Final Vote is the fans' call to arms

Final Vote is the fans' call to arms

For the first time in the modern era of All-Star Game balloting, fans can finally throw a pitcher some votes to help get him into the game.

All five National League candidates in the Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Final Vote are pitchers. That marks the first time pitchers have been invited as candidates in the Final Vote, which determines the 32nd man on the American League and National League All-Star rosters.

Since pitchers haven't been placed on the fan ballots since voting was returned to the fans in 1970, this is a unique opportunity, indeed.

Although the American League Final Vote candidates are all position players, it turns out pitchers took over the entire field in the National League -- all five candidates are mound men, coming from various arm angles and backgrounds.

You've got Trevor Hoffman, the Padres' closer who's at No. 3 and working his way up the all-time saves chart, and Billy Wagner, the Phillies' lefty closer looking to break into the top 20. Hoffman has four All-Star bids to his credit, Wagner three. They're joined by a trio of right-handed starters looking for their first All-Star bid in the Phillies' Brett Myers, the Astros' Roy Oswalt and the Diamondbacks' Brandon Webb.

This year's American League candidates are Devil Rays outfielder Carl Crawford, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Twins outfielder Torii Hunter, Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui and White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik.

Now in its fourth year, the Ameriquest 2005 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 Wednesday. The winners will be announced on ESPN and MLB.com shortly thereafter.

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 vote, they'll have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Fans can vote now.

All-Star Game 2005

The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, 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, to be held at Detroit's Comerica Park on Tuesday, July 12 at 8 p.m. ET, 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.

Last year, fans sent Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu and Yankees outfielder Matsui's ticket to the All-Star Game as the Final Vote winners for their respective leagues.

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