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Sen. Kerry weighing in on All-Star voting

You know the voting for the final roster spot on the All-Star team has reached new (and somewhat scary) levels when a Senator e-mails his constituents, pleading for them to flood the ballots. But when the Red Sox and Yankees are in a competition, what do you expect?

Officially, there are five people included on the online ballot for the final roster spot, with voting at mlb.com ending at 4 p.m. Thursday, but this is setting up to be a two-person race. It's Kevin Youkilis vs. Nick Swisher, and the Yankees and Red Sox have gone all-in this week with their campaigning.

Of course, this could all be moot because Youkilis left last night's game against the Rays with an ankle injury, though he hopes to play Wednesday.

But let's start with this bizarre e-mail from Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), stumping for Youkilis, because this illustrates just how crazy things can get when these two teams go against each other. The e-mail arrived in inboxes Tuesday morning, with Kerry calling the stakes "a little personal."

"Swisher's having a fine year, but Youk is better in just about every category, batting average, slugging, home runs, everything and he plays Gold Glove defense to boot," the e-mail said. "Please don't let anyone say that Swisher beat Youkilis because Sox fans have gone a little soft after '04 and '07. Let's show we're still the most ravenous fans in baseball."

By the end of the day, Youkilis had moved ahead of Swisher in the voting, according to Major League Baseball. Swisher responded to that development on his popular Twitter page, writing, "Seems like this final man vote has turned into a NY vs. Boston thing. Need all my NYers 2 vote!"

That marked Swisher's 16th tweet on this subject in the last two days, and lately he's been going to interesting measures to garner votes.

A veteran user of the popular social-media networking platform, Swisher has been mentioning the Twitter accounts of celebrities in his posts. Why? No doubt he's looking for the all-too-valuable "retweet" from a celebrity with a large following, which means they would send Swisher's post (link included) to their followers. Of course that would mean potentially thousands more votes.

On his way out of the clubhouse for batting practice before last night's game in Oakland, Swisher was asked about Kerry's e-mail. "We need some New York people to step up, man," he said. "If he's going to do that, we've got to get our guys, too, because we have some pretty powerful people, as well."

Again, this is about the final roster spot on the American League All-Star team. There are already seven Yankees on the team and six players from Boston. So it's not like either team is lacking for representatives. Yet that doesn't mean they will watch the other team campaign harder for their player.

The Yankees and Swisher put together a video of him next to a surfboard, asking for your vote and telling fans they could win Yankees tickets and a Swisher-signed ball. The Red Sox, meanwhile, sent out a joint release with the Reds on Monday asking fans to vote red - Joey Votto in the NL and Youkilis in the AL. Anything for a vote, right?

Maybe one of these offseasons the Red Sox and Yankees players should go at it on "The Amazing Race" or "Survivor." Odds are it will be just as competitive as anything else they do.

With Erik Boland

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