Final Vote alliances take balloting to next level

Final Vote alliances take balloting to next level

The Esurance All-Star Game Final Vote headed toward the halfway mark on Wednesday with a sure sign of widespread balloting interest: the annual announcement of club alliances to help decide the final roster spots for the 86th All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

Since Brandon Inge (Tigers) and Shane Victorino (Phillies) won the 2009 Final Vote thanks in part to those clubs' clever "Bran-Torino" alliance, clubs have collaborated each year to campaign for their representatives. Here are the official pairings for fan bases as we head toward the ballot close at 4 p.m. ET on Friday:

MetropoliTwins: Mets closer Jeurys Familia and Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. On the first night of balloting in this race, Familia threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his 23rd save, and Dozier just keeps making one loud statement after another, most recently with his 18th homer in Wednesday's 5-3 win over the Orioles. Sweepstakes: Mets | Twins

Video: Mets' Familia an NL All-Star Final Vote candidate

Vote Pinstripes: Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Both veteran candidates wear pinstripes at home. Tulowitzki extended his hitting streak 20 games on Wednesday against the Angels, and Gardner went 1-for-2 with two walks against the A's the Bronx.

Flaherty asks fans to #VoteGardy

Must "C": Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto and Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. They have campaigned loudly for themselves on the field, with the former throwing a two-hit shutout Tuesday at Washington on the same night that the latter homered for the second straight game.

Cueto an NL Final Vote candidate

#MVPtoASG and #XforASG: Red Sox fans will be asked to help three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. In return, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who had the decisive three-run single in Boston's victory on Tuesday, will see some Dodgers support.

Kershaw in NL Final Vote mix

And the much-anticipated #VoteMo alliance was just announced on Wednesday afternoon, for St. Louis right-hander Carlos Martinez and Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas. Baseball fans could be headed to a 30th anniversary I-70 Series in Missouri, as the Cardinals and Royals each have their leagues' best record.

"While the Royals-Cardinals rivalry is among the best in the game, we are proud to join forces to urge fans to send a clear message that we are teams united in our commitment to ensure that the best players take the field for the All-Star Game," said Royals president Dan Glass and Cardinals president William DeWitt III, in a joint statement announcing the alliance.

The regional sports networks FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest are supporting that alliance.

"With outstanding seasons so far by both the Cardinals and Royals, Missouri is home to the top team in each league," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said. "It's time for fans of both teams to cast that Final Vote for both Mike Moustakas and Carlos Martinez so there is as much Royals blue and Cardinals red on the field next week in Cincinnati as possible."

You can join sweepstakes on team sites for each candidate and win some cool prizes just by helping to solidify the American League and NL rosters.

Meanwhile, grassroots campaigning was going strong across the land.

Martinez, who was leading the NL balloting for a while on Monday, is the only one among the 10 Final Vote candidates who will not have an on-field opportunity to campaign for himself. But he is the only one of them with a blog, and the nine-game winner from the Dominican Republic just posted a message to his fans.

Gardner got an assist from his alma mater at the College of Charleston.

And Brett Favre is driving the Dozier bulldozer.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Read and join other baseball fans on his community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.