Figgins' Final Vote campaign in full swing
Angels catalyst rallying support from family and friends
ANAHEIM -- With her cell phone fixed on MLB.com, Chone Figgins' most ardent fan -- his mother, Eva -- was up in the wee hours on Tuesday morning doing her part in the Angels third baseman's bid for the American League's final roster spot in the All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote.
"Mom was up until 3 o'clock," Figgins said. "I told her, 'You gotta go to bed, Mom. You need some sleep.' She said, 'I'm going to stay up and vote some more.'"She's staying with me until Friday, then going home [to Plant City, Fla.]. Hopefully, we can celebrate on Thursday." Figgins was running in the middle of the five-man pack on Thursday afternoon, trailing Detroit third baseman Brandon Inge and Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler, with Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Pena and Toronto DH Adam Lind rounding out the field. "I've been voting so much, my battery is going dead," Figgins said, looking up from his phone. "I'm voting for myself, and I don't care who knows it. I want to be in that All-Star Game." Figgins is hoping to join teammates Torii Hunter and Brian Fuentes on the AL roster, representing the two-time reigning AL West champions in the July 14 Midsummer Classic at St. Louis' Busch Stadium. It would be Figgins' first appearance. Now in its eighth year, the Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Pepsi and continues 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 "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. 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. Kinsler, Inge and Figgins each had drawn more than two million votes, a figure that impressed the Angels' leadoff man. "That's a lot of votes," he said, shaking his head. "We're going coast to coast, into Canada with Joe Saunders [whose wife has family in Winnipeg and Vancouver] and Australia with [Sydney resident] Rich Thompson -- and all over Latin America, of course. "The guys are really going to work for me." Saunders dropped by to report that his wife, Shanel, had her people taking care of business north of the border, and Reggie Willits reported that the plains of Oklahoma are a Figgins stronghold. "I've got about 100 votes in for Chone," Willits said. "And I've got all my family in Oklahoma voting for him. We need one of us little guys in the All-Star Game with all those big guys." The Angels' public relations department plans to pump Figgins' candidacy for what would be his first All-Star Game appearance on the radio and TV airwaves along with in-house promotions highlighting his multiple talents on the stadium video boards. Figgins has been a driving force on manager Mike Scioscia's club with his all-around offensive production and sensational defense at the hot corner. He is in the midst of arguably his best all-around season, leading the AL in runs scored (63) through Monday while ranking among the leaders in batting average (ninth at .311), on-base percentage (seventh, .393) and steals (fourth, 24). "I'm a little disappointed he's not already in," Scioscia said, AL manager Joe Maddon having chosen Texas' Michael Young as the backup at third to the Rays' Evan Longoria. "I understand the selection process. I know what Joe has to go through. "I think it's a great chance to be involved [in the Final Vote] as Figgy is."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.