For the first time, you can get a jump on the engaging annual rite of player-performance balloting and help decide the MetLife All-World Baseball Classic Team. Voting is under way at worldbaseballclassic.com/teamvote and will continue through the March 19 championship game, as fans everywhere get the first chance to pick the most outstanding players of this global tournament.
Ken Griffey Jr., a 2006 All-World Baseball Classic team member who hit .524 with 10 RBIs and three home runs in the inaugural event, will serve as an All-World Baseball Classic Team Ambassador and was in Phoenix encouraging fans to vote. Griffey knows what it takes to earn recognition in fan voting: He was a 13-time All-Star selection, and during his prime he was routinely the Majors' top overall vote-getter.
"One of the high points of my career was playing well for Team USA and being selected as a member of the 2006 All-World Team," Griffey said. "Being included on a squad with some of the best players in the world was an honor. It should be even more special for the members of this year's All-World Baseball Classic Team with fans joining in the voting."
Griffey threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Sunday at the first-round Pool D finale between the U.S. and Canada at Chase Field, televised live on MLB Network.
Votes can be cast for one player at each position and three pitchers. Fan voting counts for one-third of the total points awarded to each player, with the other two-thirds coming from international broadcast media and international sportswriters. The All-World Baseball Classic Team will be announced following the title game March 19 at AT&T Park.
Those named on the previous teams in 2006 and 2009 have included Japan pitcher and two-time tournament MVP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2006 and '09), U.S. shortstop Derek Jeter (2006), Dominican Republic third baseman Adrian Beltre (2006) and Korea designated hitter Hyun-Soo Kim (2009).
"The World Baseball Classic celebrates the game of baseball and the many talented players around the world," said Paul Archey, MLB senior vice president of international business operations. "By incorporating fan voting into the selection of the MetLife All-World Baseball Classic Team, the global baseball community is able to lend its voice to honoring the great players of the tournament."
"Since the inaugural tournament in 2006, fans everywhere have embraced the World Baseball Classic and the outstanding performances of the world's greatest baseball players competing for international bragging rights," said Timothy Slavin, a World Baseball Classic board member. "With this announcement, we're excited to honor and recognize the passion of the fans by giving them a voice in determining the 2013 World Baseball Classic's best of the best."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.