Royals campaigning hard for Guillen

Royals campaigning hard for Guillen

KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Jose Guillen is fighting an uphill battle to win the final All-Star Game spot, but the Royals are ratcheting up support to gain votes.

Evan Longoria, rookie third baseman of the Tampa Bay Rays, continues as the Final Vote leader in the American League after two days of online balloting conducted exclusively on MLB.com. So far, more than 21 million votes have been cast.

Longoria, Chicago White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye and New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi have more than 2 million votes each and are separated by just over 10 percent. They are followed by Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts and Guillen.

On the National League side, the top three candidates also each have registered more than 2 million votes and are apart by approximately 10 percent. Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers is followed closely by David Wright of the New York Mets, Pat Burrell of the Philadelphia Phillies, Aaron Rowand of the San Francisco Giants and Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros.

Closer Joakim Soria is the Royals' only All-Star named to the July 15 classic at Yankee Stadium. But Guillen would join the squad by winning this vote.

The Royals are drumming up support through many sources, including Entercom Radio, the home of 610 Sports in Kansas City and the club's flagship station.

"We're working in conjunction with Entercom to get the word out to all their listeners, not only on 610, but in their cluster of five FM stations that reaches a real diverse group of listeners in various demographics," said Mark Tilson, the Royals' vice president of sales and marketing.

The Royals also will focus on fan awareness during a series against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

"We have the good fortune of starting a homestand Tuesday night -- so we'll have a captive audience for the next two nights in Kansas City -- so we'll promote the voting in-stadium," Tilson said.

"And we'll do the same on our broadcasts, both radio and TV."

There are other added touches for the Guillen campaign.

"We created a banner ad that Entercom stations will have on their sites that links directly to the voting page online," Tilson said. "We're also getting word out through prominent bloggers at baseball sites throughout town to make sure they're aware of this promotion as well."

The Royals also plan an advertisement to support Guillen in Wednesday morning's Kansas City Star.

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.

There's more voting ahead. 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.

Meantime, the Royals are acting as fast as they can to drum up All-Star votes for Guillen by Thursday afternoon's deadline.

"We think that MLB.com is doing a great job promoting this initiative so we wanted to supplement that with off-line programs like the radio broadcasts, in-stadium and the print media," Tilson said.

He knows the time period is short.

"We're putting the word out as fast as we can," he said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.