Rangers dominating in All-Star voting
Drawing more than one million fans, going to back-to-back World Series and having the best record in the American League are paying early dividends for the Texas Rangers.
The first round of All-Star voting was released Tuesday and the Rangers are dominating.
Texas has five players in place to start the game including Josh Hamilton, who leads all of baseball in votes. Two other Rangers are in second place.
"The fans are coming out more and being supportive of our team," said third baseman Adrian Beltre, who leads Detroit's Miguel Cabrera at third base. "When you win, fans are going to come. Hopefully we can keep doing that. Hopefully we play well enough to make them happy and they keep supporting us."
There were no complaints about the support Tuesday. In addition to Hamilton, who has more than 2.5 million votes and Beltre, Ian Kinsler leads the voting at second base and Mike Napoli is the top vote-getting catcher. Nelson Cruz is third in the outfield voting.
The Rangers also have two players in second at their position as Michael Young trails Boston's David Ortiz at designated hitter and Elvis Andrus is second to New York's Derek Jeter at shortstop.
Hamilton leading the way is nothing new as he's been a starter the last four seasons. He's happy to have so much support.
"It's exciting," Hamilton said. "Any time you're getting close to the All-Star game and you're getting votes it means a lot. Fans enjoy watching you play the game. It's always an honor just to be voted for."
While Hamilton, Kinsler, Beltre and Cruz have all been All-Stars before, it would be a new experience for Napoli. Napoli, who leads Baltimore's Matt Wieters by more than 500,000 votes, had no idea he was in first place.
"Awesome," Napoli said. "Thanks to our fans. I'm just going to keep going out there and playing hard. It's cool. It would be a lot. It means a lot to every player to be in an All-Star Game. I'm just going out there to try and do the best I can. I want my numbers to prove I'm an All-Star."
Voting at ballparks ends June 22 and online voting ends June 28. The teams will be announced July 1.
Texas manager Ron Washington is glad to see he has so many of his players leading the way in voting. Washington, who will manage the game for a second-consecutive year, realizes how important it is with home-field advantage at stake for the winners.
The Rangers haven't had home field for the last two World Series trips. Washington already had Matt Vinnola, the team's director of baseball operations, gathering information on potential All-Stars.
"Right now I'm not into it until Matt gives me all the information like he did last year," Washington said. "Then I'll go through it and I'll have a good idea of what I want to do, how I want to do it, who's available, who's doing what."