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07/06/08 3:00 PM ET

Cast Final Vote, watch MLB.TV free

Current subscribers can earn discount in MLB.com Shop

Two of the most fun things about being a high-tech baseball fan today -- MLB.TV and the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote -- now go hand-in-hand as Major League Baseball moves closer to its July 15 Midsummer Classic at Yankee Stadium.

The annual Final Vote ballot is under way on MLB.com, presenting fans with five players in each league so that you can decide the 32nd and final roster spot for the American and National League teams. MLB.com has just announced this offer for those who vote in this now time-honored process:

• If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), then you are eligible to receive a one week free trial of MLB.TV Premium from July 11-18. That will amount to five full days of the regular season. A valid e-mail address is required for the offer.

• If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), then you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. That Shop offer expires Aug. 17.

MLB.com will send an e-mail on Friday to all Final Vote voters that will include instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.

All-Star managers Terry Francona of the Red Sox and Clint Hurdle of the Rockies -- in conjunction with MLB -- determined the five players in each league and it's up to you to choose one from each. The balloting will continue until 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, and the winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

AL nominees include outfielder Jermaine Dye of the White Sox, first baseman Jason Giambi of the Yankees, outfielder Jose Guillen of the Royals, third baseman Evan Longoria of the Rays and second baseman Brian Roberts of the Orioles.

NL nominees include outfielder Pat Burrell of the Phillies, outfielder Corey Hart of the Brewers, outfielder Carlos Lee of the Astros, outfielder Aaron Rowand of the Giants and third baseman David Wright of the Mets.

Fans also can vote for the fourth consecutive year by mobile phone. Just text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the Final Vote candidates sent to your handset. To vote for a specific player, reply with the appropriate choice. On the AL ballot, you can reply with one of these alphabetical codes: A1 for Dye, A2 for Giambi, A3 for Guillen, A4 for Longoria or A5 for Roberts. For the NL, it's N1 for Burrell, N2 for Hart, N3 for Lee, N4 for Rowand or N5 for Wright. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555. Standard rate text messaging rates apply.

Last year, fans chose pitchers Chris Young of San Diego and Hideki Okajima of Boston for those final roster spots. Who will it be this time?

When you think about it, MLB.TV and the Final Vote should go hand-in-hand, anyway. There is no better way on the Internet to immerse oneself in Major League Baseball -- not just reading faceless names in stats but watching any live out-of-market games you want at any time. And being that educated should put you in the best possible situation to help decide something as important as whether a certain player should be invited to the All-Star Game or whether he stays home for the break.

Recent history indicates that these free trials of MLB.TV, whenever they do come along, result in a high percentage of new recruits into the MLB.TV Generation. More than a million fans have watched live baseball this way, and more come along all the time. It is a way of life for many, part of the daily baseball tradition.

If you have MLB.TV, then you will be prepared for what is shaping up as perhaps the wildest finish in regular season history. As of this past week, 26 of 30 clubs were within 10 games of some type of postseason position. Only eight will move on to the playoffs, and as is proved again and again, all you have to do is get there.

What better way to scoreboard-watch than with MLB.TV? You can easily toggle back and forth from simultaneous game to game, and it's even more impressive if you have MLB.TV Premium. That comes with MLB.TV Mosaic, the app that lets you control the action with up to six live simultaneous games on one screen. It also comes with the MLB.TV NexDef plug-in, which makes it like watching on TV.

MLB.com also is offering a week-long MLB.TV All-Star Package for only $2.95, to any fans. If you already are an MLB.TV subscriber, then this will come with the territory. It will include such live streaming as the State Farm Home Run Derby, the XM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Game Batting Practice, as well as special programming with exclusive interviews and player access.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.