Dodgers launch Kemp Final Vote campaign
Team gets word out to fans to make outfielder an All-Star
NEW YORK -- Until the 2009 All-Star Game Final Vote ends on Thursday, the Dodgers will work as hard off the field to sweep Matt Kemp into the Midsummer Classic as they will on the field to sweep the Mets.
Dr. Charles Steinberg, the team's executive vice president and the marketing master brought in from Boston last year, and Josh Rawitch, his top lieutenant as vice president of communications, have been formulating strategies since Kemp became a candidate on Sunday.
After the first day of voting, San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval holds a narrow lead in the National League, followed by Kemp, center fielder Shane Victorino of the Phillies, third baseman Mark Reynolds of the D-backs and shortstop Cristian Guzman of the Nationals.
Now in its eighth year, the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Fans can vote on MLB.com and the 30 club sites until 1 p.m. PT on Thursday. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Mobile voting in the U.S. is exclusive to Sprint, Nextel and Boost subscribers. To receive the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 1122. To vote for a specific player, simply text your choice to 1122. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Standard rate messaging fees also may apply; check with your carrier. Mobile voting in Canada is open to all carriers; fans should text their choices to 88555.
The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevy via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. PT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
The Dodgers have precedents to shoot for. Two years ago, Nomar Garciaparra took the Final Vote route into the All-Star Game. And in the most successful campaign in club history, Steve Garvey became the only Dodgers write-in candidate to make an All-Star starting lineup in 1974.
Here's what fans can expect this week. Fans who vote for Matt Kemp at dodgers.com/vote are automatically entered into a sweepstakes to win an autographed Matt Kemp Bobble Head. Fans can vote an unlimited number of times.
The first 50,000 fans arriving at the Dodgers game on Wednesday, Aug. 19, against the Cardinals, will receive a non-autographed Matt Kemp Bobble Head.
The club also created a Facebook group called "I Voted for Matt Kemp" that will spread to the 70,000 friends the Dodgers have on their site.
The Dodgers are attempting to enlist two of Kemp's NBA friends, Trevor Ariza and Sheldon Williams, via their Twitter accounts in hopes of enrolling all of their followers to vote for their buddy.
Daily e-blasts are being sent by the club to its registered site users to update fans on Kemp's progress and encouraging them to continue to vote and spread the word to family and friends. Digital billboards throughout southern California are encouraging votes for Kemp.
There also are cross-promotions with the Angels on both websites to "Vote SoCal," teaming Angels candidate Chone Figgins with Kemp.
And the club will encourage the assistance of its media partners - Prime Ticket, KCAL, KABC AM and KHJ-9 to spread the word as much as possible in the pregame shows and throughout their various programming.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.