"The cool thing about Jake is he has so many different connections outside of baseball," said White Sox vice president of communications Scott Reifert regarding the #TakeJake Final Vote campaign. "His music world, Alabama. We have some connections politically and there are some other things we are doing to have some fun with it."
There will be an extra treat for fans as a thanks for participating in the Final Vote. If you are not a current subscriber to MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium, you will be offered the opportunity to receive up to 14 days of MLB.TV from Friday to July 20. If you are a current subscriber, you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on Friday to all eligible Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Reifert wouldn't reveal Monday's first step, short of a hint that the team's video crew was putting together something in Chicago that would be available by the end of the day. Any good campaign strategist knows not to put too much out there before the race gets going.
Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton, Baltimore's Jason Hammel and the Angels' Ernesto Frieri stand as the other three worthy AL Final Vote candidates. The White Sox focus is on putting together a successful run that would add the right-hander to previous White Sox winners in Scott Podsednik (2005), A.J. Pierzynski ('06) and Paul Konerko last season.
No team has more than three winners since this competition began in 2002, with Boston (Hideki Okajima, Jason Varitek and Johnny Damon) and the Phillies (Bobby Abreu and Shane Victorino twice) joining the White Sox. Chris Sale, Konerko and Adam Dunn, the three White Sox players voted in as All-Stars by their peers, already have started stumping for their teammate.
"I don't know how to [vote online]," said Dunn with a smile. "But I'll figure it out."
That verbal support from Dunn, a close friend of Peavy as well as teammate, was followed by a tweet on the slugger's relatively new @adamdunn_32 account.
"Grab ur phones and computers and vote for @JakePeavy_44 for the final spot in ASG! He deserves it as much as anyone. #gottagetemin!" read the tweet.
Both Sale and Konerko taped video messages Sunday backing Peavy, speaking of their excitement for being chosen, but adding that White Sox fans' work is not done.
"We got to get Peavy out there to Kansas City," said Sale in the video. "Let's go on our laptops and phones and vote for Jake."
White Sox meetings about the Final Vote campaign actually began last week, according to Reifert. They started putting some stuff together and projected who it might be. They honestly didn't project the veteran Peavy, who is tied for first in the AL with four complete games and ranks second in innings pitched (112 2/3), fifth in average against (.215) and sixth in strikeouts (101) and ERA (2.96).
Maybe Peavy's 6-5 won-loss record cost him, with three of those four complete games ending in defeat and the White Sox scoring just two runs combined over his last four starts. Whatever the reason, Peavy took the initial snub in stride and hopped on a plane Sunday for Alabama to watch his oldest son, 10-year-old Jacob, compete in a game.
Later that night, Peavy tweeted about being a "proud dad" and how it "doesn't get any more exciting" than watching one of his three sons pitch, with a picture of the left-handed-throwing Jacob on the mound. It represents absolute genuine sentiment from Peavy that President and "First Fan" Barack Obama couldn't script on his present re-election campaign trail.
"Just the point where he's going to a Little League All-Star Game, that's a great story in and of itself," Reifert said. "We really try to come up with something different and unique every day and every year that we haven't done in the past. We'll try to do the same thing with Jake. At the very least, it's entertaining and we have some fun.
"We've reached out to everybody -- the Bulls, Bears, the Blackhawks, people like that who are always really receptive to stuff we do. We try to use every venue we can to get the vote out. Why not help Chicago?"
The #TakeJake concept was deemed the catchiest of the slogans bounced around, joining PaulStar and Punch A.J. As Reifert pointed out, the great thing about social media is that fans might put forth a better idea that the White Sox can use
Social media is employed fairly regularly by Peavy, who updates his @JakePeavy_44 account with everything from messages regarding charitable endeavors, to family doings, to a quick comment on that day's game. On Sunday, Peavy tweeted about a tough 4-2 loss for the White Sox at Yankee Stadium but added that the team had a good 4-3 road trip overall.
Then, he thanked fans for the All-Star support in this Final Vote battle that would be considered uphill, even with Peavy's great numbers.
"Would be a honor," tweeted Peavy of making his third All-Star appearance, before once again saluting the fans. "Win or lose tho it means so much 2 me!"
"What's neat is Jake doesn't have to campaign for himself," Reifert added. "There are 24 other guys who are more than happy to campaign for him. There's a coaching staff, a manager, the front office. We literally have a budgeted account saying 'Final Man Vote' every year. [White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] wants to win."
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for 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 via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.