Giants launch 'all-out' Final Vote push
Team putting full effort into making Sandoval an All-Star
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' efforts to push infielder Pablo Sandoval as a National League Final Vote candidate not only bridge the gap between fans and players but also extends across the country and even international borders."We're definitely launching an all-out campaign," Staci Slaughter, the Giants' senior vice president of communications, said Monday.
After the first 24 hours of voting, Sandoval, vying for the last spot on the NL All-Star team, maintained a slim lead over Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies, Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cristian Guzman of the Washington Nationals.Fans attending the Giants' series opener against the Florida Marlins at AT&T Park were bound to receive multiple entreaties to vote for Sandoval, the 22-year-old switch-hitter who's the club's leading offensive force, as well as a defensive handyman. Ballpark employees wore "Vote Pablo" stickers. To enable fans to do exactly that, Giants management set up computer terminals at various locations throughout the ballpark. The team also encouraged fans to bring their laptops to capitalize on the park's free wi-fi access so they could vote for Sandoval during breaks in the action. Early-arriving fans were treated to the sight of Giants players taking batting practice with those "Vote Pablo" stickers plastered on their caps and pullovers. Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez even used four stickers to affix a hand-scrawled "Vote for Pablo" sign on his back. Sandoval's cause also was furthered on the Giants' broadcast affiliates, Comcast SportsNet and KNBR 680 AM. San Francisco-area fans weren't the only ones on the receiving end of the campaign. The Giants reached out to their Class A affiliates in San Jose, Calif., and Augusta, Ga., where Sandoval was an extremely popular performer, and urged them to vote for the "Kung Fu Panda" to reach the July 14 Midsummer Classic in St. Louis. For good measure, Sandoval taped interviews to be aired in his native Venezuela with Erwin Higueros, the club's Hispanic media relations coordinator and Spanish-language broadcaster -- reflecting efforts to capture a segment of the international electorate. Now in its eighth year, the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Fans can vote on MLB.com and club sites such as sfgiants.com until 1 p.m. PT on Thursday. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Mobile voting in the U.S. is exclusive to Sprint, Nextel and Boost subscribers. To receive the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote mobile ballot text the word "VOTE" to 1122. To vote for a specific player, simply text-message your choice to 1122. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N4" to vote for NL Player 4. Standard rate messaging fees also may apply; check with your carrier. Mobile voting in Canada is open to all carriers; fans should text their choices to 88555.
The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevy via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. PT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.Slaughter said that the Giants have even more plans for furthering Sandoval's candidacy, but was reluctant to divulge them in case rival teams appropriate these strategies to help their respective players. By mid-week, though, the Giants will have pulled out all the stops. "It's for a great cause," Slaughter said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.