WASHINGTON -- One of the most surprising moments leading up to last year's All-Star Game was the late voting surge of Pablo Sandoval, which vaulted the Giants' third baseman over David Wright. Enjoying an MVP-caliber first half, Wright led all third basemen in voting until the final week, when Sandoval -- despite inferior statistics -- shot past him to earn the start.
This year's game will take place on Wright's home turf at Citi Field, but despite another strong first half, he is in danger of losing the starting assignment to Sandoval once again. Wright trailed Sandoval by more than 127,000 votes in the first update of National League balloting, which Major League Baseball released Tuesday. The totals include both online and in-stadium ballots.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via a mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period but can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, fans must be logged into an MLB.com account when submitting any online ballot. To obtain a free MLB.com account, visit www.mlb.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions.
Fans can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll, with the opportunity to select three players in each league whom they would most like to see participate in the event. The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15.
The 2013 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7, on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com on MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game balloting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th 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. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Unlike last year, when Wright's loss of the starting job was truly a snub, the differences between him and Sandoval this season are not nearly as pronounced. The two are actually neck and neck in most statistical categories, though Wright leads the Giants' third baseman by significant margins in on-base and slugging percentage, and he has stolen 11 bases to Sandoval's zero. Still, the disparity between the players was far greater a year ago, when Sandoval won the starting assignment in spite of it.
After MLB released the final tally last July, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson ruffled feathers by tweeting: "Wright vs. Sandoval: A city of 8 million was outvoted by a city of 800,000."
Whether that happens again this year is solely up to fans.
In Tuesday's balloting update, Wright was the only Mets player to crack the top five at any position -- including second base, where Daniel Murphy just wrapped up a month in which he hit .317. Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips leads the position by nearly a quarter-million votes.
Even if Murphy does not make the team, the Mets will undoubtedly have a second All-Star in pitcher Matt Harvey, and perhaps even a third in closer Bobby Parnell. Fans do not vote on pitchers for the Midsummer Classic.