MLB All-Star Game 2016: Explaining the San Diego matchup

Baseball’s Midsummer Classic is fast approaching. Wait, that means we are symbolically halfway through the MLB season already? Yep.

The 87th Major League Baseball All-Star Game featuring the American and National leagues will take place at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, 8 p.m. on Tuesday. It airs on Fox.

If you are unsure how an All-Star is chosen, or why this game is significant, we have you covered. Here is your official guide to the All-Star Game.

Does the All-Star Game matter?

It matters more than you would think. The winning league of this star-studded extravaganza holds home-field advantage throughout the World Series.

This rule has been in place since 2003. Previously, home field advantage had alternated between the leagues. The National League has won the most All-Star games overall (43 wins, 41 losses, two ties). Last year’s winner was the American League, which took a 6-3 victory.

A Most Valuable Player of the night is selected at the conclusion of the game.

How does a player get picked to play in an All-Star Game?

Starters are voted in by the fans, while the reserves are picked by a combination of player voting and managerial selection. Pitchers are also chosen by managers.

Each team has a 34-man roster, which includes 21 position players and 13 pitchers. Each of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball must have at least one representative. Balloting for the starters began online April 24 and ended on June 30. Recently, fans have taken part in selecting the final roster spot in each league during the Final Vote, which runs through Friday.

Additionally, the All-Star team managers are always the skippers of the teams that were in the World Series the previous season. New York Mets manager Terry Collins will manage the National League and Ned Yost of the defending World Champion Kansas City Royals will be at the helm of the American League.

So, which Mets and New York Yankees players will be participating in the festivities?

Three Mets and a trio of Yankees were named to represent NYC in this year’s All-Star Game.

Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will make his first All-Star Game start, and second appearance overall. He will be joined by two teammates — right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard along with right-handed closer Jeurys Familia. Both are making their first All-Star appearances.

The Yankees will be sending outfielder Carlos Beltran (ninth appearance) and relief pitchers Andrew Miller (first) and Dellin Betances (third) to San Diego.

What else should I be looking out for?

This year’s All-Star Game will feature 11 first-time starters, the most since 2005.

It will also feature the entire Chicago Cubs infield to begin the game. The 1963 St. Louis Cardinals are the only other team to have all four starters around the horn. The Cubs lead the National League with seven players and the Boston Red Sox have the most American League spots (six).

Despite Petco Park being a National League stadium, the American League will be the designated home team. This is because an American League stadium hosted the All-Star Game in even-numbered years and a National League stadium in odd-numbered years – until this year. A National League venue will play host to the Classic in three consecutive years, meaning the American League squad will get last licks in 2016.

Are there other festivities around the All-Star Game?

There sure are. The prospects and stars of tomorrow will play in the 18th annual Futures Game on Sunday.

Sluggers will look to swing for the fences in the Home Run Derby as White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier will attempt to defend his title on Monday night.

Even celebrities are getting in on the baseball fever. The All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game will be held on Sunday and on television Monday night following the Home Run Derby.