Dye making All-Star case on the road
Fans have until 4 p.m. CT Thursday to vote for Sox right fielder
CHICAGO -- The White Sox are working on all cylinders in hopes of getting Jermaine Dye a slot on the 2008 American League All-Star team, but the current tally still has the slugger a close second to Rays rookie Evan Longoria.
Fans will have to show their love for the outfielder from afar this week, as the White Sox will be in Kansas City through Thursday, the final day of balloting for the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote.
Longoria, Dye and Jason Giambi of the Yankees have each received more than 2 million votes, and are separated by just over 10 percent. In a little over 48 hours since the polls opened, over 21 million votes have been cast. With that pace, voters are sure to break the overall record of 23.1 million total votes set in 2007.
The White Sox have quite a bit of experience when it comes to getting their players elected to the All-Star Game. Scott Podsednik and A.J. Pierzynski earned their spots in 2005 and 2006, respectively, via the Final Vote.
"It's cool," Dye said. "We've had to do that the last couple years for players and they brought them in. We'll see what happens. It's cool to have all that support from the organization, from the fans of Chicago. It's just a wait-and-see process."
Scott Reifert, the White Sox vice president of communications, announced through his blog, "Inside the White Sox" the many ways in which the club is mobilizing in an effort to get Dye to New York on July 15.
Anyone who votes for Dye will be automatically entered to win one of six jerseys autographed by the White Sox right fielder. Every vote equals another chance to win since there is no limit to Final Vote balloting.
Reifert also came to terms with the San Francisco Giants on a trade of sorts. He's encouraging White Sox fans to vote for former South Sider Aaron Rowand on the National League ballot in exchange for their support of Dye.
Dye is just a few percentage points behind Longoria. Rowand, meanwhile, is fourth in the National League vote, trailing Corey Hart, David Wright and Pat Burrell.
"With it being in New York, and with Giambi on the ballot, it's tough to go up against [him in] a city like that," Dye said. "But also, we're not at home right now and aren't able to promote it a little more. But fans around the world, I think they know who I am. They've watched me play for a long time, and hopefully they'll vote for me."
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen will be wearing a "Vote for J.D." shirt during interviews and Dye's teammates will wear stickers with the same slogan on their batting practice tops.
A quick glance at the numbers indicates Dye shouldn't even need any of the special attention. Dye is hitting .308 this season with a .363 on-base percentage and 19 home runs. Longoria is hitting .283 with a .354 OBP and 16 home runs. Dye's slugging percentage is fourth in the AL, ahead of the three outfielders who will be starting the game: Josh Hamilton, Manny Ramirez and Ichiro Suzuki.
"Just being able to go shows how much hard work you put in," Dye said." And being around all those All-Star players and watching the Home Run Derby, I think that's the best part of it all. Just being called an All-Star is a great accomplishment."
The online voting will continue until 4 p.m. CT on Thursday. There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote -- online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555. Standard rate text messaging rates apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details.
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.