Jays' message to fans: 'Lind Your Vote'
DH currently trails Kinsler in updated results released Tuesday
ST. PETERSBURG -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston emerged from his office and strolled into the visitors' clubhouse at Tropicana Field on Tuesday afternoon. Gaston walked up to outfielder Adam Lind, lounging in a chair with a newspaper in hand, and the manager stopped and threw his arms in the air.
"Where's my shirt?" Gaston asked.
All around the room, the Blue Jays' players and coaches were wearing black shirts with white lettering that reads "Lind Your Vote", promoting Lind's candidacy for the Sprint Final Vote. In the latest poll results, Texas' Ian Kinsler was leading in fan balloting to earn the final roster spot on the American League's squad.
Lind is trying to collect enough votes to grab his first ticket to the Midsummer Classic, competing against Kinsler, Chone Figgins of the Angels, Carlos Pena of the Rays and Brandon Inge of the Tigers. Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill is hoping the T-shirts, which will be worn during batting practice and under the players' jerseys, will help grab some fans' attention.
"I think it's great," said Hill, who was selected to the AL All-Star team along with Jays ace Roy Halladay on Sunday. "Anything we can do to get [Lind] there -- that'd be awesome. Hopefully we can do more than just shirts, because I think we're going to have to do a lot more. It'd be nice to get all of Canada out there to support one of our guys."
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. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Pepsi and continues until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 9. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
In the National League, the Final Vote candidates include Washington's Christian Guzman, Arizona's Mark Reynolds, San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval, Philadelphia's Shane Victorino and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers.
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 message 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 8 p.m. ET. 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.
Projected as the Blue Jays' designated hitter at the season's onset, Lind was omitted from the initial All-Star ballot due to the game being held in a National League Park -- Busch Stadium in St. Louis on July 14. Lind has split time between left field and DH for the Jays and has been a leader within Toronto's offense.
Unfortunately, Lind's quiet nature, combined with the fact that he plays in a less publicized market in Toronto, has led to a season that has flown under the radar. Compared to the four other Final Vote nominees, though, Hill felt Lind's production stood out.
"If you put up numbers, numbers are numbers," Hill said. "If you're looking at stats, out of all the guys, his are the most solid all around the board. It is unfortunate [that Lind isn't well known], but we know he's deserving and hopefully the fans recognize that."
Through 81 games for the Blue Jays, the left-handed-hitting Lind -- a third-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft -- has hit .310 with a .384 on-base percentage and a .560 slugging percentage. He had launched 18 home runs, clubbed 25 doubles, scored 49 runs and knocked in 57 RBIs, warranting a recent promotion to the third spot in the Blue Jays' lineup.
Even if Lind doesn't capture the 33rd and final roster spot on this year's All-Star team, Hill is confident the young outfielder will have plenty of opportunities to suit up for his league in the years to come.
"It's good that he's recognized -- that he's in there," Hill said. "This won't be his last chance. He's a great ballplayer and an unbelievable hitter and he's going to continue to get better every year. It's not the last time he's going to have a chance to go to the All-Star Game."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.