Major League Baseball today marked the official start of All-Star Balloting for the 82nd All-Star Game, which will be held on Tuesday, July 12th at Phoenix’s Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Major League Baseball, Firestone and the D-backs conducted a special on-field ceremony prior to the host Club’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies.  In 2010, the MLB All-Star Game Balloting program, the largest of its kind in professional sports, saw 21.1 million ballots cast, the second highest figure ever.

More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 23 home dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.  Also starting today, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans.

Every Major League Club will have begun its in-stadium balloting no later than Monday, May 10th.  When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on Friday, June 24th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club Web sites until Thursday, June 30th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2011 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program.  The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will win a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including hotel, airfare, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events, and a set of four Firestone tires.

Scotts, the official lawn care company of MLB, is once again the sponsor of the retail All-Star Balloting Program, which launches on May 10th at more than 1,700 Lowes stores across the country.  The Scotts ballot will feature an All-Star sweepstakes, where a winner and one guest will win a trip to the MLB All-Star Week including hotel, airfare, tickets to the All-Star Game, and a $500 MasterCard gift card.

Banco BHD will sponsor All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available online at lasmayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball, and at All-Star balloting terminals across more than 80 branches, from May 2nd-June 30th.

“The launch of All-Star balloting today continues a special tradition for baseball fans around the world,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “The All-Star Game is a celebration of baseball, its players and its fans.  From Hank Aaron and Willie Mays to today’s perennial All-Stars like Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols, fans have enjoyed the opportunity to see their favorite players in the Midsummer Classic.  We are looking forward to holding the summer’s greatest sporting event in Arizona for the first time.”

For the third consecutive year, this year’s ballot will feature the State Farm 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 State Farm Home Run Derby.  The 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT)/5:00 p.m. (PDT) on Monday, July 11th.  The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees; Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox; Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers; the winner of the 2010 State Farm Home Run Derby, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox; Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners; Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees; and Vernon Wells of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  The 10 National League candidates are the winner of the 2009 State Farm Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers; Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies; the 2006 event champion, Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies; Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Carlos Peña of the Chicago Cubs; Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals; Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies; Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds; Jayson Werth of the Washington Nationals; and David Wright of the New York Mets.

The 2011 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 3rd on the 2011 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS.  The American League All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the National League All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters.  The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – National League manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants and American League skipper Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers – in conjunction with Major League Baseball. 

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, July 3rd, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.  Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 7th.  Now in its seventh year, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on their mobile phones, courtesy of Sprint. 

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will have fans again participate in the official voting for the All-Star Game Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT)/5:00 p.m. (PDT).  ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage.  MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.  For more information, please visit allstargame.com or dbacks.com/asg.
 

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Contact: Patrick Courtney or Michael Teevan, Major League Baseball, (212) 931-7878, twitter.com/mlb_pr.