Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The ESPN Conspiracy - #VoteFreddie


Here are four names that you may not see on…unless you dig really deep:

Freddie Freeman.  2 years, 33 games of major league service time.  2nd in Rookie of the Year balloting in 2009 (to Craig Kimbrel).

Adrian Gonzalez.  1st base.  7 years, 108 games of major league service time.  4-time All-Star.

Hunter Pence.  Rightfielder.  5 years, 156 games of major league service time.  2-time All-Star.  3rd in Rookie of the Year balloting in 2007 (Braun/Tulo).

Ian Desmond.  Shortstop.  3 year, 27 games of major league service time.  2012 All-Star.


Here’s one name that ESPN will throw into your face immediately:

Yasiel Puig.  Rightfielder.  Major league service time?  32 games.  Less than 100 games as a professional ballplayer at all levels.  No awards.


There is a phenomenon that Major League Baseball hit upon a few years ago for the All-Star game:  the ‘Final Vote’.  In this, fans are encouraged to choose one of five candidates to fill the final roster spot on the All-Star teams for each league.  The names you see above are the five finalists for the National League this year.

ESPN would like you to know that there’s only one choice – and they even made it incredibly easy for you to vote for this player over the weekend when the ballot was set.  If you venture onto their baseball page and then click on ‘All-Star lineups’, you will find the following front page photo:

Please note the circled links.  This actually represents their EDITED version of the page… the one that someone decided was more acceptable.  Here’s what it originally had in that space on Saturday (this captured from a tweet sent by @FauxFrankWren; note the official-looking ‘MLB – Major League Baseball’ title across the top as well):

Yes!  ESPN is positively giddy that Cuban defector Yasiel Puig is in the Final Vote – and they even provided you with a quick way to vote for him!!

Now, I understand that ESPN is allowed to have opinions.  They express those opinions in shows all the time – Pardon the Interruption, and a host of other network shows.  The website has been largely different, though:  unless you’re intentionally picking on a columnist’s writings, you expect to see news about sports… it’s a reporting outlet, and not an opinion outlet.  But this action went way across that line, then turned ’round and moved the line out further.  Obviously, they knew that they had erred:  the page was changed... but only to make it somewhat more evident that they had an opinion.

In that first link “Puig in Final Vote” (which I refuse to link here), there is a “story” about his inclusion that fails to mention the other four players in competition with him until the next-to-last paragraph of the piece.  In the other link “He belongs,” Puig’s fellow ballot members are buried in the middle… with no actual comparisons made to justify the title of the op-ed article.

Here on Tomahawk Take, we will be happy to make the case for Freddie Freeman with follow-up articles to this one.  Please stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile:  yes – we ARE biased…and proudly so.  We are an Atlanta Braves blog site.  We are here expressly to support you, the fans of the Atlanta Braves.  And yes, we do want you to rebel against ESPN – and unite in a vote for Freddie FreemanHere’s how you can do that:

  • Go to through this link and click on Freddie’s picture.  Note the check marks at the bottom of the page.  Voting is open right now.
  • Via Text Message (caution:  this could cost money depending on your phone plan).  Text “N2″ to 89269 for Freddie.
  • On twitter. All tweets made this Thursday between 10am/4pm EDT that use the hashtag #VoteFreddie will count for him.  The subject of the tweet does not matter.  One vote max per tweet; multiple tweets encouraged.

This is not a ‘one person, one vote’ situation, either.  Please stuff the ballot box!  Remember, you have all of Los Angeles, plus the entire ESPN readership against us!!

Am I over-reacting?  Is this making too much about nothing?  Well, Chipper Jones appears to share the opinion – check out these tweets from him:

Chipper Jones@RealCJ10 7 Jul@ajcbraves It surprise you that espn oversteps their boundaries? That’s why I don’t watch it anymore.

Chipper Jones@RealCJ10 1h@MLB@YasielPuig Ok, we get it! MLB and ESPN want Puig to make the all star team! Just let him in and stop dragging it out!

(Forgive me for quoting a Phillie) Even Jonathan Papelbon called the notion of Puig being an All-Star an “absolute joke” in an interview last week.

(Forgive me for quoting a National)  Bryce Harper did a really classy thing last year – which set the bar for this year’s Final Vote.  As a rookie, he yielded to the veteran, saying that if he had a vote, his would go to Chipper Jones.  Awesome – and the right thing to do.

Funny – I searched, and could not find ESPN sticking its neck out like this last year… probably because Harper (a voted-in All-Star this year) popped their balloon early.

