Efforts to vote David Wright into the All-Star Game have ranged from a ballot stuffing initiative from popular sports talk radio hosts to an endorsement of sorts from a “cougar” dating website.
These unconventional efforts to get Wright votes are apparently working, as Wright led all National League third basemen in the latest voting results released Sunday night on MLB.com.
Wright leads his position for the first time since voting began, passing the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval and holding a lead of just under 129,000 votes as of Sunday.
The Mets captain narrowly lost out to Sandoval for a starting spot in the Midsummer Classic last season, missing out by roughly 125,000 votes.
WFAN morning hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton have done their part to ensure Sandoval does not edge out Wright this time. The morning duo has gone as far as offering tickets to high volume voters and setting up a so-called “All-Star Sweatshop.”
Carton will give out a ticket to a Mets game and provide bus travel to Citi Field for anyone who can prove he or she voted for Wright 1,000 times, according to a CBS New York report.
Grey Lines tours has gotten on board and will provide two buses for the initiative.
The “Sweatshop,” meanwhile, opened last Friday at WFAN studios, and involved about 25 women attempting to punch 70,000 All-Star Game ballots for Wright. The women had punched 1,500 ballots when the show signed off on Friday, according to the CBS report.
The Mets themselves even considered partnering with CougarLife.com, an older women/younger men dating website, which had named Wright the “hottest” baseball player that fits its demographic.
Deadspin reported that the Mets attempted to capitalize off of this by reaching out to CougarLife. The Mets reportedly exchanged e-mails with the site, and requested that it ask its users to vote for Wright.
Though CougarLife agreed to take part, and also proposed a “Win a Date” with Wright contest, the Mets decided to back out, releasing a statement saying the club “ultimately elected to pass” on the partnership.
While an actual partnership between the Mets and CougarLife did not come to fruition, their dealings still brought attention to Wright’s All-Star candidacy, and the Mets acknowledged this in their statement. The club thanked “whoever leaked [the information] to Deadspin for increasing awareness” of the club’s efforts to get Wright voted in.
While these unusual efforts seem to have helped, Wright has aided his own cause with a prolific season at the plate. The Mets captain is batting .309 and is seventh in the NL with a .923 OPS on-base plus slugging percentage.
Statistically, Wright has had a stronger year than Sandoval, possessing a superior average (.309 to Sandoval’s .293), on-base percentage (.390 to .329) and slugging percentage (.523 to .428).
Wright has also hit more home runs (12 to 8) and stolen 12 bases. Sandoval has no steals.
According to FanGraphs.com, Wright has been worth 3.8 wins above replacement, an advanced stat used to measure a player’s total contributions to his team, while Sandoval has been worth 1.0.
The All-Star Game will be played on July 16 at Citi Field. Voting is open until July 4 at 11:59 p.m.