There aren't many events in professional sports that inspire both the hoopla and misty-eyed nostalgia of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, an annual spectacle with roots stretching back more than eight decades.
On Tuesday night, the league will continue its longstanding tradition of showcasing and celebrating its brightest stars with the 86th edition of the Midsummer Classic at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
An impressive blend of seasoned veterans and precocious youngsters highlights this year's American League and National League rosters, which will be managed by Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals and Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants, respectively.
Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, who turned 35 in January, is set to appear in his 10th Midsummer Classic - tying him with Miguel Cabrera for the most career appearances among this year's All-Stars - while a whopping 32 players received their first-ever trip to the All-Star Game this season.
Zack Greinke, who last surrendered a run on June 13, will make his third career All-Star appearance - and his first-ever start - when he takes the mound for the National League. Dallas Keuchel, meanwhile, will make his All-Star Game debut Tuesday, while also becoming the first left-hander to start for the American League since David Price in 2010.
And, of course, the winning team's league will get home-field advantage for the 2015 World Series.
American League - Starting Lineup
American League - Reserves
|Sonny Gray (Inactive)||OAK||1|
|Miguel Cabrera (Inactive)||DET||10|
|Jose Bautista (Inactive)||TOR||6|
|Alex Gordon (Inactive)||KC||3|
|Designated Hitters||Team||All-Star Selections|
National League - Starting Lineup
National League - Reserves
|Trevor Rosenthal (Inactive)||STL||1|
|Max Scherzer (Inactive)||WAS||3|
|Dee Gordon (Inactive)||MIA||2|
|Matt Holliday (Inactive)||STL||7|
|Giancarlo Stanton (Inactive)||MIA||3|
- The American League has won each of the last two All-Star Games, but the National League boasts a slight edge in the all-time matchup, compiling a 43-40-2 record since the annual exhibition was introduced in 1933.
- Though Cincinnati will host the All-Star Game for a fifth time this season, the 2015 Midsummer Classic is the first to be played at Great American Ball Park. The first two All-Star Games in Cincinnati were played at Crosley Field, in 1938 and 1953. Riverfront Stadium also hosted a pair of All-Star Games (1970, 1988) before the Reds moved to GABP in 2003.
- One of the most indelible moments in All-Star Game history, incidentally, occurred during the 1970 All-Star Game at Riverfront Stadium. With the game tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the 12th inning, Pete Rose - representing the hometown Reds - attempted to score from second on a single to center field and famously bowled over catcher Ray Fosse to record the winning run in, perhaps, the most iconic home-plate collision in baseball history. Fosse separated his left shoulder on the play and, according to most observers, was never the same afterward.
After watching Bryce Harper torment National League pitchers for the last three months, oddsmakers pegged the 22-year-old as the favorite to land All-Star Game MVP honors. One season ago, another exceptional youngster - Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels - took home the award after going 2-for-3 with a double and a triple to lift the American League to a 5-3 victory at Target Field.