Beginning in 2002, MLB added the “Final Vote” to the All-Star Team selection process. Five deserving players from each league are made eligible for the final team spot and the fans have a few days to vote. Over the years, the White Sox have had the most players in the Final Vote, and this year it’s Chris Sale. The theme this year is “#TargetSale” — a reference to the game being played in Minnesota at Target Field.
The White Sox PR department has been very creative in promoting Sox players. Tonight, Chris is pitching at Fenway and the Sox are hosting #TargetSale — Watch & Vote Parties at various local Hooters and Beggars Pizza locations. Just watch Chris and vote, and the Sox will give you a #TargetSale T-Shirt and a K-Zone card. If you don’t know what the K-Zone is, see my post from April 1st.
Blake Schuster had a story in the Trib today re how marketing has become crucial in the Final Vote. He mentions that AL and NL teams now partner with each other to also push a candidate in the other league. This year, the Sox are partnering with the Nationals (Anthony Rendon), and the Cubs are pushing the Tigers Porcello to help their own Anthony Rizzo. Blake sites the first partnership as the Tigers-Phillies in 2009, which succeeded in getting Brandon Inge and Shane Victorino elected. However, the Sox partnered with the Giants in 2008 to vote for Jermaine Dye and former Sox favorite Aaron Rowand. But, I guess that wasn’t as organized as subsequent dealings (they both lost).
Scotty Podsednik (2005), A.J. Pierzynski (2006), and Paul Konerko (2011) have all been elected in the Final Vote. No Cub has won, but I think Rizzo has a good shot this year.
My favorite marketing campaign was “Punch A.J.” following the Michael Barrett punch to AJ’s face after a home plate collision a month before the voting. My car featured the bumper sticker for the rest of the 2006 season.
Some other marketing stuff.
Finally, Wikipedia has a great chart covering the year-by-year candidates. The text part of the page is a little out of date, but they do explain why the fans lost the vote in 1957 in case you don’t know the story.