Tejada leads O's on All-Star ballot
Baltimore's Markakis gets first chance for fans' votes
The ballots are out, and the fans can begin making their judgments next week. Baseball's All-Star ballots have been released and will begin their run at Camden Yards on Tuesday. Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada, a four-time All-Star and holder of the game's longest active consecutive games played streak, heads the list of available Orioles.
Tejada hasn't missed a regular season game since 2000 and hasn't missed an All-Star Game since 2003, the year after he won the American League's Most Valuable Player Award. Tejada was Baltimore's only All-Star last season, but catcher Ramon Hernandez received strong consideration and is back on the ballot again.
Former All-Stars Melvin Mora and Brian Roberts also are on the ballot again, and both are hoping for bounce-back seasons from last year's statistics. Right fielder Nick Markakis, who already has blossomed into Baltimore's No. 3 hitter as a second-year player, will be on the ballot for the first time in his career.
Jay Gibbons and Corey Patterson also are listed in the outfield for Baltimore, and Aubrey Huff is slotted at first base, which means that two veterans weren't named to the ballot. Jay Payton and Kevin Millar -- neither of whom has ever played in an All-Star Game -- both were left off the ballot this year due to other worthy Baltimore candidates.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2007 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Thursday, June 28 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans around the world will again have the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster 2007 All-Star Final Vote. The vote will begin immediately following the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1.
Selecting the rosters isn't the end of the fun in 2007, either. Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will have exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
Hernandez was a candidate for the final player slot last year, but ultimately he lost out. Payton, who missed the start of the season with a sore hamstring, is expected to log regular playing time with the Orioles and may wind up as a popular write-in candidate. Both have yet to play this season but are expected to return soon.
Starting pitcher Erik Bedard also may garner All-Star status, but you can't vote for pitchers. They're not on the ballot, and they'll be named to the All-Star teams after the fans choose the starting lineups.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.