07/06/08 10:16 PM ET
Fans can make Wright an All-Star
Mets third baseman among five on NL Final Vote ballot
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
The Mets' third baseman and four others are involved in the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote that will determine who fills the 32nd spot on the National League roster. Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell, Astros left fielder Carlos Lee, Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand and Brewers right fielder Corey Hart are Wright's competition.
Now in its seventh year, the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote gives 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 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.
The vote for the National League player will be a referendum on Wright's popularity. Now in his fifth season, he is the Mets' most widely embraced player.
If Wright wins, he will join Billy Wagner at Yankee Stadium on July 15 for 79th All-Star Game, the last one to be staged at The House That Ruth Built. Wagner was involved in the Final Vote in 2006, his first season with the Mets. He wasn't elected, but he was named to the team last year. And he will be the Mets' lone representative if Wright does not win the vote. The Mets had four All-Stars last year and six in 2006. Wright was elected both years.
"It was something special to be involved the last two years," Wright said Sunday. "And if I get back, that'll be great. But there are a lot of deserving guys, and if I don't make it, I'll go home and get some rest and have a strong second half."
Wright lagged well behind Atlanta's Chipper Jones and Chicago's Aramis Ramirez in NL fan voting. His standing in the balloting, however, probably was more a reflection of the team's uneven performance than of his performance and popularity. He had acknowledged as much Saturday, when he said, "I'd love to go. But I understand we've dug a hole for ourselves as a team."
Though his batting average through Sunday (.286) was 21 points lower than his pre-2008 career average, he was leading the Mets in RBIs with 66, home runs with 16, on-base percentage with .382 and slugging percentage with .501. His RBI total was tied for fifth in the league.
Wright, who participated in Pittsburgh two years ago, has little interest in participating in the State Farm Home Run Derby this year.
"I don't see myself one-upping what I did in Pittsburgh," he said. He was a finalist in that competition, won by Ryan Howard.
Major League Baseball has created two methods for fans to participate in the Final Vote -- online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to their phones. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555. Standard rate text messaging rates apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details.
Fans will once again have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 79th Major League Baseball 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, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.