Hanley up in tight All-Star race at short
A mere 200K votes separate top three in NL fan balloting
One of the closest campaigns in All-Star history has a new leader. Again.
Florida's Hanley Ramirez is back on top again in the voting to be the National League's starting shortstop after regaining the lead from Houston's Miguel Tejada, according to the latest update released Tuesday by Major League Baseball.
Ramirez, who held the lead until the first week of June, when Tejada moved ahead, has been closing the gap recently. Ramirez outpolled Tejada 296,831 to 158,055 last week to take over first place by 70,664 votes. If Ramirez can hold on, he would become the second Marlin to win the fan balloting. Gary Sheffield was elected by the fans to start at third base in 1993, though Sheffield began that season with San Diego.
With only eight days left to vote, there's still plenty of time for the race to change again. Ryan Theriot of the Cubs is in third place, less than 140,000 votes behind Tejada, followed by Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies and Jose Reyes of the Mets.
The leaders at the other positions remained unchanged with Houston's Lance Berkman leading at first base, Philadelphia's Chase Utley on top at second base and Atlanta's Chipper Jones ahead of the field at third base. The Cubs have three players in line to start -- outfielders Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome and catcher Geovany Soto.
Cincinnati's Ken Griffey Jr. leads Milwaukee's Ryan Braun by 175,176 ballots in the battle for the third outfield spot.
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 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 Sunday, 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.
And 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.
Utley has already surpassed his vote total from last year (2,112,142) and now has 2,179,006 votes, more than any player in either league. Utley's lead of more than 1.23 million votes over Chicago's Mark DeRosa is the largest margin held by any candidate in either league.
Berkman added to his lead over Derrek Lee and is ahead of the Cubs first baseman by 528,843 votes. Albert Pujols of St. Louis, Milwaukee's Prince Fielder and Philadelphia's Ryan Howard are the others in the top five at the position.
Jones increased his margin over Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs to more than 800,000. David Wright of the Mets and Bill Hall of the Brewers are in third and fourth place, respectively.
At catcher, Soto is 579,972 votes in front of Brian McCann of Atlanta. Jason Kendall of Milwaukee moved past Yadier Molina of St. Louis for third place by just 5,000 votes.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.