Wright trailing slightly in Final Vote
Mets slugger one of five National League candidates
PHILADELPHIA -- The telephone in Billy Wagner's household in Greenwich, Conn., rang Monday morning. The man of the house and the Mets' lone -- so far -- All-Star was calling in less than 24 hours after he had learned of his All-Star status. So, quite naturally, the conversation that followed was all about David Wright.
"That's the big story in my house," Wagner said Monday afternoon. "David, David, David. Dad's going to the All-Star Game. But it's David Wright, David Wright."
Wagner's place on the All-Star team is secure. He was old news by the time he called home. But Wright has nothing so secure. Without the support of fans, he may be a wallflower next week when baseball takes its annual coffee break and stages the 79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Except that the Wagner family -- that is, William, 9, and Jeremy, 7 -- intends to do whatever it can to win a spot for Wright on the National League roster.
And there is something to be done. Wright is one of five NL candidates involved in the 2008 Monster All-Star Game Final Vote promotion that will determine who fills the 32nd spot on the National League roster. As announced Sunday, Wright, Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell, Astros left fielder Carlos Lee, Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand and Brewers right fielder Corey Hart are in competition for that last position. And after one day of voting, Wright was running a close second to Hart.
Now in its seventh year, the Monster All-Star Game Final Vote affords the public an opportunity to add the finishing touches to the league rosters by electing the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began on MLB.com on Sunday immediately following the Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevy, and it continues until 5 p.m. ET on Thursday. The winners are to be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Major League Baseball announced Monday that 11 million votes had been cast in the first 24 hours. Fans also can cast their votes via their mobile phones by texting the word "Vote" to 36197 to receive the Monster All-Star Game Final Vote candidates. In Canada, fans should text the word "Vote" to 88555.
The All-Star Game 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 that will also be available on XM Satellite Radio, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.
National League manager Clint Hurdle selected Wagner for the Midsummer Classic. No Mets player was voted to the team. Wright came closer than his teammates, placing third among the third basemen -- behind Chipper Jones of the Braves and Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs -- and gaining more votes than any teammate at another position. But after being elected the starting third baseman in 2006 and '07, Wright wasn't added to the team by Hurdle or the players' vote.
But Wright was chosen for the Final Vote competition. The Wagner family was well aware. "I don't know if you can vote more than once, but if you can, David's a lock," Wagner said. "They love David. And I know Glav's boys [the young sons of Tom Glavine] will be votes for David, too.
"I mean, I know they're happy I made it. Now they get to run on the field at Yankee Stadium. That'll be a thrill for them and for me."
Now a six-time All-Star selection, Wagner was a Final Vote candidate in 2006, his first year with the Mets.
The Monster All-Star Game Final Vote has seen nearly 80 million votes cast since its inception in 2002, including a record 23 million last year, when fans chose Hideki Okajima of the Red Sox and Chris Young of the Padres. Previous winners include: A.J. Pierzynski (AL, 2006); Nomar Garciaparra (NL, 2006); Scott Podsednik (AL, 2005); Roy Oswalt (NL, 2005); Hideki Matsui (AL, 2004); Bobby Abreu (NL, 2004); Jason Varitek (AL, 2003); Geoff Jenkins (NL, 2003); Johnny Damon (AL, 2002); and Andruw Jones (NL, 2002).
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.