ANAHEIM -- After waiting 18 years to get their first Final Vote candidate, Mariners fans rallied to the cause as Seattle shortstop Jean Segura won the competition for the final roster spot on the American League All-Star team on Wednesday.Segura led from start to finish in the 2018 Camping World
ANAHEIM -- After waiting 18 years to get their first Final Vote candidate, Mariners fans rallied to the cause as Seattle shortstop Jean Segura won the competition for the final roster spot on the American League All-Star team on Wednesday.
Segura led from start to finish in the 2018 Camping World MLB Final Vote, out-polling bigger East Coast market stars Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees and Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox as well as fellow standout shortstop Andrelton Simmons of the Angels and outfielder Eddie Rosario of the Twins. The MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard will be Tuesday, July 17, at 4:30 p.m. PT on FOX.
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"It was unbelievable," a grateful Segura said after learning the news. "I can't believe there's that kind of people around the world supporting me, fans, the marketing department for the organization, the people in Seattle, my teammates, everybody trying to help get votes for me.
"It feels amazing. It just feels special because you come from another country and you see how many people support you around the world. So it makes it even more special for me."
The Mariners marketing department made a final push on Wednesday by opening Safeco Field up for a "Segura Fest," with free pizza and the chance to meet rehabbing players Felix Hernandez and Mike Zunino and continue casting votes.
At one point, Hernandez was standing in front of the stadium holding a "Send Segura" sign to attract fans and Zunino was helping deliver pizza to voters.
"This has been amazing," Segura said. "There's so many good shortstops in the American League and to be able to be part of that team feels nice."
The Dominican Republic native said he had planned to spend the four-day All-Star break vacationing at the beach with his wife and kids. Now they'll be making the trek instead to Washington, D.C., for next week's All-Star festivities. It'll be his second All-Star appearance, having made the National League squad in 2013 while with the Brewers.
"It's pretty special to be around those guys because you deserve to go there," he said. "That's something I can't explain because it feels so great, so good to be around so many good faces in baseball right there."
Mariners manager Scott Servais said Segura's victory speaks to the hungry fanbase in Seattle, where the team has caught the attention of a region waiting since 2001 for a return to the postseason. Segura has been a key piece of a club currently sitting in AL Wild Card position at 57-35.
"The outpouring of support by our fanbase and what our group in the marketing department has done to create this Segura Fest, I can't say enough about how good that makes me feel and certainly our players knowing the support is there going through something like this," Servais said. "It is awesome to see."
"Just a tremendous job by our fans in really coming out in force for Jean," added Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. "I was down on the field around lunch time and thought it was the most remarkable fan support I've ever seen -- everyone coming together on a moment's notice and celebrating together."
MLB doesn't reveal the voting totals other than the number received by the two winners. Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar drew 20.2 million votes, second-most in the event's history. Segura won the AL balloting with 13.6 million votes.
Segura will join teammates Nelson Cruz, Edwin Diaz and Mitch Haniger, giving the Mariners four All-Star representatives for the first time since Hernandez, Fernando Rodney, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager made it in 2014.
The 28-year-old is second in the Majors with 116 hits and fourth in average at .329 going into Wednesday's games, along with 62 runs, 47 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. Servais said Segura has grown into an increasingly important role in his second season with the club since being acquired from the D-backs.
"He's an integral part in the fabric of the team now," Servais said. "His personality has come out a little more. I was joking that it's almost cooler if you don't get on the regular [All-Star] squad, now you get the Segura Fest and everybody excited."
With the Final Vote now done, there's still one more chance for fans to have their voices heard. While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX on Tuesday, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.
For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.