Whether you're at a barbecue or at the lake or out at the old ball game, it's easy to help decide those 32nd and final roster spots for the 78th All-Star Game on July 10 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. It's even easier than in years past, and this time it's also free to fans in Canada and the U.S. except for your carrier's standard text message fees that may apply.
The shortcode to know is 36197 in the U.S. and 88555 in Canada. You can vote in one of three ways by sending a text message to that number. First, you can text the code associated with your favorite player (i.e. A1) to the shortcode. Second, you can text "AL" to the shortcode anget the entire AL ballot. Third, you can text the word "Vote" to the shortcode and receive both the AL and NL ballots.
American League choices besides Halladay will be Jeremy Bonderman of the Tigers, Kelvim Escobar of the Angels, Pat Neshek of the Twins and Hideki Okajima of the Red Sox.
National League choices will be Tom Gorzelanny of the Pirates, Roy Oswalt of the Astros, Brandon Webb of the Diamondbacks, Chris Young of the Padres and Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs.
"Voting for the Final Man using your mobile phone is easy and fast," said Adam Ritter, vice president of wireless for Major League Baseball Advanced Media. "Clubs can promote their players on TV, the radio and in the ballpark, and fans can vote with the one thing they virtually carry with them everywhere, their mobile phone."
Indeed, there will be a lot of that happening within Major League ballparks during this voting period. For example, each time Nomar Garciparra came up to bat last year at Dodger Stadium during the Final Vote period, the DodgerVision board showed a "Vote Nomar" button and the texting info. Fans there in the park reached for their mobile phones and added to his vote total. Garciaparra set the record for most Final Votes with nearly 4 million.
Remember the 2005 Final Vote, when the mobile component was first added? Oswalt was the NL winner that year, and he told MLB.com that his friends back home in Weir, Miss., had promised to vote via mobile phone. "And they also told me they're going to send me the phone bill," Oswalt added.
Now Oswalt is back on the same NL ballot. It is very likely that more of those people in Weir, Miss. -- and throughout the Astros' fandom -- will be sending text messages on his behalf. He will have plenty of competition again, and it won't be surprising if the mobile vote becomes more of an X-factor each year as voting by phone -- a staple for American Idol viewers -- becomes even more of a fact of life.
Results of the Monster All-Star Final Vote will be announced shortly after balloting closes Thursday evening. Then there will be another brief break in the voting action, and you'll be back in action the following week. 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 via the Monster 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.
The 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.