ARLINGTON -- The last time Adam Jones was invited to the All-Star Game, the 23-year-old first-timer made his presence felt. Jones drove in the game-winning run for the American League in his only at-bat, breaking a 3-3 tie to become the hero in St. Louis in 2009.
Jones could be poised for a repeat performance, but he needs your votes to help him get to Phoenix on July 12.
The Orioles' center fielder was in fourth place among AL Final Vote nominees as of Wednesday afternoon, with only 24 hours remaining in the balloting. But if the first half is any indication, Jones' stock is going up. He entered Wednesday's game hitting .285 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs -- numbers on par with his selection two seasons ago -- and has been praised for his work ethic and intensity.
"I can't imagine anyone playing center field better," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's been a rock for us. And nobody, nobody in baseball since Day 1 of Spring Training has played the game harder than Adam Jones."
Jones, who has gotten a stream of encouraging texts, has shied away from self-promoting on Twitter -- where he has more than 18,000 followers -- although he acknowledged that the support from the organization, fans and his teammates has been "cool." Jones took to his Twitter account earlier this week to express his gratitude for everyone's votes, and several teammates -- led by Jeremy Guthrie -- have taken to their accounts to help drum up support.
The Orioles announced plans Sunday for a giveaway to help fuel votes for Jones. By selecting him as the 2011 Final Vote choice between 1:01 p.m. ET on Sunday and 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, fans will be entered into the "2011 Vote Jones All-Star Game Final Vote Sweepstakes." The winner will receive an Adam Jones VIP meet-and-greet, parking and four field-box seat tickets to an Orioles non-prime home game this season.
Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice to 89269 (Example: Text "A2" to vote for Jones). In Canada, fans should text their choices to 65246. Standard message and data rates may apply.
Asked about his previous All-Star Game in St. Louis, Jones said it was second only to winning a Gold Glove Award, an experience that brings a smile to his face and one -- votes permitting -- he could be blessed with again.
"Once I walked in, it kind of hit me," Jones said of being wide-eyed kid excited to shake Mariano Rivera's hand and enamored by the mass amounts of media. "Just the atmosphere, it was a celebration of the game's best. ... For two days, everybody is just one big, happy family."
Following the Final Vote competition, fans 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 e-mail on July 11 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
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 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.