Sometimes you don't know until there are two out in the ninth, when a Michael Young of Texas steps up to the plate and ruins a Trevor Hoffman save with a triple that gives the American League yet another victory in the All-Star Game.
That is what happened last year, and now it is time again to return to All-Star voting mode and help decide who follows Young for this year's prestigious honor. The 78th All-Star Game begins at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and for the fifth consecutive year, fans around the world will have the opportunity to help decide the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award, presented by Chevrolet, by participating in the Monster 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.
You can begin casting votes for the award starting with the sixth inning, by which time some strong candidates will have emerged. The voting will continue until the MVP is announced immediately following the end of the game.
The online fan vote will count for 20 percent, with the other 80 percent coming onsite from the Baseball Writers Association of America and the announcers from the All-Star Game's three broadcast rights holders: FOX Sports, ESPN Radio and MLB International.
Immediately following the conclusion of the All-Star Game, the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player will receive the Arch Ward Trophy, which was first presented in 1962 as a tribute to the man who founded the All-Star Game in 1933. That first presentation went to Leon Wagner of the Los Angeles Angels and to Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers, because two Midsummer Classics per year were played in those days.
It is the final and important step in a remarkable run of fan participation in this All-Star Game. It started with your voting for the starting position players in the game, a process that began in late April on MLB.com and with offline balloting included at all MLB parks. It continued when fans cast a record 23 million votes at MLB.com in the Monster All-Star Final Vote, a process that sent Chris Young of the Padres and Hideki Okajima of the Red Sox to this All-Star Game as the 32nd and final roster selections.
Now, who will be your choice for the MVP? Follow the game closely, because you have another important role in online balloting.
It is the 45th anniversary of the All-Star Game MVP, dating back to that summer of '62 when Wills of the Dodgers and Wagner of the Angels were each named MVP at a time when they played two All-Star Games instead of just one. Other legends who have won this award have included Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson, Gary Carter, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr., Bo Jackson and Cal Ripken Jr. Of course, there was no fan participation in any of their selections.
These are the players who have won the award since the fan vote was factored in:
2003: Garret Anderson of the Angels
2004: Alfonso Soriano of the Rangers
2005: Miguel Tejada of the Orioles
"I'm not going to lie," Young said after receiving his trophy last year at PNC Park. "This is a pretty big highlight in my baseball career. I think everyone dreams of having a big All-Star Game. Even coming to the All-Star Game is humbling enough, but to be in this situation now where I have an All-Star Game MVP is pretty exciting."
"I'm just happy, I'm really happy that they gave me the honor," Tejada said after fans helped grant him the honor the previous year in Detroit. "I just want to work harder and harder every day in everything that I do. When I get an award like that, my family is more proud of me. So this makes me more proud and work harder because my family is really happy."
The real question is, will you vote for a National Leaguer? The last time a player from that league was All-Star MVP was Mike Piazza in 1996. Of course, that's the last time that league actually won this annual showcase.
Whichever player you choose, just choose carefully. It's a grand tradition, and these days you are a part of it. History awaits your verdict.
The 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which will determine home-field advantage in the 2007 World Series, 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. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game in addition to its other live coverage from San Francisco. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of all festivities surrounding the All-Star Game.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.