The Boston Red Sox used high-tech campaign methods to help Nomar Garciaparra edge Derek Jeter for the starting spot at shortstop for next week's All-Star game at Fenway Park.
Garciaparra, who was in third place for shortstops with one week to go, passed New York's Jeter and Cleveland's Omar Vizquel in American League voting released Monday.
Paul Beeston, baseball's chief operating officer, said last Thursday that none of the Internet votes had been counted until the last week. Fans were allowed to vote 22 times on the Internet.
Garciaparra apparently benefited from Boston's aggressive campaigning on-line to get the nod for the game July 13 in Boston. Garciaparra, who trailed Jeter by 30,655 votes last week, finished with 1,089,974. Jeter was second with 1,069,528 and Vizquel was third with 1,038,362.
"It's a great honor and something you always dream about no matter if you have been there before," Thome said. "I can still have a little time off even if I make the game because it is different, it is a fun game, not where you are killing yourself."
"I want to go out there and have some fun, enjoy a little time off," Lofton said. "I like to do the Fanfest and be with the kids. That's fun. It's a mental break from the action of the season."
Griffey became the leading All-Star vote-getter for the fourth consecutive year and seventh time overall. Griffey, elected to start for the 10th consecutive time, got 2,918,055 votes.
Griffey is batting .315 and is second in the league with 27 homers and 78 RBI entering Monday.
Ripken will make his 17th consecutive All-Star appearance and 16th start in a row. Ripken, who led balloting in 199and '95, ties Rod Carew as the only players elected to start 15 times -- in 1988 Alan Trammell was elected but got hurt and Ripken started in his place.
Rodriguez will make his eighth straight All-Star appearance.
| Nomar Garciaparra edges out Derek Jeter and will start the All-Star Game in front of the Fenway fans. (AP)|
Shortstop was the most competitive position in the voting, with the three teams actively campaigning for their player. Yankees manager Joe Torre argued Jeter's case through the media, the Red Sox went to the Internet to stump for Garciaparra and the Indians flashed messages nightly on the scoreboard at Jacobs Field urging fans to push Vizquel over the top.
In the end, it was the modern technique, and Garciaparra's performance, that won out. Garciaparra came into Monday's game hitting .366, with 14 homers and 57 RBI.
Jeter was second in the al with a .377 average and has been the top offensive player for the New York Yankees, hitting 14 homers and driving in 58 runs. Vizquel is batting .336 average with two homers, 35 RBI and 17 stolen bases.
The World Series champion New York Yankees will have no starters for the second straight year. Torre will manage the AL team.
Texas' Juan Gonzalez, the reigning AL MVP, finished fifth in the outfield voting despite batting .317 with 23 homers and 76 RBI. Gonzalez said he won't play unless he starts, and the AL will honor his request.
Griffey gets $100,000 bonus for getting elected and having the most AL votes, and will get an additional $25,000 if he's the major league leader. Ripken also gets a $100,000 bonus.
Alomar, Garciaparra, Canseco, Lofton, Ramirez, Rodriguez and Thome each get $50,000.
NL starters will be released Tuesday and reserves for both leagues will be announced Wednesday.
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