Get ready for 100 hours of hysteria.
The 10th annual All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint will launch exclusively on MLB.com immediately following Sunday's noon ET announcement of American League and National League starters and reserves for the July 12 Midsummer Classic in Phoenix.
All-Star managers Ron Washington (AL) and Bruce Bochy (NL), in conjunction with Major League Baseball, each will provide the names of five candidates from their respective leagues. The fans' job is to add a 34th and final man to the rosters. Balloting lasts until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, and the winners will be announced shortly thereafter on MLB.com.
For the seventh year in a row, fans also can make their Final Vote selections on their mobile phones, courtesy of Sprint. Considering that this campaign usually coincides with Fourth of July plans, that mobile voting capability has proven to have a great impact.
More than 52 million votes were cast in last year's Final Vote, as Reds first baseman Joey Votto won wire-to-wire and Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher edged Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox in the closest race in Final Vote history.
There will be constant voting, daily updates to keep fans voting, along with marketing genius. What alliances will be formed for key voting blocs in 2011? Remember how "Bran Torino" proved successful for Brandon Inge of the Tigers and Shane Victorino of the Phillies in 2009? Last year, we saw such alliances as Reds-Red Sox (1975 World Series), Nationals and Rangers (Third Base Ticket) and Rox and (White) Sox.
Last year also was a clear example of the power of social media in this endeavor. Get ready for heavy hashtag usage, like #VoteVotto and #SendSwish last year. Swisher's seven-figure following on Twitter might have been the difference in beating Youkilis. Swisher used his Twitter unabashedly and picked up endorsements from such twitterati as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actress Jessica Alba and "The Apprentice" co-star Ivanka Trump.
There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 10-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 9-19. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on July 11 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
For the final phase of All-Star Game voting, fans will be asked to help decide the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2011 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint. That voting will take place on MLB.com during the Midsummer Classic.
The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and 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. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. You also can leave comments on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.