All-Star balloting underway, exclusively online and mobile

All-Star balloting underway, exclusively online and mobile

Voting is underway for the 87th All-Star Game on July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego, with Sunday's launch of the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot. A traditional responsibility now returns to fans who nearly doubled the all-time All-Star voting record in 2015 as the ballot went digital-only for the first time.

Major League Baseball's All-Star Ballot program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and a process that will span more than two months is perhaps best summarized by last year's top All-Star vote-getter, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, who said: "I started [in 2014] and it was really neat, and then for it to be Derek Jeter's last All-Star Game, to participate in and be on the left side of the infield with him, it was a moment I'll never forget. To be a starter, what that symbolizes is that you're the best guy at that position. I think it's very humbling and it's an honor."

Cast your Esurance MLB All-Star Ballot

The Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot recorded an all-time high of 620 million votes in 2015, eclipsing the previous record total of 391 million votes (2012). For the second consecutive season, it will be conducted exclusively online and via mobile devices at MLB.com, all 30 club websites and the MLB.com At Bat mobile app.

You can vote for starters to the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard a total of 35 times, including a maximum of five valid ballots cast in any 24-hour period -- a new wrinkle in 2016.

"Today's launch of All-Star balloting is a great tradition that allows our fans around the world to participate in the All-Star experience," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "The city of San Diego will undoubtedly provide a wonderful backdrop for all of the events that All-Star Week has to offer, and all of us at Major League Baseball join the Padres in looking forward to a memorable Midsummer Classic this summer."

The ballot will be available in English and Spanish, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually impaired fans. Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese versions of the online ballot will be available in May. Banco BHD will once again sponsor online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com.

Details regarding the unveiling of the 2016 American League and National League All-Star teams will be available in the coming weeks. The AL All-Star team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL All-Star team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads -- totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL -- will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers -- AL skipper Ned Yost of the defending World Series Champion Royals and NL manager Terry Collins of the Mets.

Following the announcement of the two All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. You will be able to again cast votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period. Now in its 15th season with nearly 600 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make Final Vote selections on MLB.com, club sites and mobile devices.

This year's final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans can vote exclusively at MLB.com and the 30 club sites -- online or via mobile devices -- with the 2016 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote. The collective voice of fans will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year's recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

Angels center fielder Mike Trout last year became the first player to win that in consecutive years. In the last four All-Star Games, he has a first at-bat cycle, producing a single, double, triple and homer in each of his first trips to the plate. Whether he will have the opportunity to start again and expand on that will be up to you as the campaign unfolds.

"I take pride in my game and to be an All-Star is a humbling feeling," Trout said. "It's an honor and it's fun. It's for the fans. It's a couple of days, for the fans. I go out there to play my hardest and try to put on a show. It goes by so quick. Just enjoy every minute of it, no pressure, go out there playing my game and try to help the team win."

The theme of last year's balloting clearly was youth, with the best crop of 25-and-under talent ever elected to the jewel event. It will be interesting to see whether similar results are seen this year. Either way, the sheer honor of being on the ballot is a big deal to players.

"You're one of the select few," said Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who had two hits in last year's AL victory, which gave his team home-field edge in a victorious World Series. "You've got to enjoy it, you've got to embrace it, you've got to have fun with it."

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.

The 2016 All-Star Game Presented by MasterCard will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. The All-Star Game will be streamed live on MLB.TV, requiring an initial authentication. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. Visit allstargame.com for more information.

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.