Phils urge fans to cast ballot for Burrell
Left fielder in running for Final Vote, which ends Thursday
PHILADELPHIA -- The "Vote for Pat Burrell" campaign has begun in earnest.Sports talk radio station WIP has teamed with the Phillies for a marathon voting session. Beginning at noon ET on Tuesday, preselected fans will gather at Harry the K's at Citizens Bank Park to try to outdo one another in the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote. The fan who stays awake the longest and votes the most will receive a jersey personally autographed by Burrell and will attend a Phillies game with 15 friends in Burrell's suite. Burrell and fellow contenders David Wright (Mets), Aaron Rowand (Giants) and Carlos Lee (Astros) trail Corey Hart on Day 1 of the voting, which ends Thursday at 5 p.m. ET. The Phillies hope fans will help Burrell in the same way they assisted Bobby Abreu in 2004, when they cast more than 2 million votes.
If anyone knows about the challenge posed with toppling Hart, it's Geoff Jenkins. The Phillies' right fielder earned his way to the All-Star Game in 2003, and he received a lot of help from a grassroots effort from the Brewers that featured a lot of talk show and personal appearances."It was a lot of interviews and stuff, trying to rally," Jenkins said. "You do it because you want to get there. It was fun. I can't remember everything I did, but it was a lot, and that stuff probably helped." Burrell needs similar support. He joked that he's at a disadvantage because he doesn't own a computer, but his teammates are helping. Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins tried to vote during Sunday's rain delay, and will vote. Chase Utley and Jenkins will case ballots, as well. Off to one of the best starts in his nine-year Major-League career, the Phillies left fielder is within a strong 3 1/2 days of online voting from making his first All-Star team. He didn't make the NL squad that was announced Sunday afternoon, but has a second chance as one of five finalists for the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote. "I'd love a chance to go," Burrell said. "We'll see. I can't worry about how the voting is going." In its seventh year, the Final Vote gives baseball fans the chance to select the final player on each squad. The winners will be announced on MLB.com. Fans can vote in two ways -- online now at MLB.com or from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, reply with your choice. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555. The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD 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 that will also be available on XM Satellite Radio, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. Utley had some fun with a campaign speech that was filmed by MLB.TV. "Pat deserves to be an All-Star," Utley said. He's had an unbelievable year and is a big part of this lineup. His numbers speak for themselves ... and he's my buddy." Jenkins feels the same way. He won't be voting for Hart, his former teammate with the Brewers. He also will help Burrell understand the voting process and the waiting for the results. "I didn't check every day," Jenkins said, with a laugh. "It was more friends and family voting. You just have to play and wait and see. You just have to hope for the best. Hopefully, everybody votes for him. It's well-deserved. It's ridiculous that he's not already on the team."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.