CHICAGO -- The #TakeJake campaign to send Jake Peavy to the Midsummer Classic in Kansas City has entered its final hours, and the White Sox certainly have been here before.
"Well, we kind of have become practiced hands at this," said White Sox senior vice president of communications Scott Reifert of the organization's past All-Star Final Vote success.
Peavy's placement on the American League ballot in the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Firestone marks the 10th White Sox candidate since this program's inception in 2002, including Paul Konerko and Frank Thomas in the same 2004 AL voting. Per Wednesday's release of numbers, Peavy remains a close second to Texas hurler Yu Darvish.
If Peavy pulls off the upset and defeats Darvish via a strong finishing kick, then the White Sox will be the first team to have four Final Vote winners and break a tie with the Red Sox and the Phillies. It's an operation run by the White Sox befitting of a political campaign, only with much more enjoyment attached and minus the painful attack ads.
"You know the whole point again is just to have fun," Reifert said. "I think Jake feels great about it, everybody in the clubhouse. It's kind of something everyone can rally around, our fans can rally around. Really the fans deserve all the credit. They are sitting at home punching these millions of votes."
"They do a tremendous job. It got me to go to Pittsburgh in '06," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "It got a couple of other guys to go because of it. Our fans really got behind it. It's special because it means that our PR department does a good job and the people like the campaign."
When Pierzynski captured the AL Final Vote in 2006, the White Sox employed the brilliant "Punch A.J." campaign as their platform. Scott Podsednik won in 2005, and Paul Konerko was the 2011 winner behind the "PaulStar" premise.
Each White Sox candidate certainly has been worthy. The White Sox creativity drives home that particular point.
"We all take it as a challenge," Reifert said. "It's such a compressed time. Our video guys, they are probably going to do eight different spots in a matter of 40-some hours. That's like a political campaign. We take a great deal of pride in it.
"[White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] takes pride in it, so it comes from the top down. Marketing, game operations, mass communications, our design folks, they are all just tremendous in what they do."
A Final Vote alliance with David Freese and the Cardinals known as "Red, White and You" has paid dividends through Peavy's second-place standing and Freese leading in the National League. Reifert hinted at some sort of video to come with both participants involved.
To receive the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Peavy, simply text message A5 to 89269. To vote for Freese, simply text message N2 to 89269. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010. Standard rates may apply.
Reifert also promised that the "show-stopper" will be coming Thursday from the team, as the final votes are being tabulated. It's hard to imagine the White Sox topping their early video entries, including one political-like ad with the narrator painting Peavy as the most qualified Final Vote candidate.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a die-hard White Sox fan, pushes for Peavy support in another video. And Reinsdorf, who told Reifert he "absolutely" wanted to be part of the campaign, does a takeoff on the highly popular Most Interesting Man in the World commercial while writing and ad-libbing his own humorous tagline of "Vote often, my friends."
All of the spots end with a line from the pitcher stating, "I'm Jake Peavy and I approved this message." That line is followed by "Paid for by the Committee to elect Jake Peavy as the final man on the American League All-Star team."
One other entertaining Final Vote video has J.D. Maloney, the 5-year-old nephew of White Sox manager of public relations Marty Maloney, reciting the famous Herb Brooks "Great Moments" speech delivered to the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team before its heroic upset of Russia, only the speech and highlights are altered toward baseball and Peavy. The spot ends with Al Michaels' "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"
It seems like a fitting close, with most people believing it will take a miracle for Peavy to defeat Darvish.
There will be an extra treat for fans as a thanks for participating in the Final Vote. If you are not a current subscriber to MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium, you will be offered the opportunity to receive a free trial of up to 14 days of 2012 MLB.TV from Friday through July 20. If you are a current subscriber, you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on Friday to all eligible Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Balloting will be progressively intense, social media and hashtagging will be key and you will get updates right here every day along the way, and remember to pay attention on the Fourth of July. Be sure to include #FinalVote with your tweets.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
Final Vote candidates
Jonathan Broxton, KC
Yu Darvish, TEX
Ernesto Frieri, LAA
Jason Hammel, BAL
Jake Peavy, CWS
Michael Bourn, ATL
David Freese, STL
Bryce Harper, WAS
Aaron Hill, ARI
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Peavy gets the start Friday in the final first-half series against the Blue Jays. The White Sox hope he has secured an All-Star nod before even taking the mound.
"What a cool story if it happens," Peavy said. "I'm just honored to be in the mix and honored for the support I've seen from all my friends, family and the White Sox."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.