Utley unstoppable in NL All-Star voting
Second baseman’s slump hasn’t affected his popularity
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA — Chase Utley’s recent slump hasn’t made a dent in his popularity with All-Star Game voters.
Another week of voting has widened Utley’s already-sizable lead on Chicago’s Mark DeRosa, and he remains the National League’s leading vote-getter, period. All other second basemen will have to be named by NL manager Clint Hurdle to attend the Midsummer Classic.
Utley has more votes than the Astros’ Lance Berkman, the Yankees’ Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, the Red Sox’s David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez and the Braves’ Chipper Jones.
Utley has been stuck on 22 home runs since victimizing St. Louis’ Todd Wellemeyer on June 13. Still, he’s had two stretches in which he’s homered in five straight games. Utley started the 2007 All-Star Game, going 0-for-2 in San Francisco at AT&T Park, and he played in the 2006 contest, going 1-for-2 in Pittsburgh at PNC Park.
His slump notwithstanding, the Phillies superstar is in line to make his second straight All-Star start. This would be Utley’s first career appearance at Yankee Stadium, and it would come in the final season of the historic ballpark.
Teammate Jimmy Rollins, the reigning NL Most Valuable Player, climbed to fourth among shortstops, behind Florida’s Hanley Ramirez, Houston’s Miguel Tejada and Chicago’s Ryan Theriot.
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, ’60 and ’77; the Polo Grounds held the game in ’34 and ’42; Ebbets Field was the site in ’49; and Shea Stadium hosted the ’64 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.
Ryan Howard, who has struggled this season, has slipped to fifth place among first baseman, behind Berkman, Chicago’s Derrek Lee, St. Louis’ Albert Pujols and Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder.
Looks like it’ll only be Utley who’ll be representing the Phillies as a starter. Now the question is, who else might be representing the Phillies? Looks like Brad Lidge is at least a lock with what he has done so far as the team’s closer.