Quentin looking for first All-Star start
Slugger made AL squad in 2008 as reserve outfielder
A right wrist fracture cost Carlos Quentin the last month of the 2008 regular season and almost certainly cost the intense-but-affable talent a shot at winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
But the White Sox left fielder basically has picked up where he left off in August and appears well on his way to another standout season. Make that another All-Star season.
Quentin earned his first trip to the All-Star Game last year in New York, but in 2009, he has his first chance to reach the Midsummer Classic courtesy of the fans' votes. Quentin is one of five White Sox players who find their names on the All-Star ballot for the first time in their respective careers, with their sights set on St. Louis for the July 14 game at Busch Stadium.
"You never take for granted anything like that," Quentin said. "I didn't realize it came out that early. Last year, I was on the ballot and ... it's nice just to be considered."
White Sox fans know about Quentin's high level of play. Do fans across baseball have the same knowledge?
"It's kind of a tough question to ask me because, with all due respect, it's not one of my main concerns," Quentin said. "The majority of players are definitely honored by being acknowledged for their play. At the same time, they're focused on the everyday grind and the everyday preparations for their trade. I am."
Still, playing in the 2008 All-Star Game at venerable Yankee Stadium was enough to teach Quentin to appreciate the opportunity.
"I talked to a lot of the players who had been to multiple [All-Star Games], and those players were really in awe of last year because it was the last one in Yankee Stadium," he said. "They definitely said last year's was really special."
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 10:59 p.m. CT.
White Sox players on the ballot have the advantage of playing in one of the largest media markets in the United States -- and one full of savvy baseball fans.
"It's helped us in the past. Chicago does a great job of promoting its players, especially around things like this," said outfielder Jermaine Dye, another of the White Sox on the ballot. "It's a big market, one of the biggest markets in the United States. The fans know the game -- they're awesome. They know us and what kind of play we bring to the table."
Added Quentin: "It's one of the advantages of playing in that market."
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
In-stadium voting at U.S. Cellular Field begins Monday, when the White Sox play host to the Mariners. It ends on Thursday, June 11, during a home game against the Tigers.
"It's an honor just to be mentioned [on the ballot]," said Dye. "Those are individual things, but you're always honored if you're lucky enough to go."
Joining Quentin on the ballot for the first time is rookie second baseman Chris Getz, shortstop Alexei Ramirez, third baseman Josh Fields and outfielder Dewayne Wise. Ramirez received Rookie of the Year consideration in 2008 as a second baseman, but he has since moved over one spot on the White Sox infield.
Getz was surprised but pleased to learn he was included on the ballot.
"I didn't really know how that stuff works," Getz said. "I've never really been in the mix -- or in the big leagues. It's a cool thing. Hopefully I'll collect a few [votes]."
Wise suffered a separated right shoulder making a spectacular catch in a victory over Detroit on April 13, and he will be out of action for two months.
One notable White Sox player missing from the All-Star ballot is Jim Thome. The prolific slugger, fast approaching Mike Schmidt's career home run total of 548, joins other designated hitters who were not included in the voting because the All-Star Game is being played in a National League ballpark.
Thome could have been included at first base, as has been the case in the past with some designated hitters, but he would not supplant White Sox stalwart and team captain Paul Konerko. A.J. Pierzynski represents the White Sox at catcher, while Dye, who was part of the Final Vote competition on MLB.com last year, is the third outfielder with Wise and Quentin.
These White Sox All-Star choices look quite a bit different from 2008. Orlando Cabrera, Joe Crede, Jerry Owens, Juan Uribe and Nick Swisher represented the team on the All-Star ballot, along with Konerko, Pierzynski, Dye and Thome.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Pete Kerzel contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.