Markakis, Roberts seeking ASG bids
Outfielder eyeing first vote; infielder looking for third nod
BALTIMORE -- Show your support. The American League All-Star ballots are out, giving fans a chance to vote for their favorite players. Baltimore fans can raise their voices for right fielder Nick Markakis, who has never gone to an All-Star Game, or Brian Roberts, who was a candidate for the Final Vote but fell short last season.
"It's always an honor just to be mentioned," said Roberts. "It means that you're playing well."
Those are just two of the most prominent Orioles on the ballot, a group rounded out by first baseman Aubrey Huff, shortstop Cesar Izturis, third baseman Melvin Mora and outfielders Adam Jones and Luke Scott. Catcher Gregg Zaun also made the cut for the ballot.
The most intriguing names, however, remain Roberts and Markakis. Roberts, a two-time All-Star, flirted with hitting .400 for the first two weeks of the season. And Markakis, who led the Major Leagues in outfield assists (17) last season, has had an atypically strong start but remains hemmed in by a deep crop of outfielders.
"It's a great process, and I think it's good for fans," Roberts said. "Do all the right guys always make it? No, but that's part of it. There's always going to be something controversial, but it's fun for the fans and good for the game."
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com. Balloting will start at Camden Yards on April 28 and conclude on June 18.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
Baltimore's All-Star last season was closer George Sherrill, who was selected by Boston and American League manager Terry Francona. The Orioles haven't had more than one All-Star since 2004, and they had four -- Roberts, shortstop Miguel Tejada, third baseman Mora and closer B.J. Ryan -- that year.
The Orioles have seen Jones take a great leap forward in his second full season, and he'll be a name that might be intriguing to fans in other cities. That also may be the case for Huff, who won the Silver Slugger last year as a DH and has since moved to first base. Mora, a two-time All-Star, also may have national appeal.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.