MINNEAPOLIS -- Will it be Sweep Home Chicago for Chris Sale and Anthony Rizzo? Will Justin Morneau be welcomed back by his longtime fans Tuesday at Target Field? Will Justin Upton's huge hashtag support all week mean a walk-off win?
The All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Experian went down to the wire before it ended today at 4 p.m. ET, and anything can happen as Twitter voting joined the tens of millions of votes cast in the competition to fill the final roster spots on the American League and National League All-Star teams that will play the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday.
Over the final six hours, tweets using the designated hashtag of a candidate were counted as part of his final vote tally. With the races so close, fan support on Twitter during the last hours of online balloting could play a key role in determining the winners, which will be revealed soon on MLB.com.
Rizzo overtook Morneau on Wednesday night in the battle of NL first basemen, as the former homered on each of the first three days of balloting to close within one of Miami's Giancarlo Stanton for the NL home run lead with 20. As of Thursday morning, Rizzo had less than two percent more votes than Morneau, who continued to have huge supplemental support from his former fan base in the state of Minnesota, where he was a four-time All-Star for the Twins.
MLB.com monitored the tweet counts all week, even though the ones sent before 10 a.m. today did not count in the balloting. For the record, Braves outfielder Justin Upton -- who had multi-hit games on the first three days he was on the ballot -- was leading Rizzo by fewer than 1,000 tweets in the NL as of Wednesday night, while Sale and Angels right-hander Garrett Richards were 1-2 on the AL side.
Sale, the winning pitcher of last year's All-Star Game, led since the first night of balloting and added to his case by pitching 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball Wednesday in a no-decision at Boston. He is trying to become the fourth White Sox player to win the Final Vote. That would be the most from any team and four successful campaigns within a 10-year span, following Scott Podsednik (2005), A.J. Pierzynski ('06) and Paul Konerko ('11).
Balloting began Sunday night with the presentation of the five nominees per league by All-Star managers John Farrell of the AL and Mike Matheny of the NL, in conjunction with MLB.
MLB.com is providing a unique analysis of how a specific region in the United States is voting for the 10 candidates. Scroll over any county to see a color-coded display showing the online vote share for each player. Click here or visit MLB.com to access the data visualization map.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow you to help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. 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. More information is available at allstargame.com.