Pujols top vote-getter for National League
Brewers lead at two positions, sit second at every other
First in the National League Central, second in the National League voting booth?Two Brewers are leading at their positions, according to the first weekly update on balloting for the 2009 All-Star Game. But six of their teammates are running second at their positions.
Among other highlights of the early voting trends, Albert Pujols of the All-Star-host Cardinals is leading all players, and suspended Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez is very much in contention for his first NL start.The two Brewers who are leading are in the outfield, where Ryan Braun leads everyone with 663,164 votes, and at shortstop, where J.J. Hardy (403,269) has a slim lead over the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez (365,746). At every other spot, Brewers are running shotgun. This includes second base, even though Rickie Weeks was lost for the season a week ago with an injury to his left wrist. The overall vote leader, appropriately enough, is Pujols, as much as anyone the face of the 80th Midsummer Classic, which will be played in Busch Stadium on July 14. Pujols' total of 842,058 votes is about 167,000 more than anyone else has yet tallied in the league, and is nearly double the number recorded by the first-base runner-up, Milwaukee's Prince Fielder (427,284). A position-by-position snapshot: At second base, Weeks (401,918) trails the Phillies' Chase Utley, who is second among all players with 675,596 votes. At short, the nearly 37,500-vote differential between Hardy and Ramirez reflects the tightest race in the early going. At third, three-time All-Star David Wright (454,449) of the Mets paces the Brewers' Bill Hall (371,950). Behind the plate, Yadier Molina (451,368) is the Cardinals' second positional leader. He is running nearly 67,600 votes ahead of Milwaukee's Jason Kendall. In the outfield, the guys on the heels of Braun include a scrum of All-Star veterans, with the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano (545,354) and the Mets' Carlos Beltran (476,843) in line for starts by running second and third. The outfield's second tier is comprised of Ramirez (442,763), the Brewers' Mike Cameron (432,034) and Raul Ibanez (399,969) of the Phillies. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint 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 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint 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 Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com. The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.