07/07/08 4:33 PM ET
Giambi off to good start in Final Vote
Yanks implore fans to 'Support the 'Stache' all the way to ASG
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
With Giambi named as one of the candidates in the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote, the Yankees are looking to do everything possible to get the slugger's big bat to the Midsummer Classic on July 15 at Yankee Stadium.
The organization has decided on "Support the 'Stache" as their rallying cry, to be delivered in-game on the club's radio and television broadcasts, as well as displayed during contests played at Yankee Stadium leading up to the All-Star Game.
Additionally, "The Big G" has personally autographed five Major League Baseballs, to be distributed among fans who place Final Votes for him on MLB.com. Giambi jumped out to a good start, but will be trying to chase down the early leader, Evan Longoria of the Rays.
"It's cool, definitely, to be a part of it and have the fans vote," Giambi said this week. "I had a bad first month, so if I was going to be on it, it was going to be close. That's the thing about playing on the All-Star team -- if you don't get voted in, there's a lot of guys who are having great years as well."
Since Giambi tried to shake up the season by growing a patch of retro-styled hair above his upper lip, his offensive numbers have taken on a life of their own -- he leads the Yankees with 18 home runs, good for fifth in the AL, and 32 of his 63 hits have gone for extra bases.
The results have turned back the hands of time for Giambi, who has also received an endorsement from the American Mustache Institute as part of his campaign.
"It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that Jason Giambi's hitting prowess plus a fashionable mustache equals a bona fide All-Star," said Aaron Perlut, executive director of the American Mustache Institute. "Giambi's significant first-half production as well as his powerful lip fur -- indicating great intellect and good looks -- make two very compelling reasons for his place on the American League All-Star roster."
Giambi hopes that will help punch his ticket to the All-Star Game, beating out fellow Final Vote candidates Jermaine Dye, Jose Guillen, Longoria and Brian Roberts.
"I would definitely love to make the team, there's no doubt about it," Giambi said. "I enjoy playing in them and I enjoy going. It'd be cool. I've still got a chance, and we'll see."
Need another reason to consider voting for Giambi? He has said that should he be invited to the All-Star Game, he'd love to take part in the State Farm Home Run Derby. Who wouldn't tune in to watch the "Big G" take aim at the souvenir hounds roaming the upper deck in right field, or take advantage of Yankee Stadium's famous short porch?
"I've got the 'stache, I can't do anything else," Giambi said. "I don't know what else I could do."
Perhaps even more remarkably, the 37-year-old Giambi has fulfilled manager Joe Girardi's expectations of staying on the field and playing a serviceable first base. Giambi, who jokes that he's "like a cat" around the bag and credits a renewed fitness regimen, has started 58 games at first base after making just 16 starts there in 2007.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Three Yankees players have already been selected to the All-Star Game. Alex Rodriguez led all Major League players with 3,934,518 online votes cast and Derek Jeter was also named through fan balloting, while Mariano Rivera was tabbed to the AL's pitching staff through the player ballot.
The Monster All-Star Game Final Vote program has seen nearly 80 million votes cast since its inception in 2002, including a record 23 million last year when fans chose Hideki Okajima of the Red Sox and Chris Young of the Padres.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.