DENVER -- Now, fans will really have to go to work to get Royals left fielder Alex Gordon on the American League All-Star team.
Gordon was one of five AL candidates for the 10th annual All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint, named by AL manager Ron Washington. The other nominees are Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, Tigers catcher Victor Martinez and Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist.
Fans will choose the winner and the online voting is underway.
"I think it's pretty cool," Gordon said. "Just to be up for it means a lot. Last year, I went down to Triple-A -- and the year before. So I'm proud to be here and happy to be up for it."
Gordon was very pleased to see rookie reliever Aaron Crow selected as the Royals' representative on the AL squad.
"It's cool that he's in it and I'm still up for it, so maybe we can get two Royals in the All-Star Game for once," Gordon said.
The Royals haven't had two players on the All-Star team since 2003, when first baseman Mike Sweeney and reliever Mike MacDougal were selected. Neither played in the game.
The 82nd 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 7 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Manager Ned Yost sounded like Gordon's campaign manager.
"It's going to be very important that our fan base supports him, that they get out and vote," Yost said. "It's very important that everybody votes as often as they can, because having two representatives on the All-Star team is going to be very special for Kansas City. And there's going to come a time when we're going to have three and four All-Stars on that team.
"As an organization and a fan base, we need to really go out and do everything we can to get Alex Gordon on that team, not because he's from the Royals, but because he deserves it."
Now in its 10th year, the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and continues until 3 p.m. CT on Thursday. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Mobile voting in the U.S. is exclusive to Sprint, Nextel and Boost subscribers. To receive the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 1122. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice to 1122. Example: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Mobile voting in Canada is open to all carriers; fans should text their choices to 88555. Standard rates may apply.
Gordon's teammates already were getting into the electoral process, punching out votes on their computers before Sunday's game against the Rockies. A rush order was placed for "VOTE GORDO" T-shirts that could be worn in pregame practice on Monday at Chicago, where the White Sox are sure to be promoting their candidate, Konerko.
"Just to have the Royals out there and representing Kansas City for the All-Star Game is important," Gordon said. "You always see just one guy, and it's good to have two guys, and next year, who knows? Maybe three or four. Maybe this is a start, and I can get this late push."
Next year, the Royals would like to have three or four players in the game, as the 2012 Midsummer Classic will be played at Kauffman Stadium.
Although Gordon struggled at the plate early in Spring Training this year, manager Ned Yost kept him in the lineup almost constantly so he could get his timing tuned up. Gordon did so well that Yost made him the Royals' No. 3 hitter when the season began.
When after a good start the Royals faltered, Gordon was also used in the leadoff and cleanup spots.
"I'm wherever the skipper thinks I'm best, but honestly, I like batting third. If I had a pick, I'd probably bat third," Gordon said. "But leadoff was fun, too. It was a good mix, and I thought it gave our lineup a nice little change-it-up."
Entering Sunday's game, after his second four-hit game this season on Saturday, Gordon was batting .301 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs. Included in his season were hitting streaks of 19 and 14 games. He also leads all AL outfielders with 24 doubles.
In addition, Gordon is an outfield leader on defense with a Major League high 13 assists.
"He's very deserving," Yost said. "Picking an All-Star team is very tough. It's not as easy as you think. I watched Bobby [Cox] do it five times; it's very difficult. You're going to leave deserving players off. Some guys that aren't deserving get in because of team requirements, but Gordo is at the top of the league in a lot of offensive categories and is very deserving."
Gordon has endured some disappointments in a pro career that began in 2005 when the Royals took him as their first-round Draft choice out of the University of Nebraska.
He's now one of seven first-round picks by the Royals on the current roster, joining Mitch Maier (2003), Billy Butler ('04), Luke Hochevar ('06), Mike Moustakas ('07), Eric Hosmer ('08) and 2011 All-Star selection Aaron Crow ('09).
It took Gordon just one Minor League season -- a .325, 29-homer, 101-RBI rouser with Double-A Wichita -- to prep for his Major League introduction in 2007. Mark Teahen was moved off third base to pave the way, and Gordon's first two seasons in Kansas City were moderately successful. Just when he seemed poised for a breakout season in '09, a hip injury and subsequent surgery followed. He missed most of the year. Geared for a healthy comeback in '10, a broken thumb on a Spring Training slide sabotaged him. His season was further complicated when he was sent off to the Minors and switched from third base to the outfield.
Gordon handled the change masterfully, using the best of his infield skills to become an accomplished left fielder. And it's in that position that he comes up for the Final Vote.
This won't be the end of the voting, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevy via the 2011 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 10-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 9-19. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on July 8 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.