Is it a recap of last night's game, which most people who are up early on East Coast time would probably be interested in seeing? Why, no, it's yet another message from the Yankees telling you to vote Nick Swisher into the All-Star game to go along with the - not kidding - THIRTEEN other mentions of the Final Vote and TEN pictures of his face on the front page before you even have to scroll down.
- A gaudy background design telling you to "Send Swish" and visit Yankees.com, even though you are already there.
- A banner ad on top of the site.
- Underneath the main picture, there is a link to this page created for the "Send Swish" campaign.
- And a link to an article Bryan Hoch wrote about all the support Swisher is getting (with a video interview).
- And a link to an article about Brian Cashman coercing children into stuffing the ballot box under the guise of charity work.
- Another link to an article by Hoch on the status of the vote (Swish is in the lead!!1!). I'm sure Bryan is having a fucking blast writing all of these!
- And a link to where you can vote under that.
- And a contest (for two regular season tickets and an autographed ball! (/makes wanking motion)) that you could potentially have a 1:10,000,000 chance of winning if you vote for Swisher.
- Another link to Swish's campaign headquarters.
- On the right, there is the video with him and his surfboard that you would have to have been living in a hole not to to have seen ten times already.
- Under that, there is a second link to the support article.
- And a second link to the status article.
- And yet another link to where you can vote.
This is in addition to the four or five emails the Yankees have blasted out, the shameless plug in the recap, the innumerable on-air mentions, more articles that Hoch has probably been forced to write at gunpoint, and pretty much every Yankee blog happily joining in this massive, elaborate PR circle jerk to maybe see Swisher play a couple of innings in an exhibition game over someone who is more deserving.
To be clear, it's not really the Yankees who are at fault here. They are just doing what they do best: flexing their considerable resources to gain an advantage over the competition. I'm sure the Red Sox campaign for Youk is equally exasperating. The true culprit here is the concept of the "Final Vote", which is baseball's equivalent of having a play-in game for the 64th spot in the NCAA Tournament - a stupid attention grab that means next to nothing.
Sure, all of the All-star voting is essentially a popularity contest and teams are all too happy to promote their own guys ad nauseam as soon as they have the chance, but the Final Vote takes everything that is wrong and irksome with the process and shoves it down your throat constantly for four days straight.
I get it, "Let's rally around our guy". Swisher is having an excellent year. In terms of WAR and wOBA, he trails only Robinson Cano on the team. He's never been an All-Star and since he's a corner outfielder, he's not going to get all that many chances to be one. From his perspective, the opportunity to rally the Yankees' massive fanbase around his candidacy is probably his best shot of ever being able to add the feather of playing in the Mid-Summer Classic to his cap. He seems to sincerely want it, too. But I don't care.
I'm not voting, and if I was - and I know this is tough to believe - I would vote for Kevin Youkilis (you know, the guy who is the best player among those available). He's been worth nearly a full win more than Swisher this year (with Paul Konerko, Michael and Delmon Young trailing well behind) and, as much as we hate him, deserves his third straight All-Star selection more than Swisher deserves his first. Furthermore, when push comes to shove, if the AL needs a pinch hitter in extra innings of the ASG to win homefield advantage in the World Series, I'd much rather see Youk at the plate than Swish. Wouldn't you?