One more day to vote for Roberts
O's second baseman needs fan support to make All-Star Game
TORONTO -- Time's running out to rock the vote, and Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts continues to trail his competition in the All-Star Final Vote balloting. The assorted fans have already broken the existing record for votes in the contest, but Roberts trails balloting leader Evan Longoria, a rookie third baseman from Tampa Bay.
Other candidates include New York's Jason Giambi, Chicago's Jermaine Dye and Kansas City's Jose Guillen. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said he's already tried to swing his support to Roberts, but to no avail.
"My son called me today and told me about it," said Trembley. "I'm not computer savvy enough to look at all that stuff and people don't give me updates. But I'm hoping Baltimore Orioles fans will vote for Roberts. I think he's deserving to make the team. That's not to say that those other guys aren't, but I think sometimes you've got to back your own guys."
Roberts, a switch-hitter, is batting .292 with seven home runs and 25 stolen bases in his first 86 games. The two-time All-Star set a team record with 50 doubles in 2004 and already has 32 this season, putting him on pace to break it. Roberts is leading the American League in doubles and triples (seven), putting him in line for an interesting double feat.
Still, the second baseman refused to campaign for the job or say what it would mean to be elected by the voting public.
"There's a lot of guys having good years," he said recently about the Final Vote. "It's not the end of the world [if I lose]."
It may not be the end of the world, but it would be a disappointment to the Orioles and their fans. Baltimore has exceeded expectations in the first half of the season, and Roberts has been a big part of that effort. The Orioles have had only one All-Star in eight of the last nine seasons, and Roberts could be in line to change that.
Entering this year, the Monster All-Star Game Final Vote program saw nearly 80 million votes cast since its inception in 2002, including a then-record 23 million last year, when fans chose pitchers Hideki Okajima of the Boston Red Sox and Chris Young of the San Diego Padres. This year, the totals have already surpassed 33 million votes.
Previous winners of the Monster All-Star Game Final Vote include A.J. Pierzynski (AL) and Nomar Garciaparra (NL) in 2006; Scott Podsednik (AL) and Roy Oswalt (NL) in 2005; Hideki Matsui (AL) and Bobby Abreu (NL) in 2004; Jason Varitek (AL) and Geoff Jenkins (NL) in 2003; and Johnny Damon (AL) and Andruw Jones (NL) in 2002.
The 100-millionth vote in Final Vote history was expected to be cast during the 2008 proceedings.
Once the Final Vote has been decided, there is still work to do. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the 79th All-Star Game through the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.
The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage that will also be available on XM Satellite Radio, and MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.