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Royals seek first-time Classic trips

Royals seek first-time Classic trips

The eight Royals on the All-Star Game ballot have a common aspiration: Reaching the Midsummer Classic for the first time.

Although none of the Royals on this year's ballot have been All-Stars, now comes their chance as fan balloting began Wednesday for the July 14 game at Busch Stadium St. Louis.

Two of the Royals' newcomers, center fielder Coco Crisp and first baseman Mike Jacobs, should grab a share of the fans' attention. Crisp, as the leadoff batter, has been reaching base and scoring runs often. Jacobs, in the heart of the order, has been pounding homers and driving in runs.

"It'd be real nice," Jacobs said. "Hopefully with the fan interest we're hoping to generate with the new stadium, people will come out and it only takes a couple minutes to fill out a ballot. It's kind of a popularity contest anyway, but hopefully people will vote for us."

Reminded that voters can vote online, Jacobs grinned and said: "Maybe I should sign up for that. I could vote for myself a bunch of times."

No need to sign up.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 10:59 p.m. CT.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.

And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.

In-stadium balloting begins at the newly renovated Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday, April 29, with a game vs. the Blue Jays and ends on Thursday, June 18, against the Diamondbacks.

Crisp and Jacobs have quite a cast surrounding them, of course.

The Royals' impressive start should stir up support, too, for such longtime Kansas City favorites as left fielder David DeJesus and third baseman Mark Teahen. Teahen, however, is on the ballot at second base, where he started the season.

"Hopefully I'll get some Kansas City votes for sure," DeJesus said. "It's one of those things that I try to do my best, and I hope people see that. You're not really worried about making the All-Star team, just worried more about winning. What we have in our [clubhouse] is really special now, and hopefully we'll just keep it rolling."

Teahen has moved to third in the absence of Alex Gordon, the third-base nominee, who had hip surgery and might not return until shortly before the All-Star Game. Right fielder Jose Guillen also has been out with a hip injury but is expected back in the lineup Saturday.

Also on the ballot are veteran catcher Miguel Olivo and second-year shortstop Mike Aviles.

There is no designated hitter on the ballot, so Billy Butler was not included.

"We're putting a better product out on the field and getting more people interested in Kansas City, and hopefully that'll help anyone who's on the ballot," DeJesus said.

The only players on the current Royals roster who have been All-Stars are pitchers Joakim Soria (2008), and Gil Meche ('07). Pitchers are selected by the managers.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

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

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