In the N.L.'s tightest race, a pair of two-time World Series Champion backstops are battling for not only the starting nod in the Midsummer Classic, but the overall N.L. lead in what is shaping up to be an all-time classic race to the finish. The 2012 N.L. MVP, Buster Posey, remains the overall league leader with 2,606,434 votes, while Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals follows with 2,543,588 votes, the second-highest total in the N.L. Posey, who is attempting to make his second consecutive fan-elected start, is batting .340 (48-for-141) with 14 doubles, five home runs and 26 RBI over his last 37 games. Posey, who set a new N.L. All-Star balloting record with 7,621,370 votes in 2012, would become the first Giants player to receive consecutive fan-elected starts since Barry Bonds in 2003-04. Molina, a four-time All-Star overall and a fan-elected starter in 2009 and 2010, has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games and he leads the N.L. with a .352 batting average (second in the Majors). He is aiming to become the fourth player in Cardinals history to earn at least three fan-elected starts, joining Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (12), Albert Pujols (5), Mark McGwire (3) and Scott Rolen (3).
Seven-time All-Star and five-time fan-elected starter Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals has continued his climb among N.L. outfielders, and his 2,385,240 votes now lead the position. Beltran, a fan-elected starter in the 2012 All-Star Game, ranked second among N.L. outfielders in fan voting a year ago. He is currently riding a 14-game hitting streak, which is the longest active streak in the N.L. and the second-longest in the Majors. During the streak, the Puerto Rico native has had eight multi-hit games, six home runs and 15 RBI. It would mark the third consecutive season for a Cardinals outfielder to earn a fan election following his start last season and Lance Berkman's nod in 2011. The Cardinals have had at least one player earn a fan-election in each of the last four seasons, the longest active streak in the N.L. Joining Beltran in the N.L. outfield is Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves, who has received 2,054,225 votes, and Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, who has garnered 1,981,030 votes. Upton, in his first season with the Braves, is seeking his third All-Star appearance and his first fan-elected starting assignment. The top overall selection in the 2005 Draft is tied for fifth in the N.L. with 15 home runs. Harper, who is currently on the disabled list with left knee bursitis, would become just the second fan-elected starter in Nationals history, joining Alfonso Soriano (2006). Last year, the 2012 N.L. Rookie of the Year was the youngest All-Star position player in history and the third-youngest Major League All-Star ever. Five-time All-Star and four-time fan-elected starter Ryan Braun (1,645,094) of the Milwaukee Brewers ranks fourth among N.L. outfielders followed by a very crowded group that includes 2012 All-Star Carlos Gonzalez (1,508,355) of the Colorado Rockies, six-time All-Star Matt Holliday (1,330,471) of the Cardinals, two-time All-Star Andrew McCutchen (1,319,419) of the Pittsburgh Pirates, two-time All-Star Hunter Pence (1,286,163) of the Giants, Shin-Soo Choo (1,274,755) of the Cincinnati Reds, Angel Pagan (1,131,176) of the Giants and Carlos Gomez (1,027,684) of the Brewers.
The right side of the N.L. infield continues to be led by Reds teammates Joey Votto (2,047,945) and Brandon Phillips (2,021,277) as they contend to become the fifth pair of N.L. teammates (sixth time) to receive fan-elected starts at first and second base. The others include Steve Garvey and Davey Lopes of the Los Angeles Dodgers (1979 and 1980), Pete Rose and Manny Trillo of the Philadelphia Phillies (1982), Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros (1997) and Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks of the Milwaukee Brewers (2011). Votto, last year's fan-elected starter and a three-time All-Star overall, was the first Reds first baseman to earn a fan-elected start, and he would become the first Reds player to earn consecutive fan-elected starts since Hall of Famer Barry Larkin (1999-2000). The 2010 N.L. MVP, who leads the N.L. with a .436 on-base percentage, is followed by Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (1,524,517), who leads the N.L. with 59 RBI as he bids for his Midsummer Classic debut. Phillips, who ranks second in the N.L. and leads all Major League second basemen with 55 RBI, maintains a lead over Marco Scutaro (1,717,875) of the Giants, while Matt Carpenter (1,508,314) of the Cardinals remains follows close behind in third place. Phillips, a two-time All-Star, would become the first Reds second baseman to earn a fan-elected start since Hall of Famer Joe Morgan claimed seven consecutive fan elections from 1972-78.
Rounding out the N.L. infield is shortstop Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies, who ranks third overall in the N.L. with 2,443,772 votes. The two-time All-Star, who is aiming for his first fan-elected starting assignment, is followed by Brandon Crawford (1,293,476) of the Giants. Tulowitzki, who was placed on the disabled list earlier this week after suffering a broken rib, would join Dante Bichette (1996), Larry Walker (1997-99) and Todd Helton (2001-03) as the only players in Rockies history to earn a fan-elected starting assignment. In addition, he would become the fourth consecutive different N.L. shortstop to earn a starting bid, joining Hanley Ramirez (2010), Jose Reyes (2011) and Rafael Furcal (2012). Tulowitzki currently leads all Major League shortstops with a .347 batting average, 16 home runs, 51 RBI, 41 runs scored, a .413 on-base percentage and a .635 slugging percentage.
MLB's All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and last year produced a record-shattering total of 40.2 million ballots cast. This year, more than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 25 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.
In addition, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites - online or via their mobile devices - with the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. During the voting period, the All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com will be available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Banco BHD will sponsor online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.
Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 7th. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on Friday, June 28th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, July 4th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).
Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2013 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.
For the fifth consecutive year, this year's ballot features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select the three players in each League who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll is also available online at MLB.com. The 2013 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 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, July 15th. The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; the winner of the 2011 Home Run Derby, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees; Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox; the winner of the 2009 and 2012 Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder of the Tigers; Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles; Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays; and Mike Trout of the Angels. The 10 National League candidates are Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals; Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers; Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves; Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants; Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins; Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds; and David Wright of the Mets.
The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads - totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. - will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers - A.L. skipper Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers and N.L. manager Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.
Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 11th. Now in its 12th season with more than 350 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.
This year's final phase of All-Star Game voting again will 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 and the 30 Club sites via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year's recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16th. The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or mets.com/asg.