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Continued: Nine Twins on MLB All-Star ballot

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 25, 2014 - 5:11 PM

The most recent ballot-stuffing suspicions came in 2012, when a late 2 million vote surge from the Bay Area boosted Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval into the starting lineup over the Mets’ David Wright. Sandoval ignored the uproar and delivered a first-inning, three-run triple off Justin Verlander.

That year, MLB announced that a record 40.2 million ballots were cast. The vote totals are tabulated and authenticated by the Boston-based TMC Group.

“We are very confident in the integrity of our All-Star balloting system,” MLB spokesman Matt Bourne said in an e-mail. “There is a limit on the number of times a fan can vote online and numerous layers of security to prevent any issues.

“TMC also monitors ballots and has ways of detecting mass punching. If we see a major swing in results, we will investigate the reason. However, the cause is usually a result of a major campaign conducted by the club to vote for one of their players.”

Seeking votes — plural

The marketing campaigns are part of the fun, said Twins senior director Kevin Smith. In recent years, the Twins have handed out buttons for fans with slogans such as, “Step up to the plate; vote Mauer & Morneau in ’08.”

In 2006, when the White Sox were trying to get catcher A.J. Pierzynski elected, they handed out T-shirts that said, “Punch A.J.”

“It’s no-holds-barred, if you want,” Smith said. “You don’t have to stick to any type of protocol or procedure. You can come up with any wacky idea that you think might work. The whole goal of all of these is to excite the fan base.”

Smith said the Twins staff has even invited fans to “ballot-punching parties” on the deck outside the team offices, overlooking left field.

“They can sit here and watch the game and have a couple of beers and punch ballots,” Smith said. “I think one year we even gave a prize to the person who punched the most ballots in an inning or something like that.”

Twins players have long felt the odds were stacked against them in voting because of the Twin Cities’ market size.

In 1987, Kent Hrbek vented his frustrations. He had been an All-Star as a rookie five years earlier but became incensed when nobody besides Kirby Puckett got selected in 1986 and 1987. Notable snubs included Gary Gaetti and Tom Brunansky.

“I’m peeved, not just for myself, but because it shows nothing for the whole team,” Hrbek said at the time. “I accepted not making it when we weren’t doing well. This I don’t accept. If those guys ask me to go again, they can kiss my ass.”

‘The fans’ game’

Last week at Target Field, two fans from Lakeville — Darin Stotz, 44, and Mark Wegner, 48 — said they fill out All-Star ballots, hoping to give their favorite Twins a boost.

Wegner said he submits eight to 10 printed ballots at the ballpark each year. Stotz said he votes about five times per year, with a couple of those coming online.

Reminded that the voting would begin Friday, Stotz said, “That’s a little early. You don’t know for some of these guys how their seasons are going to turn out.”

Baseball rules state that each team gets 23 home dates for voting. And then there’s the online rush.

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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