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Zobrist appreciative of Final Vote support

July 6, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — With just one day to go in the voting, Ben Zobrist had no idea where he stood in the All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint. In fact, he said he didn’t want to know.

Zobrist prefered to focus on the task at hand, which was one more game for the Rays against the Twins, followed by four at Yankee Stadium before the All-Star break.

If Zobrist won’t promote himself as a Final Vote candidate, someone else is going to have to do it. That’s where Zobrist’s friends, family and teammates come in.

“That’s the way Zo is,” outfielder Sam Fuld said. “He’s not going to promote himself. We’ve got to do it for him — no doubt.”

Fuld has used his Twitter account to promote Zobrist’s campaign, tweeting, “Congrats to @DAVIDprice14, Joyce and Shields, all well deserved. Now let’s vote for Zorilla, too! #helpZoGo.”

All-Star left-hander David Price also showed his support on Twitter, retweeting a message from a fan with links to the Final Vote page. Manager Joe Maddon has worn a Zorilla t-shirt to support Zobrist, while also encouraging fans to vote for the versatile Rays star.

“The way the All-Star Game is played now — and you’re really trying to win this game — he’s the perfect guy to have on your bench, because he can do a lot of different things out there,” Maddon said. “He’s a switch-hitter, he can drive in a run, he can steal a base; he’s kind of a complete player.”

Zobrist is up against stiff competition and sat in fifth place Wednesday, behind Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko, Tigers designated hitter/catcher Victor Martinez, Kansas City outfielder Alex Gordon and Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones.

The Rays helped promote the effort with a slogan — “HELP ZO GO!” — and an accompanying logo. In addition, they joined forces with the D-backs, as both teams hoped to promote Zobrist and Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy, a National League Final Vote candidate.

Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Sprint mobile ballot, text the word “VOTE” to 89269. To vote for Zobrist, simply text message “A5” to 89269. In Canada, fans should text their choices to 65246. Standard message and data rates may apply.

Unlike the regular All-Star Game voting, during which fans are limited to only 25 votes each, the Final Vote allows every fan to vote as many times as they want to until the voting ends Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.

Zobrist has heard from many friends and family about how much they’ve been voting, and he has enjoyed their excitement about the campaign.

“My best friend from back home said that he became my ‘Campaign Manager‘ online,” Zobrist said. “He voted so many times and got other people to vote so many times that he became my campaign manager. It’s been fun talking to people that are trying to help me out.”

One of Zobrist’s other big supporters in the Final Vote has been his wife, Julianna.

“My wife told me, ‘I voted for you and I thought I was only going to vote 25 times, but apparently you can vote a lot more times than that,'” Zobrist said. “So she said while she was talking on the phone with somebody, she just kept voting and kept voting until her hands started getting tired.”

Now in its 10th year, the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint 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 Taco Bell. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly after voting ends Thursday.

The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, 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. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.

There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 10-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 9-19. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on July 8 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.

Zobrist is the fourth Rays player to make the Final Vote fan ballot, joining Carl Crawford (2005), Evan Longoria (2008) and Carlos Pena.(2009)

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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