Fans can vote Dye into All-Star Game
White Sox believe right fielder deserves third appearance
CHICAGO -- When Jermaine Dye's stellar playing days on the baseball diamond come to an end, some time in the next five to 10 years, don't look for the White Sox right fielder to enter political circles as an alternate career.
Dye certainly is an eloquent and educated speaker when asked, but the low-key talent doesn't exactly seek out the cameras' bright lights or the reporters' various recorders or notepads to tout his own cause.
That sort of approach won't change for Dye over the next five days, but he will get an up-close and personal look at the political process -- and in Chicago, no less. Well, not exactly in Chicago, as the White Sox finish the first half of the 2008 season in Kansas City and Texas.
But the White Sox political machine already has started to get out the votes as far as Dye is concerned. Dye was one of the five American League candidates to be selected as part of the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote. He is joined by New York's Jason Giambi, Kansas City's Jose Guillen, Tampa Bay's impressive rookie Evan Longoria and Baltimore's Brian Roberts.
It's the sixth time in seven years the White Sox have had a candidate in this process. Much like the Democratic Party in Chicago, led by Mayor Daley, a die-hard White Sox fan, the South Side organization has experienced more than its share of victories in this particular competition.
A.J. Pierzynski was the AL Final Vote winner in 2006, supported by the clever "Punch A.J." promotional idea. Scott Podsednik was the 2005 Final Vote winner in what still remains a surprise to Dye, and not because the leadoff man wasn't deserving.
"I don't know how Podsednik got in that one year against [Hideki] Matsui, with New York and Japan behind him," said Dye with a laugh after Sunday's 4-3 victory over the A's. "It will be fun and a little bit exciting, going up against a couple of those guys who are friends of mine. It will be tough to go up against New York [Giambi], but we will see what happens."
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 4 p.m. CT 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 7 p.m. CT. 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.
A case was made by everyone from manager Ozzie Guillen to hitting coach Greg Walker to a number of White Sox players as to how Dye should have been voted in without the Final Vote excitement. He has sparked the first-place White Sox with his aggressive baserunning and steady, often bordering on spectacular, defensive play in right field. But most of all, Dye has been red-hot with the bat.
Hitting .351 over his last 105 at-bats raised Dye's overall average to .308. During this recent run of offensive excellence, Dye has knocked out 10 home runs and driven home 29. The 10 home runs trail only Detroit's Marcus Thames in the past 30 days.
For the season, Dye has 19 home runs and 52 RBIs.
If elected through the Final Vote, Dye would join outfielder Carlos Quentin and third baseman Joe Crede as White Sox representatives. Both players were selected through players balloting.
There's even a bit of a White Sox connection on the National League 2008 Monster All-Star Final Vote, with former South Siders Carlos Lee and Aaron Rowand on the ballot. But the White Sox are focused on Dye's election, with in-game reminders to the fans on Sunday and signs passed out encouraging people to "Vote for Dye."
Teammates wearing shirts in support of Dye won't hurt his cause, either. But don't look for Dye to sit through countless interviews to promote his All-Star candidacy.
"No, I'm not going to do any of that," said Dye, who has a .303 average, 35 home runs and 91 RBIs since last year's All-Star break and is in search of his third All-Star appearance. "If it's meant to be, I'll be there. If not, I'll enjoy four days at home."
"Hopefully, we'll continue to see how great the support is from the White Sox fans and the city of Chicago," Pierzynski said. "Jermaine deserves to be there. He deserves to go to the All-Star Game."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.