Joyce joins in fun with All-Star vote update

Joyce joins in fun with All-Star vote update

Joyce joins in fun with All-Star vote update
NEW YORK -- Matt Joyce was right at the heart of the action on Tuesday when Major League Baseball offered up its first balloting update for this year's All-Star Game, to be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, July 10.

The update, which covered the American League and National League, was revealed during a special All-Star Lead-Off event at the MLB Fan Cave, hosted by MLB and FOX Sports and attended by 2011 NL All-Star Matt Kemp, Yankees All-Stars Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, and Joyce, a 2011 AL All-Star outfielder for the Rays.

"I had a blast," Joyce said. "You know, to hang out with those guys, Kemp, Cano, and Granderson -- even to be in the same room and thought of in the same caliber is such an honor. ... It was my first time being in the Fan Cave, and I thought they did a really nice job."

Weekly updates will be announced each Monday (AL) and Tuesday (NL) throughout June, and Rays fans need to get busy if they want to see one of their favorites voted onto this year's AL All-Star team.

"It's just one of those things," said Joyce when asked about the Rays' vote totals. "It's just a little bit of a smaller market. You kind of have to rely on other sources to get the votes."

With 789,434 votes, injured Rays third baseman Evan Longoria stands in third place, behind Adrian Beltre of the Rangers (1,179,864) and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers (886,365). Longoria stands approximately 120,000 votes ahead of Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, B.J. Upton is the only other Rays player to rank among the leaders, as he came in with 277,173 votes, the 15th-highest total among AL outfielders.

Upton allowed himself a chuckle when told the margin he needs to make up in order to catch Texas' Josh Hamilton, who leads all AL players in the voting and leads Upton by more than 2 million votes.

"Hey, he's really good," Upton said.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 9.

The 2012 AL and NL All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 1, on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.

And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.

Joyce, who was one of three Rays to make last year's AL All-Star team, said the Midsummer Classic remains important to players.

"Oh, absolutely," Joyce said. "I think every player, that's on the top of their list, to make an All-Star Game, to go back to an All-Star Game. To get there every year, that's your goal. It's kind of like your mid-point goal. Then, obviously, you want to get to the playoffs and then World Series and what not. [The All-Star Game is] definitely something everybody wants to experience."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.