EDITOR'S NOTE: MAURY BROWN OF THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK AND A CONTRIBUTOR TO FORBES WILL BE ON THE GROUND AND REPORTING FROM THE 2010 MLB ALL-STAR GAME
Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer, the leading vote-getter in Major League Baseball , and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who claimed the top spot in the National League, will be among the starters in the 81st All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 13th at Angel Stadium of Anaheim . MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports. This year, fans cast 21.2 million ballots, the second highest figure in history. The 2010 American League and National League All-Star Teams were unveiled by TBS on the 2010 MLB All-Star Selection Show Presented by Taco Bell.
Mauer, now a four-time A.L. All-Star and a three-time fan-elected starter, collected 5,372,606 votes, the third highest total of all-time, trailing only the 6,079,688 cast for Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1994 and the 5,397,374 for Pujols for last year’s Midsummer Classic in St. Louis . Mauer is the first catcher to be Major League Baseball ’s overall top vote-getter since Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers was first in 2000, and the Minnesota native joins Hall of Famer Rod Carew (1975, 1977-78) as the only other Twin ever to lead all of Major League Baseball in votes. In addition, Mauer drew a record number of online votes for the All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint. Pujols, who garnered 4,380,669 votes, finished atop all N.L. players for the fourth time, as he led all of MLB in 2006 and 2009 and also ranked first in the N.L. in 2003.
Mauer will not be the only member of the Twins to start the Midsummer Classic, as his teammate, first baseman Justin Morneau, held off veteran All-Stars Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees. It will mark the fourth All-Star berth and the first starting assignment for Morneau, who drew 2,933,355 votes. The pair of Twins represents one of four sets of A.L. teammates who will start in Anaheim . The Yankees’ double-play tandem will remain intact in Anaheim , as teammates Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano joined Mauer and Pujols as the only Major League players to top four million votes. Jeter has earned his 11th trip to the All-Star Game, including his sixth fan-elected start, with 4,547,485 votes, while Cano (4,135,305) will make his second All-Star appearance and his first start.
Rounding out the A.L. infield is Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, whose 3,977,935 votes have made him an All-Star for the third time in all three of his Major League seasons, including back-to-back elections by fans. Longoria joins an elite club as a repeat starter at the hot corner for the A.L.; since 1970, the only other A.L. third basemen who repeated as the choice of fans are Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (1971-74), George Brett (1976-86), Wade Boggs (1987-1996) and Cal Ripken, Jr. (1997-2001), along with Alex Rodriguez (2004-08).
For the third consecutive year, the A.L. outfield will feature Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers and Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners. Hamilton ’s torrid play in June (.454, 49-108, 9 HR, 31 RBI, .815 SLG) launched him to the top spot among A.L. outfielders with 2,840,816 votes. Ichiro will be a part of the Midsummer Classic for the 10th time, accounting for his entire career in Major League Baseball , and he is now a fan-elected starter for the ninth time with 2,544,564 votes. Rays left fielder Carl Crawford (2,235,597), last year’s Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet, held on against Nelson Cruz (2,011,770) of the Rangers to earn his first start in the Midsummer Classic and his fourth All-Star appearance overall.
Rangers slugger Vladimir Guerrero, who has collected his ninth All-Star berth and his sixth fan-elected start with 3,926,103 votes, will return to Angel Stadium, his home ballpark from 2004-2009, as the A.L.’s designated hitter. This will be Guerrero’s fifth time representing the American League in the Midsummer Classic.
The National League lineup will feature a pair of Cardinals for the second consecutive year, as Pujols will be joined by his teammate, catcher Yadier Molina, whose 2,251,285 votes held off veteran All-Stars Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves and Ivan Rodriguez of the Washington Nationals. Chase Utley (3,616,038) earned his fifth straight election by fans, a run eclipsed at the position only by Hall of Famers Joe Morgan (1972-78) and Ryne Sandberg (1986-1993) since 1970. Since Utley is currently on the disabled list and will be unable to play in the All-Star Game, he will be replaced in the starting lineup by the top second baseman on the Player Ballot. With 2,573,961 votes, Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins will be the starting shortstop for the third straight year, the longest uninterrupted streak at that position in the N.L. since Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith’s streak from 1983-1992. Ramirez outdueled N.L. East rivals Jimmy Rollins (1,788,778) of the Phillies and Jose Reyes of the New York Mets (1,554,069) for the starting nod.
