Hill falls short as Freese claims NL Final Vote
D-backs second baseman grateful for support from fans, teammates
PHOENIX -- Thrust into the spotlight by the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Firestone, D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill reluctantly embraced the attention enough to make a run at winning the race that broke online voting records.
But even though the 30-year-old came up short of earning the final spot on the National League All-Star roster, he was thankful for the support he received from his teammates, and moreover, his fans.
"It's fun to see how many people get behind you, it really is," Hill said. "I thank everyone who went out and voted however many times. I'm not huge into all the interviews and self-promoting, but obviously that's a huge part of it because it's a popularity thing. I enjoyed it though."
Cardinals third baseman David Freese ended up capturing the roster spot while Yu Darvish of the Rangers won in the American League.
To promote Hill, the D-backs reached out to numerous media outlets, including those in Canada, where the second baseman spent his career before being traded to the desert. The club also printed T-shirts with the hashtag "FinHillVote" printed on them.
Entering Thursday's game with the Dodgers, Hill was batting .300 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs. His two cycles in June highlighted his season so far.
"Aaron is a good, dirty baseball player," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "I haven't seen a game when he hasn't been dirty. He loves the game and is in a good environment. It works for him. He feels comfortable and is finding it."
As of Thursday morning there already had been 40 million votes cast, and there were about six million more between 7 a.m. MST and the close of balloting at 1 p.m. The Final Vote was a continuation of a record-shattering 2012 fan balloting campaign. On Thursday, MLB.com finished the voting for the 17 starting position players via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot, with 391.2 million votes and 34.9 million ballots. Both figures were easily the largest totals recorded in the history of online balloting at MLB.com.
The Final Vote balloting was conducted on MLB.com, club sites and, in a new twist, on Twitter -- where designated player hashtags counted during the final four hours of balloting. The effort drew a four-hour sustained average of 3,000 tweets per minute during the voting period.
Here is the complete list of previous winners: Paul Konerko (AL, 2011); Shane Victorino (NL, 2011); Nick Swisher (AL, 2010); Joey Votto (NL, 2010); Brandon Inge (AL, 2009), Victorino (NL, 2009); Evan Longoria (AL, 2008); Corey Hart (NL, 2008); Hideki Okajima (AL, 2007); Chris Young (NL, 2007); A.J. Pierzynski (AL, 2006); Nomar Garciaparra (NL, 2006); Scott Podsednik (AL, 2005); Roy Oswalt (NL, 2005); Matsui (AL, 2004); Bobby Abreu (NL, 2004); Jason Varitek (AL, 2003); Geoff Jenkins (NL, 2003); Johnny Damon (AL, 2002); and Andruw Jones (NL, 2002).
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 voices will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
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.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.