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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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Final123456789RHE
Arizona «0000500106140
Minnesota001000100270
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:J.Collmenter(11-8) L:R.Nolasco(5-12)
HR: ARI- M.Trumbo (12) MIN- None

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Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore - LP: W. Chen 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 5
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 14
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Bassitt 2 FINAL
Detroit - LP: K. Lobstein 0
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 1 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: D. Holland 4
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0
Arizona 6 Bottom 9th Inning
Minnesota 2
LA Angels 1 Top 4th Inning
Oakland 6
San Francisco 2 Bottom 5th Inning
Los Angeles 0
Colorado 0 Top 5th Inning
San Diego 1
Chicago 24 4th Qtr 3:14
NY Jets 19
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 0 2nd Prd 20:00
Philadelphia 0
Washington 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Dallas 4
Anaheim 4 3rd Prd 3:37
Colorado 2
Colorado 0 2nd Prd 8:32
Anaheim 2
Los Angeles 3 2nd Prd 8:53
Arizona 2
Arizona 0 2nd Prd
Los Angeles 1
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
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