All-Star Game could bring $1 million gift to RBI
If pitcher strikes out the side in second inning, Head & Shoulders will make donation
Angels hurler C.J. Wilson entered the All-Star break on a roll, with nine wins, a 3.37 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 120 1/3 frames before baseball's 84th Midsummer Classic.
And aside from those assigned to face the stellar southpaw, most would agree that Wilson's whiffs have done a great deal of good this year.
As Head & Shoulders' MLB "Mane Man," Wilson has spent the spring and summer racking up strikeouts and summoning support for the "Season of the #Whiff" campaign, a national initiative that donates a dollar to the MLB Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program for every strikeout tallied in 2013.
The dollars have been doled out right and left so far, with whiffs coming at a historic clip (hurlers tallied 21,245 strikeouts before the All-Star break, by far an all-time high).
Although the donations earned to date amount to no small sum, Wilson was in New York on Tuesday to discuss a Head & Shoulders offer that could earn much, much more money for RBI in a matter of minutes.
"If a pitcher strikes out the side in the second inning [during the All-Star Game], that's worth a million dollars. Head & Shoulders will donate a million bucks [to the RBI program]," Wilson said.
The Tigers' Max Scherzer and the Mets' Matt Harvey -- the Midsummer Classic's starting hurlers -- will likely be toeing the rubber during the game's second frame. And who better to have on the bump with seven figures on the line than a pair of pitchers who sit second and third on baseball's strikeout leaderboard?
A handful of RBI graduates have ascended all the way to the Majors, with the likes of Carl Crawford, Coco Crisp, James Loney, Jimmy Rollins and Justin Upton reaching big league batter's boxes. Pitchers have gone from RBI to MLB, as well, with CC Sabathia, Yovani Gallardo, James McDonald and Dontrelle Willis representing what has been a talented group of arms.
And as they have been doing all season, fans can do their part to help RBI by partaking in the "Season of the #Whiff" on Twitter. The MLB club with the highest total of #Whiff tweets each month earns $10,000 for its local RBI chapter. The season-long cumulative champion will earn $20,000, making a total of $80,000 up for grabs.
In order to assist, tweet #whiff and your team's Twitter handle for every strikeout throughout the rest of the MLB season.
You can track progress by following @HSforMen on Twitter or by visiting the Head & Shoulders' "Season of the #Whiff" page at www.mlb.com/whiff.
Although Wilson was not named to this year's Midsummer Classic roster despite his strong first half -- he ranks among baseball's best lefties in most meaningful statistical categories -- the two-time American League All-Star (2011, '12) will be rooting fervently for his most precocious teammate, Mike Trout, the AL squad's leadoff man and starting left fielder.
"Trout is one of the most exciting players in baseball. He's 21, got the whole world ahead of him," Wilson said. "He's a tremendous hitter; he can hit the ball over the fence, he can bunt, he can steal bases. So there's really no limit to how he can impact the game.
"If he plays five or six innings [Tuesday night], he might be responsible for the [AL] scoring a couple runs and saving a run or two on defense."
During Tuesday night's festivities, Wilson will be taking over the @HSforMen Twitter account. Any fan who tweets @MLB and @HSforMen with #whiff during the game will be entered automatically into an All-Star sweepstakes, through which a pair of regular-season tickets will be given away after every strikeout recorded. If there are 10 or more strikeouts in the game, one eligible winner will receive a pair of tickets to a game at the 2013 World Series.
After the completion of Tuesday night's contest, Wilson will look ahead to the start of the season's second half, a stretch during which he aspires to excel.
"The thing for me is to always look ahead and look past what I've done and try to outperform that," the southpaw said. "I think statistically my best second half was in 2011, so I am going to try to have a better second half than I did in 2011."
Based on his performance this summer -- during which he has heated up with the weather -- Wilson has a strong chance to accomplish the aforementioned feat … with a whole lot of K's to boot.
Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.