Seeking Final Vote, Morneau has support across MLB
Host Twins among those pushing for All-Star selection for first baseman
DENVER -- The Rockies and first baseman Justin Morneau spent Monday blanketing the Internet and airwaves -- from Denver to Minneapolis to Cleveland, and even on to Canada -- with Morneau's campaign for the 2014 MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian.
After the disappointment of not being chosen to the National League squad on Sunday, Morneau spent Monday having fun with all the interviews and over-the-top promotions by his club and teammates. Officially, the Rockies and the Indians -- who have pitcher Corey Kluber as an American League Final Vote candidate -- have banded together to cross-promote.
Final Vote candidates
|P||Dallas Keuchel, HOU|
|P||Corey Kluber, CLE|
|P||Rick Porcello, DET|
|P||Garrett Richards, LAA|
|P||Chris Sale, CWS|
|1B||Justin Morneau, COL|
|2B||Anthony Rendon, WAS|
|1B||Anthony Rizzo, CHC|
|3B||Casey McGehee, MIA|
|OF||Justin Upton, ATL|
The Rockies are teaming up with the Indians (#ClevelandRox) to release a video endorsing Morneau and Klube that is modeled after the popular "Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism" YouTube videos.
But Morneau played for the Twins, who will host the 85th All-Star Game on July 15 at Target Field. So Monday included sports radio interviews in the Twin Cities. And, being Canadian and all, Morneau did an interview on the pregame show of Canada's team, the Blue Jays.
Of course Morneau's teammates also became involved. After Morneau singled in the first inning of Monday's game against the Padres, teammate Michael Cuddyer tossed away the sling he has been wearing to demonstrate texting a Morneau vote -- N2 to 89269 -- in a prerecorded spot on the Rockies' video board.
Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes wore black patches beneath each eye, with "Vote" written in white on the right and "Mo" on the left. Barnes spoke passionately for his teammate, in hopes that his candidacy would not fall victim to any prejudice against Rockies players, who often excel at Coors Field and struggle on the road. Morneau is hitting .303 on the road this season.
"He's obviously put up the numbers road and away," Barnes said. "You can't really hold Coors Field against him. He's a great player. He's a guy who plays the game right. He's a guy who plays the game hard. You never see him dogging down the line. He's a guy who should be in the All-Star Game without the Final Vote. That's not how it worked out, but I believe he'll be there."
Manager Walt Weiss just won't believe that fans would pass up on a good story. Morneau was a four-time All-Star with the Twins before his career took a serious downturn when he sustained a concussion during 2010 season. It wasn't until last year, when Morneau played a combined 152 games with the Twins and the Pirates, that he became a full-time player again. Now he is putting up numbers befitting of an All-Star.
"It's a great story," Weiss said Monday, with #VoteMorneau bumper stickers plastered behind him in the Rockies' dugout during his pregame news conference. "But not only is it a great story, he deserves to be there. He's had a great first half. He's one of our most consistent, productive hitters. Fighting back from the career-threatening injury he had and to be doing what he's doing, it's really a great story. To have the opportunity to go back to Minnesota, where he spent most of his career, won an MVP … we're pushing hard.
"This is campaign headquarters for Morneau. We're pulling out all the stops to get him in the game, because he should be in the game."
Denver may be the headaquarters, but there are branches in the campaign.
"It's cool what the Rockies are doing for us, and I think it's cool what we're doing for them," Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin said. "Both guys are very deserving, and I hope they both get it. What Corey has done this year, it's pretty unbelievable what he's done. I don't think that should go unrecognized."
The Rockies' Corey Dickerson returned the favor for Kluber via Twitter.
At the northern branch of #VoteMorneau, the Twins shot a video starring Joe Mauer, Morneau's longtime All-Star teammate, imploring "Twins fans, Rockies fans, baseball fans in general to vote for my buddy."
Former Rockies star outfielder Larry Walker, a Canadian who gave Morneau blessing to wear the No. 33 that Walker made famous in Colorado, also took to Twitter.
Morneau's campaign transcended sports, thanks to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Stanley Cup-winning Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell:
Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 2 p.m. MT.
Fans can also cast votes on the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the Final Vote ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. For example: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Standard message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the third consecutive year, the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote will include social balloting participation, as Twitter support from the 10 candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. MT on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners. Fans will be able to follow @MLB for the latest standings updates over the course of the entire four-day voting period.
The hashtags and text designations are as follows:
Dallas Keuchel: #VoteKeuchel (A1)
Kluber: #VoteKluber (A2)
Rick Porcello: #PickRick (A3)
Garrett Richards: #VoteGRich (A4)
Chris Sale: #TargetSale (A5)
Casey McGehee: #VoteHitsMcGehee (N1)
Morneau: #VoteMorneau (N2)
Anthony Rendon: #VoteRendon (N3)
Anthony Rizzo: #VoteRizzo (N4)
Justin Upton: #VoteJUp (N5)
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow fans to help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.