Powerhouse rosters set for Detroit
Ortiz, Lee pace All-Star voting for AL and NL, respectively
The fans, managers and players have spoken, and we have one tiger of a 76th All-Star Game set for Tuesday, July 12, at the home of the Tigers, Detroit's Comerica Park.
Major League Baseball's fan balloting program determined the American League's nine starting players and the National League's eight, whereas 45 of the 47 remaining pitchers and reserves were determined by the Player Ballot and the two All-Star managers -- Tony La Russa of the St. Louis Cardinals and Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox -- and Major League Baseball.
After weeks and weeks of back-and-forth races in the voting for the American and National leagues, everyone's choices have been heard, and we have two powerhouse rosters as a result.
In the AL, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz blew away the voting, garnering the most votes of any player in baseball, 4,138,141, to start his first game. Ortiz hit a towering home run in last year's Midsummer Classic in Minute Maid Park in Houston.
"I think it's great, because I remember last year there was nothing but Yankees in the lineup," said Ortiz, one of four Red Sox on the team, all of whom are in the starting lineup.
"I think we'll be more comfortable this year. I think there's going to be a lot of Red Sox out there. We're going to feel like we're [home], having the coaches and more players."
Joining Ortiz as first-time All-Star starters for the AL will be Ortiz's teammates, catcher Jason Varitek and outfielder Johnny Damon; first baseman Mark Teixeira of the Texas Rangers; and the Orioles' double-play combination of second baseman Brian Roberts and shortstop Miguel Tejada.
Other elected starters who are now perennial All-Stars are third baseman Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, and outfielders Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Boston's Manny Ramirez.
As a result of voting by Major League players, coaches and managers, the AL All-Star Team's pitching staff will be as follows: starters Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland of the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox; 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays; Kenny Rogers of the Rangers; and the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins.
"It's an honor to have the opportunity to go to the All-Star game and be around all those All-Stars," said Santana. "It's going to be fun and something to remember. Hopefully, I'll represent the Twins the way they should be. Definitely, we'll have some fun."
Relievers named to the AL squad are Joe Nathan of the Twins, Mariano Rivera of the Yankees and B.J. Ryan of the Orioles.
The AL reserves stemming from the Player Ballot are catcher Ivan Rodriguez of the Detroit Tigers; first baseman Paul Konerko of the White Sox; second baseman Alfonso Soriano of the Rangers; third baseman Melvin Mora of the Orioles; shortstop Michael Young of the Rangers; outfielders Garret Anderson of the Angels, Gary Sheffield of the Yankees and Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners; and designated hitter Shea Hillenbrand of the Blue Jays.
Francona, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, has selected first baseman Mike Sweeney of the Kansas City Royals as a reserve and named pitchers Danys Báez of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Bartolo Colón of the Angels, Justin Duchscherer of the Oakland Athletics and Bob Wickman of the Cleveland Indians.
Francona lamented the fact that he had to pick Colon over two of his own players he considered deserving -- starter Matt Clement and reliever Mike Timlin.
"It crushed me," said Francona. "I'm not very happy about it. ... I spent so much time on this. The system is what it is, so you make your decisions according to that, but you're seeing a lot of good players that aren't going."
You're also seeing a lot of good players who are.
In the National League, for example, Derrek Lee, a legitimate Triple Crown candidate, won a long battle for the starting spot at first base, beating out St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols with a few days to go. Lee, a first-time All-Star, led all NL players with 3,560,316 votes, edging Pujols (3,455,017).
"It's an honor," said Lee. "It shows the fans are paying attention. They took notice that I had a good first half and they supported me. It feels great."
Other NL starters are catcher Mike Piazza of the New York Mets; second baseman Jeff Kent of the Los Angeles Dodgers; shortstop David Eckstein of the Cardinals; third baseman Scott Rolen of the Cardinals; and outfielders Bobby Abreu of the Philadelphia Phillies, Jim Edmonds of the Cardinals and Carlos Beltran of the Mets. Lee, Eckstein and each of the three outfielders are first-time winners of fan balloting.
The NL players', coaches' and managers' votes went to catcher Paul Lo Duca of the Florida Marlins; Pujols; second baseman Luis Castillo of the Marlins; shortstop Cesar Izturis of the Dodgers; third baseman Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs; and outfielders Andruw Jones of the Atlanta Braves, Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins and Carlos Lee of the Milwaukee Brewers.
National League pitchers who secured their nominations through the Player Ballot are Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter, Roger Clemens of the Houston Astros, Livan Hernandez of the Washington Nationals, Pedro Martinez of the Mets and Dontrelle Willis of the Marlins. Relievers named to the NL squad are Chad Cordero of the Nationals, Jason Isringhausen of the Cardinals and Brad Lidge of the Astros.
La Russa's reserves are shortstop Felipe Lopez of the Cincinnati Reds; outfielders Moises Alou of the San Francisco Giants, Jason Bay of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks; and pitchers Brian Fuentes of the Colorado Rockies, Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres and John Smoltz of the Braves.
The defending NL champion Cardinals led all teams, with six selections, a fact that Pujols believes says a lot about his club's talent and character.
"It says that we are not selfish," said Pujols. "We play for the team. Just because of that, we've got six All-Stars. We try and win the game, and we try to help each other out. There could be more All-Stars in this room, but that's the way it goes. There's a lot of guys out there that are going to be left behind because there's no room."
Throughout the voting process, baseball fans cast a record 16 million ballots, including a record 11.5 million online at MLB.com. And fan voting isn't close to over yet.
The voting public gets another chance to influence the action with the 2005 Ameriquest All-Star Final Vote, which is available exclusively at MLB.com and through all 30 club sites.
Now in its fourth year, the All-Star Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show and continues until 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The winners will be announced at MLB.com and on ESPN shortly thereafter.
There are 10 nominees, five from each league, and the grand prize is two trips -- one for the AL, one for the NL -- to the All-Star Game as the final man on their league's roster.
The five AL nominees are outfielders Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins and Scott Podsednik of the Chicago White Sox; shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees; and Jeter's teammate and last year's AL Final Vote winner, outfielder Hideki Matsui.
Pitchers have been nominated for the first time in the four-year history of the Final Vote, and make up all five of the NL nominees. San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, Philadelphia Phillies starter Brett Myers and closer Billy Wagner, Houston Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt and Arizona Diamondbacks sinkerballer Brandon Webb round out the contenders.
There will be two ways for fans to vote for the 2005 All-Star Final Vote -- online at MLB.com or on the go from 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 a vote, they'll have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Fans can get the mobile ballot now.
And concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the 76th All-Star Game via the Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage; MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage; and MLB.com Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
And just in case you don't think your vote matters, consider that for the third consecutive year, the outcome of the All-Star Game will have an impact on postseason play, with the team that represents the winning league in this year's All-Star Game once again earning home-field advantage in the 2005 World Series.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.