Attending a major league baseball game is not complete unless you fill out an all-star ballot.
Ever since I introduced this phenomenon to my wife several years ago at a Pittsburgh Pirates game, she has taken a road well-traveled while making her selections and that is side with your favorite players. Or shall I say, vote for players from her favorite team.
Once upon a time, that technique was abused at certain stadiums when fans would stuff the ballots. Find it somewhat fishy, specifically in 1976 when five of the eight position players were occupied by members of the Cincinnati Reds.
No longer is that the case - especially with the influx of internet technology. Voting for the most-deserving player has taken precedence.
Today marks the unveiling of Major League Baseball's All-Star ballots for the game scheduled July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The Matt Kemps of the world are sure to be among the top vote-getters as voting winds down in time for Selection Sunday on July 1.
As America watches the vote totals fluctuate from week to week, there is already one All-Star team forming which would challenge most Major League teams. And that is one comprised of players on the disabled list.
Just two full weeks into the regular season, and already the line is forming for prominent names out for the season. For starters, there is designated hitter Victor Martinez (Detroit). He is joined by a pair of closers who underwent Tommy John surgery - Ryan Madson (Cincinnati) and Brian Wilson (San Francisco) - who won't return until at least 2013.
Outfielders on this M*A*S*H unit contains depth. Take your pick who starts between Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford, Chris Young (Arizona), Brett Gardner (New York Yankees), B.J. Upton (Tampa Bay) and Grady Sizemore (Cleveland).
Lance Berkman (St. Louis), who just joined the 15-day DL because of a strained calf, gets the nod at designated hitter, while first baseman Ryan Howard (Philadelphia) is still trying to recover from a ruptured Achilles' tendon.
No timetable is set for the return of another Phillie, second baseman Chase Utley, while it's nearly been a full calendar year since his backup - Baltimore's Brian Roberts (concussion symptoms) - last appeared in a game. Shortstop Stephen Drew (Arizona) continues to rehab after fracturing his ankle last July.
Topping the staff of starting pitchers are Tim Hudson (Atlanta) and Chris Carpenter (St. Louis). Relief is not a problem with the likes of Drew Storen (Washington), Joakim Soria (Kansas City) and Kyle Farnsworth (Tampa Bay).
Open tryouts are being conducted for third base and catcher, and most likely these positions will be filled by the All-Star break.
Always learning about the game.
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org