Shortstop David Eckstein, who has never been an All-Star, passed Cesar Izturis on Thursday. Mark Grudzielanek, meanwhile, trails Los Angeles' Jeff Kent by more than half a million votes at second base, but he is in second position at the keystone corner.
So it's not out of the question that the National League's All-Star starting infield could all be wearing the "birds on the bat." The only way that will happen, though, is if fans get online and vote. And vote, and vote. An online surge pushed Pujols into a starting spot two years ago, and it could happen again.
The 2005 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet, which will air live on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday, July 3. This special program will feature the announcement of the 17 elected starters, as determined by the fan balloting program, and 45 pitchers and reserves, as determined by the player ballot and the two All-Star Team managers -- the Cardinals' Tony La Russa and Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox -- and Major League Baseball.
Immediately following the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Selection Show, fans will have the opportunity to select the final position player for each League's 32-man roster at MLB.com. The Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Final Vote will provide fans the opportunity to cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a three-day period.
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 ballot, they'll have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. pre-register for the mobile ballot now.
The Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Final Vote will conclude on Wednesday, July 6 at 7 p.m. CT. The two winners will be announced on ESPN and MLB.com shortly thereafter.
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 televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
Until those times come, fans can continue to vote at MLB.com and StLCardinals.com. Voting at Busch Stadium ended on Sunday. Online balloting runs through June 30.
A few other Cardinals are still in the mix at their respective spots, but longer shots than their teammates. Yadier Molina dropped to fifth among catchers, with a lot of ground to make up on All-Star institution Mike Piazza. Larry Walker is hanging in sixth among outfielders in what may turn out to be his final big-league season. And Reggie Sanders, despite an excellent season, is down in 15th place in outfield balloting.
Pujols is a three-time All-Star at three different positions; he'll be going for his first repeat performance at a position this year. Rolen has represented the National League in each of the past three seasons, while Edmonds is a three-time All-Star.
Three Cardinals were starters in 2004 in Houston, with Pujols and Rolen being joined by Edgar Renteria. Rolen was the NL's leading vote-getter in 2004, and Pujols led the league in '03. Walker (five times), Sanders (once) and Grudzielanek (once) have all been All-Stars. Molina, like Eckstein, has never been selected to the Midsummer Classic.