Young earns Final Vote as NL All-Star
Right-hander elated to be in his first Midsummer Classic
SAN DIEGO -- While Chris Young was elated on Thursday after finding out that he had earned a spot on the National League's roster for the All-Star Game as the winner of the Monster 2007 All-Star Final Vote, he was more moved by the means that got him there.
"It's incredible -- I can't express enough gratitude to everyone," Young said. "The great measures people have gone through. I'm overwhelmed and thrilled. From the community, the organization and my teammates ... it might be even greater than just getting elected."
Consider the preponderance of evidence that, presumably, worked in Young's favor, as he amassed over 4.5 million votes since the Final Vote online balloting started on Sunday afternoon.
There were teammates Trevor Hoffman and Jake Peavy -- who will join Young on Tuesday in San Francisco for the All-Star Game at AT&T Park -- who taped video messages that urged fans to vote for Young.
San Diego Mayor, Jerry Sanders, got into the act, too, taping a similar video message that was shown on the scoreboard at PETCO Park.
There were computers situated on the concourses at PETCO Park for fans to vote for the 6-foot-10 Young. Padres CEO Sandy Alderson urged employees to essentially stop what they were doing in the office to vote for Young.
Hoffman, who admitted that he's not too computer-inclined, showed his three sons how they could vote for Young on the computer in the clubhouse. Teammate Heath Bell had to step away from the computer in the clubhouse after it seized up following heavy usage.
Heck, even one of Young's competitors for the final spot on the National League roster -- Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano -- gave his support for Young instead of stumping for votes for himself.
"The only thing I was surprised at was that Chris Young of the San Diego Padres wasn't on that team," Zambrano said earlier this week. "He deserved to go. He's done good this year. Honestly, he's the one that deserves to go, not me."
The 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. PT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
Young led the National League in each Final Vote update. He certainly didn't hurt his chances on Wednesday against the Marlins at PETCO Park when he threw seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in a 1-0 victory.
And while he didn't earn a decision, Young managed to lower his ERA this season to an NL-best 2.00.
Young (8-3) has the best home ERA (0.82) and opponents' batting average (.197) in the Major Leagues.
"It's well-deserved," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I think the public -- both here in San Diego and national-wise -- recognized the first half he had and voted accordingly. Justice has been served here with Chris."
A record 23 million votes were cast through online balloting for the sixth annual Final Vote proceeding on MLB.com.
It was Peavy who arguably trumpeted Young's cause the most, from Sunday when it was announced that Young was a Final Vote candidate up until Thursday. During interviews with local and national media, Peavy lobbied for Young.
"I just thought that he was so deserving and deserving over the guys he was on the ballot with," Peavy said. "... He was a better pitcher in the first half than the other four guys on that ballot. I thought it was big of the city to get behind him. The whole city should give themselves a pat on the back because we beat out some pretty big market teams."
It was an odd day of sorts for Young on Thursday. He dropped his appeal of a five-game suspension for his role in an on-field altercation at Wrigley Field, which meant he couldn't be in the dugout or clubhouse with his teammates during the game.
But the afternoon news that he had indeed won the Final Vote certainly lifted his sprits.
During an impromptu press conference on Thursday after the Padres' 3-2 loss to the Marlins at PETCO Park, Young was asked how many times he voted for himself. Young said he didn't once cast a vote in his favor. If anything, he tried not to let the Final Vote become a distraction.
"This year, I didn't want to get wrapped up in it: I had a game to start last night," Young said. "The best way for me to help the San Diego Padres win a division was for me to pitch well last night. I didn't want to get sidetracked or lose focus on what my real goals are this season. It's a great honor. I want to win this division and try to win a championship."
But first things first. Next stop: San Francisco and the All-Star Game.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.