PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Burrell needs the fans' help, because he can't help himself. At least not yet. "I guess I better buy a computer, huh?" Burrell said.
Off to one of the best starts in his nine-year Major League career, the Phillies' left fielder is within a few days of strong online voting from making his first All-Star team. He didn't make the National League squad that was announced Sunday afternoon, but has a second chance as one of five finalists for the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote.
"I'd love a chance to go," Burrell said. "We'll see."Teammate Chase Utley earned his third straight nod as the starting NL second baseman, while closer Brad Lidge earned a spot via the players' ballot. Naturally, each supported Burrell. "As many times as possible," Lidge said, asked how many times he plans to vote for Burrell. "He's definitely All-Star-worthy. There's no doubt in my mind. Taking nothing away from the other guys [on the ballot], but he's as good as a lot of the guys who are [already] on the team." Lidge will select Burrell over former Astros teammate Carlos Lee, the Brewers' Corey Hart and the Mets' David Wright. The Giants' Aaron Rowand rounds out the ballot and puts some Phillies in an awkward position. While they support their former teammate, they'll stick with Burrell. "He has a computer, though, so he has the edge," Burrell said of Rowand. In its seventh year, the Final Vote gives baseball fans the chance to select the final player on each squad. Balloting is under way and continues until Thursday at 5 p.m. ET. The winners will then be announced on MLB.com. Fans can vote in two ways -- online now at MLB.com or from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, reply with your choice. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555. After deciding the starters and final player on each team, fans have the chance to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player, presented by Chevrolet via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game. The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by MLB International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game. Former Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu earned his way to the Midsummer Classic via the Final Vote in 2004, and Burrell can, too, if the fans who've attended any of the club's 25 sellouts this season support the home player. Through April 23, while everyone but he and Utley struggled, Burrell carried the Phillies with a .351 average, eight home runs and 23 RBIs. Though he's tailed off, his 21 homers are tied for sixth most in the NL through Sunday. "Pat's had an unbelievable year, and he's a huge part of this lineup," said Utley, who is also good friends and offseason golfing buddies with Rowand. "I'm definitely going to be voting. He better buy a computer. I'll work on [getting him voted in]. You guys work on it, too."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.