Giambi needs rally to win final spot
Yankees promote All-Star hopeful with mustache campaign
NEW YORK -- First, it was the Yankees, spreading their rallying cry of "Support the 'Stache" throughout the Bronx. Then it was the American Moustache Institute, officially supporting Jason Giambi's candidacy in the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote. Now, it's the Yankees again, distributing fake moustaches to the first 20,000 fans in attendance at Wednesday's game. Seems this whole moustache thing is catching on.
"Just think, the Big G -- an icon," Giambi said. "A fashion icon."
Something like that. Giambi had more pressing issues far from the catwalk on Tuesday -- he continued to trail both Evan Longoria of the Rays and Jermaine Dye of the White Sox in voting to earn the final spot on the American League All-Star team. Jose Guillen and Brian Roberts are also vying to make the AL roster.
To that end, the Yankees announced an initiative to distribute fake moustaches to fans prior to Wednesday's game with the Rays, in what they're calling the "first moustache giveaway in Yankee Stadium history." Likely the last, as well.
Then again, if Giambi had his way, the moustache would become as popular throughout the Major Leagues as it will be at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. He's tried out facial hair before, but his trends never caught on.
"The fans weren't ready for it," Giambi said.
This time, he hopes his influence might stick.
Now in its seventh year, the Monster 2008 All-Star Game 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 Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevy and continues until 5 p.m. ET on Thursday. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
If Giambi does come from behind to win the election, it would give him a potential opportunity to participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. That raises the question of who might pitch -- when Giambi won the Derby in 2002, he relied on then-Yankees coach Willie Randolph to fire in batting-practice fastballs.
He would consider using Randolph, recently dismissed as Mets manager, again.
"I could recruit him," Giambi said. "The Big G likes to stir it up."
First, he has to get there. Giambi has accumulated more than 2 million votes through two days of voting, and he trails Longoria by less than 10 percent. Both he and Longoria are alumni of Long Beach State -- "dirtbags," they affectionately called each other -- making Giambi particularly fond of his Final Vote competition.
Giambi entered Tuesday's play batting .256 with 18 home runs for the Yankees, while Longoria was hitting .283 with 16 home runs for the Rays.
"I just heard he had a ton of talent," Giambi said of Longoria. "And then getting a chance to see him play, you can just see that he's one of those guys that uses talent. He's definitely going to be one of those -- barring injury and other things outside of the game -- he's definitely going to be one of special players in the game, no doubt about it."
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 text messaging rates apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details.
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 Chevrolet via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage that will also be available on XM Satellite Radio, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.