A couple of sharp-eyed lads from WUSA put together an item this week noting that the Nats are offering incentives for All-Star game ballot submission, culminating with the grand prize: holding the finish line for the Presidents’ Race if you submit 10,000 ballots. See here for details.
(Other prizes: 10 ballots lets you enter a contest to win an autographed item, 100 brings a bobblehead, 500 a Nationals Prize Pack, 1,000 an autographed item, and 5,000 an on-field batting practice viewing experience.”
This is, in fact, the second year the Nats have used such a promotional plan to push their players. And last year’s plan was actually featured by MLB in this year’s in-stadium balloting handbook.
A team spokeswoman explained that the Nats “take All-Star Balloting very seriously and look for new and creative ways to rally our fans to support our players.” While there is a limit to the number of times fans can vote online (25), no such limit exists for paper ballots, and other clubs have implemented similar incentive plans.
The spokeswoman told me that one father-son duo started collecting ballots on May 1; they have already completed 5,000, earning the right to watch BP from the field. A young couple polished off 1,000 ballots in a game, earning an autographed item. (For in-game voters, the Nats will provide toothpicks to help punch ballots.) And the team recently learned that one season ticket holder’s family has reached the 10,000-ballot mark, and will thus qualify for the finish line duty.
Of course, press-punching or mass-punching ballots is not allowed, and the Nats have never encouraged such violations of the MLB rules.
My own opinion: anyone who makes it through 10,000 ballots deserves all the rewards the Nats can muster. Also, don’t forget to write-in Bryce Harper’s name, even if it ends up adding about 10,000 minutes to your work.
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