Rays in need of All-Star support

Rays in need of All-Star support

ANAHEIM -- The latest 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot tabulation was announced on Monday, and the Rays are going to need some help from their fans if any players are going to get elected to this year's Mid-Summer Classic.

"I would vote several guys in here, obviously," Rays slugger Steven Souza Jr. said. "Start with our pitching staff. It's been phenomenal all year long."

No Rays players currently rank among the AL leaders.

"I guess the Tampa fans have to step up a little bit," said Souza with a smile.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, July 2, at 11:59 p.m. ET. For the first time, voting is exclusively online, where fans may submit up to 35 ballots.

Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.

Following the announcement of the 2015 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 14, watch the 2015 All-Star Game live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2015 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The idea of being an All-Star means a lot to every Major League player.

"The highest honor at the midpoint," Souza said. "It would be great to be recognized by the fans [to become an All-Star]... Just to be compared to some of the great players in the game would make getting elected humbling. It would be a blast."

Like most players, Souza was a fan of the All-Star Game while growing up in Seattle.

Souza vividly remembers the 2001 All-Star Game in Seattle featuring Cal Ripken Jr. playing in his final All-Star Game.

"When we had it in Seattle, Ripken hit his last home run in an All-Star Game," said Souza who watched the game on TV. "Watching [Ken Griffey Jr.] go out there, Torii Hunter, [Barry] Bonds. All those memories are pretty cool watching the greats gather together, it's fun to watch."

MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of All-Star Week festivities.

The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

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