Utley is looking likely to suit up as a starter for the National League All-Star Squad at the 79th Midsummer Classic. The Phillies superstar with the special left-handed stroke was the leader among National League second basemen when the early voting results were released Wednesday.
With 537,788 votes, Utley is more than 350,000 votes ahead of Houston’s Kazuo Matsui, who is in second place. The votes are well-deserved, as Utley has been one of the most dangerous hitters in the NL this season.
“He does everything for us,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He’s one of the big keys to our team. He helps us in a lot of ways.”
Utley started in the 2007 All-Star Game, going 0-for-2 in San Francisco, and played in the 2006 contest, going 1-for-2 at PNC Park.
The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game, being held at Yankee Stadium in its final season, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD, and televised 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, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
The Midsummer Classic will be the fourth held at Yankee Stadium and the eighth in New York City. The Yankees previously hosted the All-Star Game in 1939, 1960 and 1977; the Polo Grounds held the game in 1934 and 1942; Ebbets Field was the site in 1949; and Shea Stadium hosted the 1964 tilt.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Wednesday, July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Starting rosters will be announced during the 2008 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 6. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote at MLB.com.
The voting doesn’t end there. 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 2008 All-Star Game MVP vote at MLB.com.
Other Phillies could join Utley. Ryan Howard, who has gotten hot after batting .163 in his first 35 games, ranks fifth in the voting among first basemen. Reigning NL Most Valuable Player Jimmy Rollins ranks fifth among shortstops, and Pat Burrell ranks sixth among outfielders.
Chase is the leading vote getter? Never thought I would ever hear that a Phillies’ regular would actually be the National League in votes leader for the All-Star Game. Hey, Chase, take a vow, you deserve it, man. Now, if we can just get a teammate or two of yours into the starting line-up.