07/04/2004 7:45 PM ET
Hafner needs your vote
Indians slugger remains in hunt for All-Star slot
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com
|Travis Hafner is up against Lew Ford, Hideki Matsui, Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko. (Mark Duncan/AP)
CLEVELAND -- You almost expect Travis Hafner to just say aw-shucks and nothing more. For Hafner never seems to let himself ride the emotional waves that come with being a Major League baseball player.
He handles the highs the same way he handles the lows: good-naturedly.
"I haven't really thought about it," he said Tuesday, referring to his chance at being named to the American League All-Star team as the All-Star Final Vote winner.
That's been his approach to being selected as one of five American League players in the Final Vote. He's having fun with it.
"To me, it's just a big honor to be one of the five guys considered," Hafner said. "But, really, I don't think I'm the favorite to win that, so I'm just thrilled I was considered."
2004 Final Vote
American League winner:
Hideki Matsui, Yankees
(in order of finish):
Frank Thomas, White Sox
Paul Konerko, White Sox
Lew Ford, Twins
Travis Hafner, Indians
National League winner:
Bobby Abreu, Phillies
(in order of finish):
Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
Steve Finley, D-Backs
Jason Kendall, Pirates
Juan Pierre, Marlins
With the first tally of votes in, Hafner trails Hideki Matsui, Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko and Lew Ford. But the vote totals are "close," according to reports. So Tribe fans can support Hafner's candidacy by going to www.indians.com and voting for the Indians slugger.
They have until 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday to show their support for Hafner, who has put up numbers every bit the equal of the men ahead of him in the Final Vote balloting.
But he's running out of time to catch up, though that's not a big deal to Hafner. The whole thought of the All-Star Game and its selection process has been fun for Hafner, and he called going to the World Series his only real goal as a Major League ballplayer.
Still, he's appreciative of having this chance, which could send him to Houston along with teammates Matt Lawton, Ronnie Belliard, Victor Martinez and C.C. Sabathia. Belliard and Martinez -- as Hafner would be -- are first-time selections.
"I was expecting a couple of our guys to get in," he said. "But I was kind of surprised that I was one of the guys for the final spot.
"But I think it says we've got a lot of talent -- a lot of up-and-coming players."
Hafner has proven he's one of those players.
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.