Giambi, Final Vote nominee Helton share bond

Giambi, Final Vote nominee Helton share bond

ATLANTA -- The All-Star Game often is about honoring individual accomplishments, but one of Rockies first baseman Todd Helton's teammates believes the All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint is a chance to honor him for a team-oriented attitude.

Jason Giambi has a unique view of Helton. For years, both were considered among the top first basemen in the game. They opposed one another in the All-Star Game for five straight years, 2000-04, with Helton representing the National League with the Rockies and Giambi wearing the colors of the Athletics the first two years and the Yankees the last three. They have a bond and a camaraderie that many stars share.

Yet, for them to be teammates with the Rockies starting in the latter part of 2009, when Giambi joined the club as a backup first baseman and pinch-hitting specialist after being released by the A's, it meant they each had to put the desire to win above the need to be stars.

With no designated hitter in the NL, both had to realize that star first basemen could coexist. It helps to have common ground.


"He and I have an unbelievable relationship," Giambi said. "We talk about hitting. We talk about the team. We cover a ton of topics -- and everything off the field as well. Anytime you can develop that kind of relationship in this game, it's very rare. It doesn't happen too often. You know you have a voice to go talk to, it makes it comforting.

"We both realize, too, that we make each other better. I can give Todd days off. I know I can't play every day. It tried it in Oakland and it didn't work. Also, he wants to be part of a winner. I want to be part of a winner. There are things we're both chasing as well."

Right now, Helton is in a chasing position in the voting for a spot on the NL squad for the July 12 All-Star Game at Chase Field. He is third in a tight race behind the Phillies' Shane Victorino and the Dodgers' Andre Ethier, with the Nationals' Michael Morse and the D-backs' Ian Kennedy behind him. The order is unchanged from Monday's midday update. Voting started Sunday.

Online voting continues until 2 p.m. MT on Thursday exclusively at MLB.com, where winners will be announced shortly thereafter. There is no limit on the number of times you can vote, and updated standings will be announced daily.

Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice to 89269 (Example: Text "N2" to vote for Helton). In Canada, fans should text their choices to 65246. Standard message and data rates may apply.

Fans are doing their own grassroots work at MLB.com with the All-Star Campaign Manager program. It allows fans to tally points by getting friends, family and co-workers to vote through social networking, and competing to be recognized as an "official" Final Vote Campaign Manager for any player they helped support.

Also, MLB.com and its partner JibJab, the leader in personalized entertainment, have introduced a specially created Starring You® campaign featuring each League's five Final Vote candidates in a humorous, animated video of the traditional seventh-inning stretch song, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Fans can watch the candidates' Starring You videos and then cast their online votes for the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint here. They then can create their own free Starring You® video where they can choose their favorite teams and insert photos of themselves, family and friends. The videos, including those featuring the 10 All-Star Game Final Vote candidates, are embeddable and can be shared via e-mail, through social network platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. For complete details, visit MLB.com/jibjab.

For the final phase of All-Star Game voting, fans will be asked to help decide the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2011 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint. That voting will take place on MLB.com during the Midsummer Classic.

The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 6 p.m. MT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.