the Twins moved into beautiful Target Field in 2010 after playing indoors for 28 years.
It's regarded as one of baseball's best parks, and it will be on full display with the game's best players taking the field Tuesday night.
"I'm telling you, it's on everyone's short list of favorite places to play," said Twins closer Glen Perkins, a Minnesota native and two-time All-Star. "Even the city, I don't think it gets enough credit because it's cold in the winter and small. But guys come here and love it. This is a favorite for all visiting players, and the ballpark is obviously second to none."
The major storyline Tuesday is the final All-Star Game for Yankees superstar Derek Jeter, who will start at shortstop and bat leadoff for the AL squad. It's the 14th time Jeter has been an All-Star, but this time he gets a chance to bid his farewell on the national stage, much like his former teammate Mariano Rivera did last year in a touching tribute at Citi Field in New York.
Jeter, who is set to retire after the season, said he's tried not to think about what it'll be like to participate in his last Midsummer Classic, but he is excited for the event.
"All-Star Games are fun. I've said it from the very first one I went to in 1998," Jeter said. "It's an honor. It's a privilege. Every player wants to be a part of an All-Star Game. I try to take each one and have as much fun as I can."
Jeter is far from the only superstar set to play in the All-Star Game, as he's joined on the AL squad by some of the game's best players, such as Mike Trout, Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista and Miguel Cabrera.
Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez will start for the AL, which will be managed by Red Sox skipper John Farrell. Farrell said it was difficult to finalize the roster but is happy with the way his squad turned out.
"I wouldn't necessarily call this an ugly job, because it is quite an honor to be sitting here and certainly an honor to be managing in this game," Farrell said. "But I have to say that arriving at our final roster was a difficult process. Very tough, very deserving players did not make it."
The NL is also brimming with talent, led by stars such as Andrew McCutchen, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gomez and Yasiel Puig. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who will lead the NL, likened it to managing a fantasy baseball team.
"They tried to prepare me," Matheny said. "But I guess it's very similar to the millions of people all over this world that are playing fantasy baseball, except the fact I get to do it with real people."
Matheny also made the difficult decision to start his own pitcher, Adam Wainwright, over Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. It's the first time Wainwright will start an All-Star Game, and he said he's honored to take the mound on such a big stage.
"Aside from having the ability to win two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, I think this has to be one of the highlights of my baseball career to this point," Wainwright said. "One of the coolest things I can say I did is to start a big league All-Star Game."
The All-Star Game is also more than just an exhibition, as it counts toward home-field advantage in the World Series. It's certainly not lost on Farrell, who led the Red Sox to a World Series title last year while having home-field advantage due to the AL's 3-0 win at Citi Field.
"I don't think you can every underestimate the home-field advantage in a postseason, certainly a seven-game series," Farrell said. "And to have that final game potentially in your home ballpark, that goes a long way to affecting the outcome."