Frieri 'honored' to be on Final Vote ballot
Angels offer ticket deal, more to help promote reliever's candidacy
CLEVELAND -- Ernesto Frieri really wants to go to the All-Star Game, and would be thrilled if he won the Final Vote competition.
But it's not like he's going to log on and vote for himself.
"I want to go, but let the fans decide that," Frieri said Monday. "If they want me to go, great. If not, next year hopefully there will be another opportunity."
Frieri was one of five American League pitchers named to the All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Firestone on Sunday, which means that by Thursday, he'll have to compile more votes than the White Sox's Jake Peavy, the Orioles' Jason Hammel, the Royals' Jonathan Broxton and the Rangers' Yu Darvish to be the final player on the AL roster for the July 10 Midsummer Classic at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
The Angels are making a push to try and make that happen.
In addition to putting his face all over their website, they're providing some incentive, with every fan who votes for Frieri getting a 50-percent-off discount offer for tickets in select seating at certain Angels home games. Through the Angels' official Twitter account, the team will also be giving away an autographed Frieri baseball each day to one fan who retweets a message with the hashtag #VoteFrieri.
"Unfortunately the team's on the road, so we've been a little limited on what we can do," Angels marketing manager Kevin Shaw said. "But we have a big social media initiative."
Final Vote candidates
|P||Jonathan Broxton, KC|
|P||Yu Darvish, TEX|
|P||Ernesto Frieri, LAA|
|P||Jason Hammel, BAL|
|P||Jake Peavy, CWS|
|OF||Michael Bourn, ATL|
|3B||David Freese, STL|
|OF||Bryce Harper, WAS|
|2B||Aaron Hill, ARI|
Now in its 11th year, the Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and continues until Thursday, July 5, at 1 p.m. PT. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
To receive the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Frieri, simply text message A3 to 89269. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010. Std rates may apply.
Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet, via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.
The 83rd Major League Baseball 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 4:30 p.m. PT. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 14-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 6-20. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15 percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on July 6 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Frieri knows that winning the Final Vote will be a stiff challenge, despite hurling 23 1/3 scoreless innings, 40 strikeouts and 10 saves in 10 chances since joining the Angels in early May.
Hardly anyone knew who he was while buried in the Padres' bullpen earlier this year, Darvish is expected to garner a lot of votes from his native Japan, and some of the other names have deeper resumes.
"The people who are on there are incredible -- Peavy, Broxton," the 26-year-old Frieri said. "They're guys who have done things in this game. I'm just starting out. People don't recognize me as much as the others, but I'm just honored to be competing with them, and if they give me a chance, then I'll give it my all [at the All-Star Game]."
Frieri has received a lot of congratulatory phone calls from his native Colombia since news broke Sunday about his inclusion in the Final Vote competition.
One problem: His mother, Ena Gutierrez, hardly knows how to even use a computer.
"That's why I have no chance," Frieri joked. "But let's see. Let's see what happens. You never know."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.