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Fans compete to vote most for Burrell

Phils fans compete to vote most for Burrell

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PHILADELPHIA -- Mathematically speaking, the goal sounds straightforward enough.

Four Phillies fans embarked on a 53-hour journey at noon on Tuesday to vote the Phillies' Pat Burrell into his first All-Star Game. They each want to cast an average of 10 votes per minute for the Phillies left fielder. If they do so, their vote total will number in the six-figure range.

There'll be no sleeping or slowing down for Nick Ferraro, of Lancaster, Monica Horwedel of Conshocken, Jason Schatz of Willow Grove and Todd Smith of Oreland. All of them were picked by sports talk radio station WIP to hold vigil at a table outside the upper level of Harry the K's at Citizens Bank Park, using their laptops to vote for Burrell as many times as possible in the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote.

Whichever one of them stays awake the longest and votes the most will receive a jersey personally autographed by Burrell and will attend a Phillies game with 15 friends in Burrell's suite.

Burrell and fellow contenders David Wright (Mets), Aaron Rowand (Giants) and Carlos Lee (Astros) trailed Corey Hart as of Tuesday afternoon. Voting ends Thursday at 5 p.m. ET. The Phillies hope fans will help Burrell in the same way they assisted Bobby Abreu in 2004, when they cast more than 2 million votes.

"No sleep," Ferraro said with a grin. "We'll be alright. It's all for Pat."

The four have some of the best seats in Citizens Bank Park for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday's games between the Phillies and Cardinals. From the upper level of Harry the K's, they look down upon a vast, green area of left field. Philadelphia's skyline spreads out behind them.

Skies were clear on Tuesday, and Smith donned sunglasses to take in the view. He and Schatz had pulled a 12-hour shift at their construction business Monday in order to finish a project so they could take part in the competition.

Ferraro was delivering pretzels for his father's business at 5 a.m. Tuesday when he heard about the competition. When WIP offered him a spot, he didn't hesitate.

"I grabbed a shower and flew down here," Ferraro said. "Here I am."

Off to one of the best starts in his nine-year Major-League career, the Phillies left fielder is within a few strong days of online voting from making his first All-Star team. He didn't make the NL 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. I can't worry about how the voting is going."

In its seventh year, the Final Vote gives baseball fans the chance to select the final player on each squad. The winners will 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.

The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place at Yankee Stadium on July 15 and be televised nationally by FOX, 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 that will also be available on XM Satellite Radio, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.

The Phillies-Mets rivalry has also seeped into this year's Final Vote. New York's Wright poses a challenge to Burrell's All-Star Game berth.

But not if Ferraro, Horwedel, Schatz and Smith can help it.

"We get to kick David Wright out," Horwedel said.

Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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