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All-Star balloting kicks off in Anaheim

All-Star balloting kicks off in Anaheim

ANAHEIM -- Major League Baseball announced the official start of All-Star balloting for the 81st All-Star Game at a press conference on Tuesday at Angel Stadium, the venue for the Midsummer Classic, which will be held on Tuesday, July 13.

MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy, Angels chairman Dennis Kuhl, Anaheim city manager Thomas J. Wood, Angels broadcaster Victor Rojas, Angels center fielder Torii Hunter and Hall of Famer Rod Carew made the announcement.

"Today starts the beginning of All-Star Balloting, which is the largest of its kind by far in professional sports," DuPuy said. "Last season we saw an all-time high with 23.5 million ballots cast and even more than that cast with the Final Vote contest."

More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, with each team having 23 home dates for voting, as well as 100 Minor League ballparks with in-stadium fan balloting concluding on Wednesday, June 23. And every in-stadium ballot will include a sweepstakes entry form with one lucky fan being randomly selected to win a new set of Firestone tires, as well as an all expenses paid trip to Anaheim to throw a Ceremonial First Pitch before the All-Star Game.

Angel Stadium is the first site to begin balloting with the fans having a chance to vote at the stadium through June 15.

"We really believe this is going to be one of the most memorable and exciting All-Star events ever," Kuhl said. "And that's because of the dedication of people like MLB working with the city of Anaheim and the staff here."

Fans can also cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites using the 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint until July 1 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

In addition, Banco BHD will sponsor All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish language ballots available at bhd.com.do and at All-Star balloting terminals across more than 30 branches, through July 1. Additionally, Scotts is the official sponsor of the 2010 Retail All-Star Balloting Program, which begins May 10 exclusively at approximately 1,700 Lowe's stores across the country. In addition to casting their votes, fans will have the opportunity to enter to win a VIP All-Star Week Experience, courtesy of Scotts.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2010 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on July 4. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint, which concludes on Thursday, July 10.

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 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

For the second consecutive year, this year's ballot will also feature the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll with fans having the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby, which will be broadcast live nationally on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET.

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.

Angel Stadium last hosted the All-Star Game in 1989 and also hosted the game in 1967. The NL won the 1967 game, 2-1, behind a 15th-inning home run by Tony Perez in the longest game in All-Star history before it was tied in 2008 with the 15-inning game in at Yankee Stadium. In 1989, Bo Jackson and Wade Boggs hit back-to-back homers to lead the AL to a 5-3 win over the NL with Jackson taking home the Most Valuable Player trophy.

"As a kid you're always watching the All-Star Game with guys like Cal Ripken and Bo Jackson in '89 hitting that big home run," said Hunter, who is a three-time All-Star. "So to be able to be part of that is special."

But the All-Star Game is far from the only event as it's a five-day celebration that includes the 2010 MLB All-Star FanFest, which is a five-day event at the Anaheim Convention Center that serves as the launch for MLB All-Star Week.

The FanFest opens on Friday, July 9, and runs through Tuesday, July 13, and is the world's largest interactive baseball fan event, featuring more than 40 baseball attractions and exhibits at the Anaheim Convention Center.

"It's our baseball version of Disneyland," DuPuy said. "It's 450,000 square feet of everything baseball."

Among MLB All-Star FanFest's attractions are life-sized video batting and pitching cages, clinics from Major League legends, free autograph sessions with former Angels, MLB legends and Hall of Famers, memorabilia and much more.

"I think it's going to be fun for families for come out to FanFest so I'm happy Major League Baseball gave me the opportunity to be a part of this," said Carew, who is a spokesman for the event along with Hunter. "I know the Angels are going to put on a great show."

With events such as FanFest that lead up to the All-Star Game, the economic impact on the host city has ranged from about $50 million to a high of $148.4 million set in 2008 by the Yankees.

"They are bringing more than a great game and a great week," said Wood, who projected an impact of $85 million for the city of Anaheim. "They are bringing investments into this community so we're very pleased and excited about these charitable contributions. But more than that, they are making an investment in the economy."

So with all that the All-Star Week will bring to Anaheim and Angel Stadium, the Angels are certainly excited for it to get started.

"To have some of the greatest players on our field is really an honor," Kuhl said. "We are really looking forward to this. We want to thank MLB for the opportunity for the Angels family, which includes our fans, and we promise to make Major League Baseball, the Angels and the players proud."

Rhett Bollinger 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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