One of the most hotly contested National League races had been at third base, but David Wright of the Mets surged down the stretch to unseat Philadelphia ’s Placido Polanco, who had led at the position throughout the entire balloting process. Wright drew 2,285,959 votes, ahead of the 1,792,413 for Polanco. This will mark Wright’s fifth All-Star selection overall and his fourth start (2006-07, 2009).
Southern California native Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers led all Major League outfielders in All-Star balloting for the third straight year by collecting 2,972,525 votes. Braun now has the most fan elections in Brewers history, ahead of the two apiece for Hall of Famers Paul Molitor and Robin Yount. Joining Braun in the N.L. outfield will be Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Andre Ethier, who will make his All-Star Game debut after garnering 2,784,419 votes. Ethier becomes the first Dodgers outfielder to be elected to start the All-Star Game since Darryl Strawberry in 1991. The third starting position in the N.L. outfield has been earned by 20-year-old Braves rookie Jason Heyward, who drew 2,728,098 votes. If it is determined later that Heyward, who is currently on the DL, cannot play in the All-Star Game, then he will be replaced in the starting lineup by the top ranking outfielder from the Player Ballot who is not already a starter, and N.L. All-Star manager Charlie Manuel will name a replacement to be added to the roster.
In his final year on the ballot, Griffey, MLB’s all-time leader in All-Star balloting, earned 1,070,862 votes. Griffey, who retired from baseball on June 2nd, entered the season with 48,973,314 votes, giving him a total of 50,044,176 in his 22-year Major League career. The 13-time All-Star also holds the single-season record (6,079,688 votes in 1994).
More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots were distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which had 23 home dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks. Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Monday, May 10th. As part of a new sponsorship with Scotts, the official sponsor of the 2010 Retail All-Star Balloting Program, fans had the opportunity to vote at approximately 1,700 Lowe’s locations nationwide.
Fans around the world had the opportunity to cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, available exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club Web sites. The 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint offered English and Spanish-language versions of the ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Sprint subscribers also voted on select Sprint mobile devices. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concluded on Wednesday, June 23rd, fans had the opportunity to cast their final ballots exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club Web sites until Thursday, July 1st at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).
Firestone, the official sponsor of the 2010 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program, teamed up with MLB for the Firestone/MLB All-Star Sweepstakes. Each in-stadium ballot included a sweepstakes entry form to be completed by fans along with their votes for the All-Star Game starters. Following the completion of the balloting period, one lucky fan was randomly selected to win a new set of Firestone tires, as well as an all expenses paid trip to Anaheim to throw a ceremonial first pitch before the All-Star Game.
Scotts was the official sponsor of the 2010 Retail All-Star Balloting Program, which began on May 10th exclusively at approximately 1,700 Lowe’s stores across the country. In addition to casting their votes, fans had the opportunity to enter to win a VIP All-Star Week Experience, courtesy of Scotts.
Banco BHD sponsors All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic , making Spanish-language ballots available online at www.bhd.com.do and at All-Star balloting terminals across more than 80 branches, through July 1st.
The American League All-Star Team have nine starters elected via the fan balloting program, while the National League All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – were determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by All-Star managers Joe Girardi and Charlie Manuel, in conjunction with Major League Baseball .
Fans can now begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint, casting their votes exclusively online at MLB.com from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period. The winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 8th. Now in its sixth year, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on their mobile phones, exclusive to Sprint, Nextel and Boost subscribers. Fans can send the word “Vote” to 1122 to receive the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint ballot. Standard text rates apply. In Canada , fans can text “Vote” to 88555.
Originally introduced during this year’s online balloting for the elected starters, fans can campaign for their favorite player on the Final Vote ballot through MLB.com’s new All-Star Campaign Manager program, tallying points by getting their friends, family and co-workers to vote, and competing to be recognized as an “official” Final Vote Campaign Manager for any player they helped support.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting at MLB.com will have fans again participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint.
The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT)/5:00 p.m. (PDT). ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
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All-Star Game (AL and NL) - PDF
Source: Major League Baseball
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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