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All-Star options still open for fans

All-Star options still open for fans

Yogi Berra could have been talking about a lot of things when he said, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

One thing that could have been on his mind was voting for the 76th All-Star Game, which will be played Tuesday, July 12, at Comerica Park in Detroit.

Now that balloting is complete for the starting position players for the All-Star Game, it's time for Yogi's mantra to come into play once more.

Fans have quite a few more opportunities to make choices and have them heard after 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 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The 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, the two All-Star Team managers -- Terry Francona of the Red Sox and Tony La Russa of the Cardinals -- and Major League Baseball.

But as far as voting goes, it ain't over. Not by a longshot. Here are your other options once the starters are decided on:

1. Final Votes

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.

Last year, fans sent Philadelphia outfielder Bobby Abreu to his first Midsummer Classic and also punched New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui's ticket to the All-Star Game.

This time, 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 their cell phones. Fans can simply text the word "VOTE" to 69652 (MYMLB) and be instantly registered to receive Final Vote ballots. Then, for just 99 cents a ballot, they'll have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Fans can pre-register for the mobile ballot now.

The Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Final Vote will conclude on Wednesday, July 6, at 8 p.m. ET. The two winners will be announced on ESPN and MLB.com shortly thereafter.

"The idea was born from the annual media debate over which excluded All-Star caliber players deserved to be at the Midsummer Classic the most," said Gregg Klayman, Director of Fantasy and Interactive games for Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the creator of the Final Vote concept in 2002. "We figured it made the most sense to let the public have the final say, especially since the All-Star Game was created for the fans.

"The success of the All-Star Final Vote program has shown that baseball fans love the opportunity to be the ones who determine the true outcome to these debates."

2. The Player Ballot

During the final week of fan balloting, the Player Ballot was being decided behind the scenes. This separate ballot of managers, coaches and players is conducted by Major League Baseball for the purpose of selecting an additional eight position players and eight pitchers (five starters and three relievers) in each league.

This vote has paved the way for players who previously might not have gotten the chance to be recognized, particularly middle relievers and setup men like Brendan Donnelly and Shigetoshi Hasegawa (2003) and Francisco Rodriguez (2004).

3. The MVP

For the third straight year, fans around the world will have the opportunity to participate in deciding the outcome of the Midsummer Classic when they cast their votes 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.

Beginning in the sixth inning of the Midsummer Classic, fans can cast their votes for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player online at MLB.com. The voting will continue until the MVP is announced immediately following the end of the game.

The online fan vote will count for 20 percent, with the other 80 percent coming onsite from the Baseball Writers Association of America and the announcers from the All-Star Game's three broadcast rights-holders: FOX Sports, ESPN Radio and MLB International.

Immediately following the conclusion of the All-Star Game, the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player will receive the Arch Ward Trophy, which was first presented in 1962 as a tribute to the man who founded the All-Star Game in 1933.

Some recent winners of the award include Derek Jeter, Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Garret Anderson and last year's winner in Houston, second baseman Alfonso Soriano of the Texas Rangers.

So strap yourself in and get ready for a great ride, but make sure you get all your votes in first.

The 76th All-Star Game is coming soon and everyone can be a part of it.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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