Experience rules AL All-Star roster
18 of 20 position players have experience in Midsummer Classic
A squadron of young arms raised to new levels. Some one-time stars who have cleared injuries and other hurdles back into prominence. A few novelties. But, mainly, All-Star veterans who have often been there and done that and burn to do it again.These are the 2007 American League All-Stars who will try to weave fresh midsummer night dreams on July 10 in San Francisco's AT&T Park. The blend of ballots by fans and peers and of manager Jim Leyland's limited choice yielded an All-Star Team of unprecedented experience for the 78th Classic, one committed to running its league's unbeaten All-Star streak to 11 straight years (including the 2002 tie). Starting second baseman Placido Polanco and first baseman Justin Morneau of the Twins, elected by players after losing the popular vote to Boston DH David Ortiz, are the only first-time All-Stars among 20 position players. While there is considerably more fresh blood on the pitching staff -- six of the 11 pitchers are All-Star rookies -- that is more than offset by the seniority in the starting lineup chosen by fan voting. Even with Polanco, a 10th-season veteran rewarded by fans for his .333 average, the starters total an amazing 50 past appearances in All-Star Games -- 34 of them as starters. That includes Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez, who climaxed two furious ballot weeks by nailing down his first starting spot, although he has been a five-time All-Star reserve. The All-Star spotlight is a bright interlude in a dark season for the Yankees, whose two infielders dominated the popular vote. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez was the overall vote leader, his total of 3,890,515 comfortably beating runner-up teammate Derek Jeter (3,199,571). With a child-like twinkle in his eyes, A-Rod, who led the vote wall-to-wall, said, "As a kid, I never missed an All-Star Game; it's such a fun game. I really enjoy it ... and it's something that I take tremendous privilege of receiving these votes." Angels right-fielder Vladimir Guerrero (3,151,387) also topped the 3 million mark which, incidentally, none of the rival National League's candidates reached. So, at the moment, Major League Baseball and its fans are clearly in an AL state of mind. With no last week ballot surges or surprises, the AL's starting outfield is rounded out by Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez will check into San Francisco as the dean of the All-Stars for his record 12th start, and 14th appearance; Pudge is currently tied at 11 starts with Yogi Berra.
There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2007 All-Star Final Vote -- online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. Whether celebrating the Fourth of July or Canada Day, fans will have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Standard rate text messaging fees apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details. Fans can get the mobile ballot now. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.