3. Tabulation is conducted by TMC Group. An organization that understands that the All-Star Game is not just a junket weekend for the already pampered and praised, but a genuine reward for those players who are playing at the highest level when the votes are cast and counted, an organization that understands that the joy and enthusiasm of a Brandon Inge appearance is far more appealing than the yawn-and-grin cool of yet another Alex Rodriguez appearance.

4. Write-in votes may be printed in the area provided. Though you should be advised that Cal Ripken Jr. has, in fact, finally, mercifully retired.

5. Ballots must be received by June 27. Unless, of course, you're planning only to vote for so-called "established" stars who have gotten off to horrendous starts, in which case you are encouraged to keep your dang ballot to yourself.

6. The Office of the Commissioner has final decision on all balloting matters. And you should know that the Office of the Commissioner believes the out-of-the-clear-blue-sky Clint Barmes stories are what make the game so fun to watch every year.

Jim Caple is a senior writer at ESPN.com. His first book, "The Devil Wears Pinstripes," is on sale now at bookstores nationwide. It can also be ordered through his Web site, Jimcaple.com.

Eric Neel is a columnist for Page 2.



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BALLOT ETIQUETTE