Last chance to make Damon an All-Star

Last chance to secure Damon's All-Star spot

Judging by the way the ballot results are at the moment, the American League All-Star team's starting nine could have an awfully big resemblance to another team -- the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

It's only fitting that the man who writes the lineup card on Tuesday, July 12, in Detroit will be none other than Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Currently in line to start for the Red Sox are catcher Jason Varitek, designated hitter David Ortiz, left fielder Manny Ramirez and center fielder Johnny Damon.

Ortiz has had a whopping lead over the competition since the balloting began. This would be Ortiz's second consecutive trip to the All-Star Game.

Varitek has held a steady lead over Ivan Rodriguez and Jorge Posada. And Ramirez, who has been a fixture at the All-Star Game, continues to lead all outfielders.

The man climbing the charts of late for the Sox has been Johnny Damon, who passed Ichiro Suzuki to move into third place on Thursday.

"It would be great to represent the world champions at the All-Star Game," said Damon, who last made the All-Star team in 2002. "And hopefully I can get into the starting lineup. It would be a great accomplishment for me, a big change from my days in Kansas City and it would be pretty cool."

Boston first baseman Kevin Millar is third at his position, trailing Mark Teixeira of the Rangers and the Yankees' Tino Martinez. Second baseman Mark Bellhorn trails Brian Roberts and Alfonso Soriano at second base. Edgar Renteria, who was a four-time All-Star in the National League, is third at shortstop behind Miguel Tejada and Derek Jeter. Bill Mueller ranks second behind Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez at third base, while Trot Nixon is eighth among outfielders.

The 2005 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet, which will air live on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 3. This special program will feature the announcement of the 17 elected starters, as determined by the fan balloting program, and 45 pitchers and reserves, as determined by the player ballot and the two All-Star team managers -- Francona and Tony La Russa of the St. Louis Cardinals -- and Major League Baseball.

Immediately following the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Selection Show, fans will have the opportunity to select the final position player for each League's 32-man roster at The Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Final Vote will provide fans the opportunity to cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a three-day period.

There will be two ways for fans to vote for the 2005 All-Star Final Vote -- online at or on the go from cell phones. Fans can simply text the word "VOTE" to 69652 (MYMLB) and be instantly registered to receive the Final Vote ballots. Then, for just 99 cents a ballot, they'll have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Fans can pre-register for the mobile ballot now.

The Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Final Vote will conclude on Wednesday, July 6 at 8 p.m. ET. The two winners will be announced on ESPN and shortly thereafter.

Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the 76th All-Star Game via the Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Game MVP Vote on The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage, while will provide extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.