07/06/05 9:50 AM ET
Podsednik, Oswalt lead Final Vote
Outfielder has narrow edge on Jeter; Hoffman second in NL
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
AL Final Vote Candidates
Statistics through July 5, 2005
NL Final Vote Candidates
Statistics through July 5, 2005
This continues a tradition of growth that hit its high point in 2004, when the program saw more than 10 million votes cast, and the winners were Matsui and Bobby Abreu of the Philadelphia Phillies. Last week, MLB.com announced that it had established a new record with 11.5 million online ballots cast in the Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Game Online Ballot, which concluded June 30 with more than 155 million total votes cast in the online program, also a record.In that vote, Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee beat out Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals to win his first starting nod for the NL in the Midsummer Classic, and scrappy Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein came from behind in the final days to overtake Cesar Izturis of the Los Angeles Dodgers and gain his first All-Star appearance and start. In the AL, Texas Rangers slugger Mark Teixeira and Boston Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon won their inaugural All-Star starts by making stirring last-minute comebacks in the voting. More comebacks could be on the way in the Final Vote, so stay tuned. The votes will be flooding in right up until the 8 p.m. deadline, and the 32nd men will be announced on MLB.com one hour later. The Ameriquest All-Star Final Vote was conceived in 2002 as a way to let fans have the final say in a process that traditionally led to water-cooler debate about players who were not selected and had strong cases. After last year's expansion of rosters to 32 players and with this decision for the final roster spots in the hands of the populace, there can be no debate now. If the past three years are any indication, there will be more grassroots campaigning right until the deadline, not only by clubs representing the nominees but also by fans. MLB.com will provide voting updates during the proceedings. And this year, there are two ways for fans to vote for the 2005 All-Star Final Vote -- online at MLB.com or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans can simply text the word 'VOTE' to 69652 (MYMLB) and be instantly registered to receive the Final Vote ballots. Then, for just 99 cents per ballot, they'll have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Fans can get the mobile ballot now. Already, players were getting this new technology type of support. Prior to Monday night's game in Chicago, the White Sox held a 'Pause for Pods," during which the announcers encouraged fans to use their cell phone to vote for Podsednik. The club also made several announcements and message board messages during the game encouraging fans to vote online and via cell phone. And on Tuesday, Oswalt said his friends from back home in Weir, Miss., promised to dial their votes in via cell phone. "And they also told me they're going to send me the phone bill," he said.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.