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Volume 69, Issue 135, Friday, April 23, 2004

Sports
 

Astros need your help at ballot box

by Tony Hernandez
The Daily Cougar

DECISION 2004!

That's right folks, it's time to vote again. While a certain U.S. presidential race is in full swing and on deck for November, voters out there can begin to practice their decision-making skills by voting for who will play in this year's Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park coming in July.

"I want all the fans out there to make sure No. 7 is leading off and No. 5 is hitting third," Roger Clemens said to the Chronicle on Wednesday, referring to Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. "Stack the ballots. Go on the Internet, too." Clemens was voted MVP the last time the All-Star Game was in Houston. Houston won the division title that same year.

With the Astros embarking on one of the most promising years in recent history, the team has a lot of potential for players representing the National League. Five of the eight Astros nominated are currently batting over .300 with Richard Hidalgo taking the lead with a .386 average coming into Thursday's game against St. Louis. Hidalgo is ranked third in RBIs in the Major League and his batting average is fifth in the National League.

This being Biggio's last guaranteed year on contract with the Astros, it could be the last time we see him in the game wearing Astros colors. Though he is in the toughest category to get nominated for outfield, he runs the chance of becoming the only player in Major League history to play in the All-Star Game as a catcher, second baseman and center fielder, according to The Associated Press.

Bagwell, batting a .382 average, is not far behind Hidalgo on the nominee list, but seems to be more of a favorite to be voted into the game. Bagwell has played in four previous All-Star games, most recently in 1999. He's already had 15 RBIs, 21 hits, and five homeruns this season. 

Baseball fans can log onto www.MLB.com and vote up to 25 times for their favorite players. Voting ends June 30 at 11:59 p.m. That gives Houstonians plenty of time to support their hometown All Stars.

 Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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