AL, NL All-Star Game starters unveiled
Jays' Donaldson sets single-season voting mark; Nats' Harper leads Senior Circuit
The American League team is dotted with Royals blue. The National League club is more of a diverse melting pot. Still, there is no question that there will be enough stratospheric talent from all over the Major Leagues on display at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on July 14 to do an All-Star job of painting the town of the Reds.
The starters for the 86th All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile were announced on Sunday night, and the two marquee teams have enough fireworks in supply to keep the spirit of Independence Day humming right along.
As expected after a spirited, months-long fan campaign to see the defending AL champion -- and current AL Central leader -- Royals well-represented in Cincinnati, the diamond will have plenty of K.C. representation. In fact, the four Royals selected to the All-Star team is a club record, surpassing the 1979 squad that had three players (Frank White, Darrell Porter and George Brett) elected by the fans.
The four Kansas City stalwarts who will start in this year's Midsummer Classic are catcher Salvador Perez, shortstop Alcides Escobar, and outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon, making them the first Royals to be voted in by the fans since Jermaine Dye in 2000.
"It brings attention [to the team], and I think that's what [the voting has] been doing," Gordon said. "I think we play with a lot of energy and a lot of fun and people are interested and go out there and vote. It's pretty special. We don't take this for granted and we're happy to be here, and we're going to represent Kansas City the best way we can."
This was the first year that voting was done entirely online, and a total of 620 million votes were cast, far surpassing the record of 391 million votes in 2012.
The other starters as selected by fans include first baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, second baseman Jose Altuve of the Astros, third baseman Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays, outfielder Mike Trout of the Angels and designated hitter Nelson Cruz of the Mariners. Donaldson's vote total of 14,090,188 is the most in a single season in MLB history, surpassing Josh Hamilton's 2012 all-time single-season record of 11,073,744 tallies.
Altuve pulled off a dramatic comeback in the voting and prevented yet another Royal from getting the start. The Astros' spark-plug trailed Kansas City's Omar Infante in the voting as recently as last week but pushed ahead when it counted.
"I knew I was really close to Omar and I trust my fans in Houston and the team was really pushing the fans to vote," Altuve said. "Like I said, I knew I had a little chance and I'm really happy because I'm in my third All-Star Game, but this is kind of special because it's going to be my first as a starter."
The closest race in the AL was the battle for the starting DH spot, with Cruz (10,632,184) claiming his fourth All-Star selection (2009, 2013-14) by holding off Kendrys Morales (10,320,500) of the Royals.
"I guess the Seattle people did the job," Cruz said. "I have to thank the whole organization. The public relations department did a really nice job. And the people from the Dominican [Republic], I know they're always behind me. It's just nice. It's a little special when you get the vote from the fans and they want to see you there."
In the National League, the voting was more spread out across the clubs of the Senior Circuit, with the Royals' cross-state rivals in St. Louis being the only club with more than one fan-elected starter.
The NL starting All-Stars as selected by fans are as follows: first baseman Paul Goldschmidt of the D-backs, second baseman Dee Gordon of the Marlins, shortstop Jhonny Peralta of the Cardinals, hometown third baseman Todd Frazier of the Reds, Giants catcher Buster Posey and outfielders Bryce Harper (Nationals), Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins) and Matt Holliday (Cardinals). Harper, who tallied 13,864,950 votes, set a new all-time NL single-season voting mark in leading the league in balloting.
"It's definitely exciting," Harper told ESPN. "Being able to go and represent the Nationals and be able to play for the National League in actually a big game, very big for Game 7 of the World Series, home-field advantage, and to be able to have a little fun with family and all the fans ... we're going to have a good time."
Frazier was trailing St. Louis third baseman Matt Carpenter in the voting but pulled off a late rally to get the start in front of his favorite fans. He was emotional when talking about it Sunday night.
"Right now I'm pretty much on cloud nine with how excited I am," Frazier said. "It's something you think when you're little playing in the backyard with your brothers. I have two older brothers. I thought they were going to be the ones. They taught me the ropes. ... It's going to be a great time. I'm pretty much going to have 14-15 people coming. They're just as excited as I am."
Both Stanton (broken left hamate bone) in the NL and Cabrera (left calf strain) in the AL are currently on the disabled list and will be unable to play in the Midsummer Classic. To determine the new starter in these cases, the All-Star reserve who received the most votes on the Player Ballot at the injured player's position moves into the starting lineup. The roster replacement is chosen by the manager.
Holliday (right quadriceps strain) is also on the DL, but he could return before the All-Star break.
"I'm getting there," Holliday said. "I have a few more hurdles to clear with my running, but I feel like I'm getting pretty close. ... It's quite an honor to be voted in by the fans for the first time in my career. I'm extremely grateful and excited about it and extremely thankful for all the fans who voted for me."
The All-Star reserves, pitchers and Final Vote candidates were announced Monday on the Esurance All-Star Selection Show on ESPN. Immediately following the show, fans can return to MLB.com to begin voting to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until 4 p.m. on Friday, July 10.
And the voting doesn't end there. During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (7 p.m. ET air time, 8:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B: Jose Altuve, Astros
3B: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
SS: Alcides Escobar, Royals
OF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Lorenzo Cain, Royals
OF: Alex Gordon, Royals
DH: Nelson Cruz, Mariners
C: Buster Posey, Giants
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
2B: Dee Gordon, Marlins
3B: Todd Frazier, Reds
SS: Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals
OF: Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF: Matt Holliday, Cardinals
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins