Tulo Rox, but Arenado, Blackmon need assist
DENVER -- More than 2 million fans have cast All-Star votes for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. No other National League player, at any position, is anywhere close. Tulowitzki is speeding toward his second straight fan-elected start, which this year will be on July 15 at Target Field in Minnesota.
Why does Tulowitzki have such fan appeal?
To begin with, he meets all the statistical requirements. He leads the NL in batting (.361), on-base percentage (.451), slugging percentage (.688), OPS (1.139), total bases (141) and runs (51). With 17 home runs, he's tied for the lead with the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton.
But to have 2,007,202 votes, playing for a team that had lost 13 of its last 16 -- as it had going into Monday night's game against the Braves -- a player has to meet another kind of test. Tulowitzki does that.
Dodgers broadcaster Nomar Garciaparra, who was part of an artistic movement at the position during his All-Star career, knows a special shortstop when he sees one.
"What I admire about him, what I love, is the desire to make an impact on both sides," Garciaparra said. "At one time shortstop was all about defense and the glove. He takes the mentality, 'I'm supposed to be a good defender, I'm supposed to make plays, I'm supposed to be the captain of the infield and all that. Then on the offensive side, I can make an impact. I can still hit in the middle of the lineup, I can still be a guy that drives in runs, I can be the type of hitter that dictates he game.'
"His size is irrelevant. It's the impact he makes. There's a guy in Boston, Dustin Pedroia, who is similar, and he seems like he's half of Tulo's size but plays larger than life as well. It doesn't matter."
And what draws Garciaparra to Tulowitzki is also what draws fans. The man has a style -- and it's not a contrived one.
"What I used to love about this game, when I was playing, they would talk about [Derek] Jeter and myself in there, what I'd say was, 'What's great is we'd all play the position differently and we were all successful,'" Garciaparra said. "There's no one way you have to be. Troy has his way of going about it that makes him special.
"It's just natural. It's funny. You go down to Little League and you see these coaches trying to clone everybody. 'You're supposed to hit this way.' 'You're supposed to field this way.' You can't do that. Everybody's built different. Everybody approaches the ball different. Everybody sees it differently. There are fundamentals that go with it, but apply the fundamentals to you and how you do it."
The other two Rockies who were in line for starts -- third baseman Nolan Arenado and outfielder Charlie Blackmon -- have fallen out of their leads.
Arenado, who has been out since May 23 with a broken left middle finger and is unlikely to be back by the All-Star Game, has 766,364 votes this week and has been overtaken by the Mets' David Wright, with 859,082 votes.
Blackmon led NL outfielders at the first update and was second last week but has since dropped to fifth. The top three vote-getters are named the starters.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Fans this year once again can participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2014 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 6 p.m. MT on Monday, July 14.
The 2014 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide 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.