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Fans have say in All-Star MVP
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07/13/2004 2:14 AM ET
Fans have say in All-Star MVP
One-fifth of vote determined by online voting
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Garret Anderson earned the 2003 All-Star Game MVP Award. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

HOUSTON -- Baseball fans cast more than 150 million combined votes to determine the starting position players and the final roster spots for tonight's All-Star Game, and the next step is deciding the star of stars that night.

Fans will have the opportunity to vote at MLB.com and MSN.com during the All-Star Game to help decide the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player. The Ameriquest 2004 All-Star Game MVP Vote will begin in the sixth inning and will continue until the MVP is announced immediately after the end of the game.

The online fan vote will count 20 percent with the other 80 percent coming onsite from the Baseball Writers Association of America and the announcers from the All-Star Game's three broadcast rightsholders: FOX Sports, ESPN Radio and MLB International. When fans were added to the official voting process one year ago in the All-Star Game at Chicago, online voting made a difference in helping American League and Angels outfielder Garret Anderson win his first MVP honor.

Immediately after the 75th Midsummer Classic at Minute Maid Park, the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player will receive the Arch Ward Trophy, which was first presented in 1962 as a tribute to Ward, the founder of the All-Star Game in 1933.

Fans can take into account everything that happens in the first six innings and then begin another online voting frenzy that is fast becoming a summertime tradition. Recent history shows that fans have basked in this increased empowerment -- submitting a record 141 million votes to decide this year's starters and then 9.6 million more votes to give outfielders Bobby Abreu of the Phillies and Hideki Matsui of the Yankees each a 32nd roster spot in the Ameriquest All-Star Final Vote.

The MVP vote is a big responsibility for fans in the estimation of players and managers who were asked about it last year. Some general advice from them: Base the vote strictly on performance. Then knock your socks off again.

Maybe you will be swayed by game-winning hit. Maybe you will be impressed by a game-saving catch. Or just maybe you will actually choose a National Leaguer; the last one of those to win this award was Mike Piazza, representing the Dodgers in 1996.

Maybe you will go against the grain and choose a pitcher, even though their appearances are brief. It is worth noting that Roger Clemens won the MVP in 1986, and the only other pitcher to win the award since then was Boston's Pedro Martinez in 1999.

The All-Star MVP was instituted in 1962, when there was a doubleheader and awards were given to Leon Wagner of the Los Angeles Angels and then Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers. This year's All-Stars who have won the MVP in the past include Derek Jeter (2000), Piazza, Ken Griffey Jr. (1992) and Clemens. Griffey and Ken Griffey Sr. (1980, also with Cincinnati) is the only father-son combination to win this award, and maybe this is the year that it happens again -- if you are swayed by Barry Bonds. His father, Bobby, won it in 1973, also as a representative of the Giants.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally on FOX and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage and MLB.com Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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