MILWAUKEE -- If this week proved anything, it's that political attack ads work -- even when intended as total farce.
Aramis Ramirez jumped from fourth place into the lead among National League third basemen and led a surge of Brewers players in the latest round of All-Star Game balloting results released Monday by Major League Baseball. No Brewers third baseman has started a Midsummer Classic since Paul Molitor in 1988.
Ramirez was not the only Milwaukee player moving up. Carlos Gomez returned to the top three among outfielders, positioning him to start for the NL squad, with Ryan Braun in fifth place on that list and Khris Davis up to 11th. Jonathan Lucroy moved up to second place among catchers, Jean Segura to second place among shortstops, and first baseman Mark Reynolds and second baseman Rickie Weeks joined the top five at their positions for the first time. Both were running fourth.
The voting surge coincided with a pair of promotional ads produced by Fox Sports Wisconsin touting the candidacies of Lucroy and Gomez. The Lucroy piece, a spoof of a bad political attack ad, drew particular attention after Cardinals manager Mike Matheny felt compelled to respond publicly to its tongue-in-cheek jab at Yadier Molina. The Gomez ad plays off the fact that none of last year's starters in the NL outfield were true center fielders.
"I'm not really paying attention to this. I'm enjoying the way we're playing. It's so good. I just continue to do my job, and if I'm going to start or make it to the All-Star [Game], my job is going to take me there," Gomez said. "If I do the right job, I'm going to be there."
The biggest leap belonged to Ramirez, who went 14-for-28 on the Brewers' recent trip to Arizona and Colorado. With 1,279,902 votes, Ramirez moved ahead of the Mets' David Wright (1,260,895), the Giants' Pablo Sandoval (1,194,607) and the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter (1,049,472). Ramirez has been an All-Star twice in his career but not since 2008 with the Cubs.
Among outfielders, Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates and Gomez have created some distance from the rest of the field, each garnering 2.4-2.5 million votes. The top three will be named NL starters, making the gap between Gomez (2,409,860 votes) and Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton (2,130,519 votes) important. Braun is next, with 1,974,845 votes.
Molina still led NL catchers with 2,600,853 votes, but Lucroy (1,911,745) jumped ahead of the Giants' Buster Posey. At shortstop, Segura (1,272,273 votes) trails only Troy Tulowitzki's 3,287,460 votes. Tulowitzki remains the league's leading overall vote-getter.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 10:59 p.m. CT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Fans this year once again can participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2014 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 7 p.m. CT on Monday, July 14.
The 2014 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the 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 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, 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 SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.