7/7/2014 6:23 P.M. ET
Braves crafting campaign to boost J-Up in Final Vote
Last year, club's marketing efforts garnered record-setting vote total for Freeman
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- There was no reason for the Braves to panic when they learned Justin Upton would be a part of this year's Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Just a year ago, they spearheaded a successful marketing campaign that helped Freddie Freeman garner a record-setting vote total.
"It will be interesting to see how Braves country reacts to me," Upton said. "But I'm hoping it's the same way and I'm hoping I can get there."
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|
Joining Upton on this year's National League Final Vote ballot are the Nationals' Anthony Rendon, the Marlins' Casey McGehee, the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo and the Rockies' Justin Morneau.
What seems to set Upton apart from the other members of this quintet is his capability to provide a bad matchup for one of the American League's top left-handed pitchers. Troy Tulowitzki and Giancarlo Stanton are the only two NL players who have produced a better OPS against southpaws this season.
"Justin definitely deserves this," Freeman said. "I think he should be in without the vote, but there are a lot of deserving people. So, we'll see."
Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL 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 4 p.m. ET.
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 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET 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)
Corey Kluber: #VoteKluber (A2)
Rick Porcello: #PickRick (A3)
Garrett Richards: #VoteGRich (A4)
Chris Sale: #TargetSale (A5)
Casey McGehee: #VoteHitsMcGehee (N1)
Justin Morneau: #VoteMorneau (N2)
Anthony Rendon: #VoteRendon (N3)
Anthony Rizzo: #VoteRizzo (N4)
Justin Upton: #VoteJUp (N5)
Like Freeman last year, Upton has marveled at the support he has received since it was announced Sunday night that he would be on this ballot.
"As soon as it was announced, a lot of fans were tweeting, 'We're going to do our best to get you there,'" Upton said. "It's nice to see. … Getting those positive remarks from the fans is special."
Because Upton is often seen blowing bubbles on the field, the Braves are making bubble gum a significant part of their campaign. The team has designed bubble gum-themed T-shirts that their players will wear in the clubhouse this week. These T-shirts, gum and other merchandise will also be distributed around Atlanta.
"We are lucky in that we have a passionate fan base that is connected," Braves digital marketing director Greg Mize said. "Our fans are already making themselves part of the campaign."
When the Braves formed a Final Vote alliance with the Blue Jays last year, they were pleased to see that both Freeman and Toronto reliever Steve Delabar won. This year, they have placed their AL allegiance with the Angels and right-handed starter Garrett Richards, who was arguably one of the most significant "snubs" in this year's selection process.
"I think Justin is going to have a lot of fun with this," Freeman said. "He's already having a lot of fun with it from what I can see on Twitter. So it's going to be good. Braves country is pretty big. If they got me in, they'll get him in, too."
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 from Target Field in Minneapolis at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 15, 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.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.