With the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote active until 4 p.m. ET on Friday, three MLB legends and current TBS broadcasters joined in the debate during a national conference call with media on Tuesday.
Cal Ripken Jr. is going with Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw in the National League and Twins second baseman Brian Dozier in the American League. Pedro Martinez and Ron Darling each side with Mets closer Jeurys Familia in the NL, but Pedro is voting for Dozier in the AL, while Darling believes Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner is the deserving AL pick.
Darling and Ripken will be in the booth to see Gardner and Bogaerts when TBS broadcasts its first of 13 regular-season games this Sunday when the Yankees play the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Martinez, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 26, resumes his role as TBS studio analyst. Here is what they had to say about their Final Vote picks, in order of response:
"I'm lucky enough to watch Familia every day, and he's had an amazing year. I think it's going to be difficult for him to garner enough votes to beat out Kershaw or Tulowitzki. He didn't get the closer job until Mejia was suspended, and once he got it, he's been as good as anyone in baseball. He has seven saves of more than an inning, which is unheard of. He's gone above and beyond, and I'd like to see him rewarded because of that.
"I'll stick up for Gardner in the American League, I hope he [wins the vote]. They've both been their team MVPs and it would be nice if they were rewarded for that."
"Mine are more sentimental choices. I know that the game matters for home-field advantage in the World Series, and if I'm in the manager's seat, I'd look at the make-up of the club and add a specialty piece. I can't imagine the way that Clayton Kershaw's pitched the last few years, [penalizing him for] looking a little bit human this year. ... I would vote for him and his body of work.
"Brian Dozier from Minnesota, I really enjoy watching him play and compete. He jumps out at me, but it's not to slight anyone else on the list."
"I have to agree with Ron on Familia, because when you look at the numbers, you don't really stop to think of the importance he has had for the Mets. The Mets had [reliever] Bobby Parnell go down, then [closer] Jenrry Mejia came up and got suspended. If Familia wasn't there, where would the Mets be, regardless of [Matt] Harvey and [Jacob] deGrom and those guys? The kid has done an outstanding job, and because of the importance of what he means to the team and how steady he has been, I think he deserves a chance.
"On the other side, Dozier has done some unbelievable things for the Minnesota Twins, and probably the biggest reason they are having the success they are having this year is because of what he does."
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The 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote (#FinalVote) will include a social balloting element as Twitter support from candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward such candidates' final vote totals. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, any public tweet that includes a hashtag designated for a candidate will be tabulated as part of that candidates' overall Final Vote total used to determine the AL and NL winners.
During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (7 p.m. ET air time, 8:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive 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.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.