Let freedom ring, baby.
All you need is some signal strength at that lake, beach or campsite and you can simply text a message to participate in the Monster All-Star Final Vote. The annual process is under way at MLB.com to determine the 32nd and final roster spots for the AL and NL teams that will play in the 77th All-Star Game on July 11 in Pittsburgh, and although this is a horrifying thought here at your favorite web site, some people no doubt are going to leave their computers for just a while.
It's good to know there is a modern solution for voters in need. Between now and the deadline of 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, you don't have to skip a beat to make an early difference in the balloting. It is the second consecutive year that fans have been able to vote by mobile phone, and this time there are two short codes to know:
In the U.S.: Text the word "VOTE" to 36197.
In Canada: Text the word "VOTE" to 28776.
You will be instantly registered to receive Final Vote ballots. Then, for just 30 cents a ballot (it was 99 cents last year), you will have the freedom to vote from wherever you are. If you are going to be at a Major League ballpark where the home team has a Final Vote candidate, then keep an eye out because you may get a more specific short code in the stadium for that individual player.
Fans who participated in the Final Vote last year helped send Roy Oswalt of the Astros and Scott Podsednik of the White Sox to the All-Star Game. During that voting process, it was obvious how much the mobile vote had added an impact.
Oswalt said his friends back home in Weir, Miss., promised to vote via cell phone.
"And they also told me they're going to send me the phone bill," he added.
Prior to a night game in Chicago that Monday -- about 24 hours into the 2005 Final Vote process -- the White Sox held a "Pause for Pods" during which announcers encouraged fans to vote for Podsednik with their mobile phones. The club also made several PA announcements and message board messages during the game encouraging fans to vote online and via cell phone.
As with the Final Vote in general, the text-vote element probably will just get bigger and bigger. More and more people are comfortable with interacting that way, and some even live for it. Just send in the votes by phone, make a couple of Major Leaguers' dreams come true, and demonstrate your own independence on this 230th birthday of the USA.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.