LA fans can cast Final Vote for Kemp
Outfielder vying to join three teammates at All-Star Game
SAN DIEGO -- Outfielder Matt Kemp has given Dodgers fans plenty this year, and now they can give something back by voting for him as a finalist in the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote for the July 14 All-Star Game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
An aggressive get-out-the-vote campaign will be launched, club officials indicated. The other contenders for the spot are Cristian Guzman, Washington; Mark Reynolds, Arizona; Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco; and former Dodgers farmhand Shane Victorino, Philadelphia.
If Kemp wins the Final Vote, he would join Dodgers teammates Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton and Orlando Hudson on the National League All-Star team. All three were selected in balloting of players, managers and coaches.
Nomar Garciaparra in 2006 became the only Dodger to earn an All-Star berth through the Final Vote process.
Now in its eighth year, the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint 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 Pepsi and continues until 1 p.m. PT on Thursday. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Mobile voting in the U.S. is exclusive to Sprint, Nextel and Boost subscribers. To receive the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote mobile ballot text the word "VOTE" to 1122. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice to 1122. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Standard rate messaging fees also may apply; check with your carrier. Mobile voting in Canada is open to all carriers; fans should text their choices to 88555.
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 Chevy via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. PT. 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.
"Just to be this close is an honor. A lot of people can't say they came that close," Kemp said. "It's pretty cool. I was a little surprised. It hasn't happened yet, but it would be great to play with [Albert] Pujols and all those guys who are doing big things."
Kemp, only 24, is in his second season as an everyday Major Leaguer. But his five-tool game has forced its way into the lineup as well at center field, displacing both Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre, who were signed as free agents to play the position.
Offensively, Kemp reached the 81-game midpoint of the season with a .303 average, 10 home runs, 44 RBIs and 19 steals. Projected over a full season, he would finish slightly higher in all four categories than last year's .290-18-76-35.
Kemp also has demonstrated continued improvement this year in all phases of his game, not the least of which is to take better routes to balls in the air on defense and be more aware of game situations while running the bases.
He was a sixth-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft and signed despite being recruited by the University of Oklahoma.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.