Hart one of five Final Vote candidates
Brewers right fielder up against Burrell, Lee, Rowand, Wright
MILWAUKEE -- Fans sent one Brewers outfielder to the 2008 All-Star Game. Now they can do the same for another.
Right fielder Corey Hart, a 6-foot-6 combination of power and speed, was named as one of five candidates for the final spot on the National League All-Star team, and the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote is up to the fans. Hart will be looking to join Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun on the NL squad after fans voted Braun into the starting lineup.
"It would be exciting if it happened," Hart said. "But right now, I'm just trying to not worry about it. It would be overwhelming if it happened."
Hart, 26, and in his second full season, is the young buck of the five Final Vote candidates. The others are Pat Burrell of the Phillies, Carlos Lee of the Astros, Aaron Rowand of the Giants and David Wright of the Mets.
"We need to do everything we can to get Corey his opportunity, because he definitely deserves it," said Braun, who along with Brewers starter Ben Sheets was named to the All-Star team on Sunday.
"All I can say is, we got two [All-Stars], let's make three," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "Our fans have done a tremendous job with the voting."
Now in its seventh year, the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevy and continues until 4 p.m. CT on Thursday. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2008 All-Star Game 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. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555. Standard rate text messaging rates apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details.
The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
Hart has quite a case. He leads Brewers regulars with a .296 batting average to go with 14 home runs, 55 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.
Last season, Hart hit .295 with 24 home runs and 81 RBIs. Compared to some of his teammates, the quiet and unassuming Kentuckian is not used to singing his own praises. Now that he's on the campaign trail, that will have to change."I'll do anything to get to the All-Star Game," Hart said. "Everybody has plans, but going to the All-Star Game is obviously better than any plans you're going to have. I'm more than happy to do whatever it takes to get there." He was already in campaign mode Sunday evening, when the Brewers called Hart into the interview room to answer questions alongside All-Stars Braun and Sheets. Hart brought along his son, one of three children with wife Kristina. "I'm trying to show that I like kids," Hart joked. But an All-Star week would take away some play time with his kids. "I can play with the kids when I retire," he said. The Brewers have had success in the Final Vote before. Outfielder Geoff Jenkins won the final All-Star spot in 2003 thanks to grassroots campaigning, and left-hander Chris Capuano was a candidate in 2006. Capuano didn't win, but he made the All-Star team anyway as a replacement for an injured Tom Glavine.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.