Utley continues to widen voting lead
Phillies second baseman on pace to start All-Star Game
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA — Chase Utley isn’t just coasting down the home stretch. He’s cruising to an easy win among All-Star Game voters.
Another week of voting has widened Utley’s already sizeable lead on Chicago’s Mark DeRosa — he has more than twice as many votes — and remains the National League’s leading vote-getter. All other second basemen will have to be named by NL manager Clint Hurdle to attend the Midsummer Classic.
With 2,645,027 votes, 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 lifted his 23rd home run on Saturday against the Rangers, and has been among the leaders in many offensive categories. He’s had two stretches in which he’s homered in five straight games. The left-handed-hitting slugger started the 2007 All-Star Game, going 0-for-2 in San Francisco at AT&T Park, and played in the 2006 contest, going 1-for-2 in Pittsburgh at PNC Park.
The Phils superstar is in line to make his second straight All-Star start, and this will be Utley’s first career appearance at Yankee Stadium in the final season of the historic ballpark.
Teammate Jimmy Rollins, the reigning NL Most Valuable Player, is 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, 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 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.
Ran Howard, who has struggled this season, has remained in fifth place among first basemen, behind Houston’s Lance Berkman, Chicago’s Derrek Lee, St. Louis’ Albert Pujols and Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder.
It is almost over and there is no way that Chase isn’t going into the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium as the Phillies’ representative. In my opinion, I think Brad Lidge will also be going, while Cole Hamles may have an outside shot of getting there. Sadly, I don’t see anyone else on the team getting there outside of a miracle.