Chipper, Bourn vying to be NL's Final Vote winner
Two Braves are among five candidates for last spot on All-Star roster
ATLANTA -- Count Bryce Harper among the many who have said they would like to see Chipper Jones play in one more All-Star Game. In fact, Harper would seemingly rather wait one more year to gain his first All-Star selection than to see Jones retire without one more appearance under his belt.
"He should have already been in the All-Star Game, no matter what," Harper said. "He's an All-Star, and he's been an All-Star for 20 years. I think Chip should have been there and, like I said, if I had a vote, Chip's going."
Jones, Harper and Braves outfielder Michael Bourn headline the group of five National League candidates placed on this year's Final Vote ballot. The player who garners the most votes will be added to the NL roster for this year's All-Star game July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
Final Vote candidates
|P||Jonathan Broxton, KC|
|P||Yu Darvish, TEX|
|P||Ernesto Frieri, LAA|
|P||Jason Hammel, BAL|
|P||Jake Peavy, CWS|
|OF||Michael Bourn, ATL|
|3B||David Freese, STL|
|OF||Bryce Harper, WAS|
|2B||Aaron Hill, ARI|
This year's Final Vote process will provide fans a chance to choose between sentimentality and youth. Two of the top NL's candidates are Jones, who will retire at the end of this season, and 19-year-old Nationals outfielder Harper, who has impressed since making his much-anticipated Major League debut on April 28.
Joining the aforementioned trio on this year's ballot are Cardinals third baseman David Freese and D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill.
"When I've been in there, I feel like I've played well," Jones said. "I just have not played a lot. Are there more deserving people? Yes. But I also get why I'm on the ballot. If people want me to go, I'd love to go."
Now in its 11th year, the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and continues until Thursday, July 5 at 4 p.m. EDT. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Shortly after announcing this will be the final season of his storied career, Jones pointed out that the only current stadium he has not visited is Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium.
Via this Final Vote process, Jones might still earn the trip to Kansas City and the chance to add to the memories he has already created this season. The 40-year-old third baseman homered in his season debut and in the first game he played in Atlanta this year.
Having grown up a Dodgers fan, Jones homered at Dodger Stadium on his 40th birthday and then delivered a game-winning, ninth-inning single in his final regular-season at-bat at the historic ballpark.
After hitting a walk-off home run in an 11-inning win over the Phillies and recording three consecutive three-hit games to begin May, Jones suffered a badly bruised left calf that sidelined him for three weeks. The former NL MVP struggled when he returned from the disabled list, but entered Sunday with a seven-game hitting streak.
"If I get to go, I'd love to go and take my kids and have a good time. I know I'm not going to start," Jones said. "I may get an [at-bat], and I might not. It really doesn't matter to me. I just want to have that experience with my kids. If it doesn't happen, we'll go to the [Georgia] Aquarium or the Coke Museum or the beach."
Bourn has positioned himself for a big payday as he is eligible for free agency at the end of this year. The speedy outfielder has hit .302 and already hit a career-high seven home runs. In addition, he has recorded 22 stolen bases and compiled a .350 on-base percentage.
"I really, really hope Michael Bourn gets in there," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You look at the list of All-Stars the fans voted in, and Bourny has been up there or outperformed some of those guys."
A two-time Gold Glove Award winner who has led the NL in stolen bases each of the past three seasons, Bourn has been one of the most consistent components of Atlanta's offense this year.
"I will campaign more for Mikey Bourn than I will for myself," Jones said. "He's been in there every day and he's been the catalyst of our club. He might be our MVP, so why shouldn't he go?"
In addition to the online ballot, fans can use their mobile phones to cast votes via the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Jones, simply text message N5 to 89269, and to vote for Bourn, text N1 to the same number. Message and data rates may apply. Mobile voting in Canada also is available by texting the choices to 101010.
The fun doesn't end there, 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 Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.
The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT)/6:30 p.m. (CDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
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 14-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 6-20. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.comShop. MLB.com will send an email on July 6 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.