SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has experienced a busy week, as club representatives began their campaign to help Belt win the National League's 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote on Wednesday.
The dedicated effort has paid big dividends. Belt (#VoteBelt) was back on top among five NL candidates in the last Final Vote (#FinalVote) update Friday morning, leafrogging the Pirates' Starling Marte with just hours to go before the 1 p.m. PT deadline to vote.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Final Vote includes social balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. Until 1 p.m. PT today, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
To help maximize fan support for Belt, Giants staffers kept him occupied and sustained their push on his behalf long before he lofted a run-scoring triple in the first inning of Wednesday's 5-1 win over Colorado:
• Belt participated in a live question-and-answer session on Facebook.
• He appeared on MLB Network's "MLB Tonight" program.
• The Giants urged fans to vote for him with in-stadium scoreboard messages, as well as on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
• The Giants formed an alliance with the Boston Red Sox, who launched a similar campaign for their representative in the American League Final Vote, second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Through certain channels, a vote for Pedroia means a vote for Belt, and vice versa.
• The Giants announced that supporting Belt can be as easy as sending a text message. Instructions: text "n1" or "N1" to 89269 to cast a vote for him.
No Giants player has won the Final Vote competition. They've had four previous nominees since its inception in 2002: catcher Benito Santiago ('03), center fielder Aaron Rowand ('08), third baseman Pablo Sandoval ('09) and right fielder Hunter Pence ('13).
Fans can vote for the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote until 1 p.m. PT today. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during a Final Vote-themed telecast of "MLB Now" featuring commentary from political analyst Jeff Greenfield, live on MLB Network and MLB.com from 1-2 p.m. PT. MLB Network will provide extensive coverage across all of its studio programming during the Final Vote, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating the cities where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Baseball fans have cast nearly 600 million online votes for Final Vote candidates since the program's inception in 2002. In addition to MLB.com and the official club websites, fans can use their mobile devices to cast votes at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
On Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. PT, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.