#VoteFreddie.  Early and often – do it because the National League All-Star team needs him… hopefully to help bring a home-field advantage to Atlanta for the World Series.


Tags: #VoteFreddie All Star Game All-Star Conspiracy ESPN Final Vote Freddie Freeman Yasiel Puig

  • carpengui

    Regarding ballot-box stuffing: via the website, I made something north of 150 votes after posting this article (I lost count after 120-ish). So yes – it seems to be limited only by your own efforts. Go for it!

  • cheadrick

    Well said Alan, and well reported. I don’t always take the same opinion that it should be a Brave that gets picked, but in this case Freddie certainly deserves a pick above Puig. ESPN always just goes for, and pushes the story that is most intriguing to the sports world at the time, and I’m not trying to make an excuse for them, because there IS NONE for the way they go about it, but I understand it. I don’t excuse it, but understand it. I am just like every other Braves’ fan, biased, and while I try hard not to let that bias color my opinions, it sometimes does. In the case of Freddie Freeman though, he should be an All Star pick, and that’s a fact, bias or not!

  • Bob Long

    Freeman should be the All Star pick. ESPN is the all star prick!

    • cheadrick

      Well, uh hum, yes indeedy! Well said. :)

  • fireboss

    You’re right of course but ESPN doesn’t have the sway some attribute to it. Since MLB Network debuted and poached all but a couple of the real baseball minds from ESPN the only people who actually watch ESPN for baseball news are casual fans. A casual fan supports a team but can’t name any of their minor league players or has any idea what the depth chart looks like. Those folks will not spend hours voting over and over again for anyone not in the NFL, NBA or on American Idol. They might vote 10 times but most won’t vote at all. So while it’s correct that ESPN quit being a news entity in its zeal for a phenomenon to span the time between Lebron and Tebow. Any network that thinks poker or hot dog eating is a sport has no idea what sports are. The real issue is the MLB Network guys closing a show with “Vote Puig” as Harold Reynolds did. The only fair discussions I’ve heard have been on XM radio.

    The other issue how badly MLB wants this. I’m sure the commissar has unlimited votes as well and likely doesn’t have to enter a capchtca number every time. Whatever the actual vote is I suspect Puig will get a majority of the votes that count. If you believe that sounds cynical you’re correct. We’re talking about the folks who hired an independent arbiter and then fired him after he disagreed with them once in 5 years or so.

    • carpengui

      For what it’s worth, has the 26th highest ranked website in the US and 120th in the world… not among sports sites – that’s among all sites. They do have some sway, and therefore should be called out – your thoughts notwithstanding. I do trust that our own readers are looking for better, and that we can deliver for them.

      Meanwhile, if I were the Braves (or Freeman’s agent, for that matter) I would quickly have hired a room full of high school kids at minimum wage to be voting like mad for eight hours a day until Thursday afternoon. They set up the voting system to be abused, so by golly… go abuse it.

    • cheadrick

      Yeah, I agree that the Mother Ship no longer holds the same sway it once did, but it’s still a HUGE sports entity that alot of fans follow, even if they are casual fans. Those casual fans vote, and they don’t know enough to discern between numbers if ESPN isn’t responsible enough to point it out. You’re right though, the powers that be simply want this. It’s not good for Freddie, but you can argue it might be good for baseball, at least in terms of the casual fan base. MLB numbers have slowly gone down over time, and anything to boost it, MLB will push to the networks.

    • carpengui

      For what it’s worth, ESPN does have the 26th most-visited website in the US and the 120th most-visited on earth… 2nd if you’re only counting sports sites. But they have made that reputation on being a source for news – not opinion.

      Is stumping for Puig in their best interests (MLB or ESPN)? They apparently think so. But given their general broad appeal, they should be called out for this, and then let the chips fall as they may. Frankly, if I’m Bruce Bochy and I have that game on the line with runners in scoring position – I want Freddie to hit. [Several years ago, Fred McGriff was called upon in such a situation and tied up the game with a homer.]

      Meanwhile, if I’m Frank Wren (or Freddie’s own agent, for that matter), I’m hiring a room full of high school kids at minimum wage to vote incessantly over the next 4 days. It’s a ‘voting’ process begging to be abused, so we all might as well take advantage. :)

  • fireboss

    Please not the twitter vote is limited to 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (EDT) on Thursday, July 11, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag in this case #VoteFreddie

    • carpengui

      Right – thanks. The post has been updated with that info included.

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