07/12/11 1:48 PM ET
Pepsi MAX, MLB provide opportunity of lifetime
Vote for your favorite living legends and have chance to play them
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
We are not making this up.
Someone is about to become the most popular person in the history of his or her community. Can you say key to the city? As Major League Baseball prepared for its 82nd All-Star Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Justin Upton of the D-backs, supermodel Selita Ebanks, reggaeton stars Rakim Y Ken Y and a dazzling array of former All-Stars and Hall of Famers were nearby on Tuesday morning at FanFest to unveil the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team contest.
"This is crazy, to be here with Hall of Famers, guys who played the game for a long time," Upton said. "They're all in my town here in Arizona."
Now they can be in your town.
"Anybody who's a baseball fan, to have the opportunity to have these guys come into their city and play a game with them, this Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team is awesome," Upton said. "You can bring so much energy and happiness to a community."
From now through Aug. 31, you can go to MLB.com/PepsiMAX to cast up to 25 votes per day for your favorite living legends nominated at each position. For each ballot cast, you will be entered to win the chance to take on the winning Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team on your home turf next spring, surrounded by family, fans and media. We'll help decide on the field.
"Fans have fantasies about playing against Major Leaguers, and this is going to give them a chance to do it," Fisk said. "I don't know what kind of game it's going to be, how intense it's going to get, but let me tell you. Eleven players on the Dream Team versus 11 players on the fan team? I don't give the fan team much of a chance."
"It would be fun," Fingers said. "I don't mind doing stuff like that at all. It would be great. I'm sure the whole town would probably get up for it. It's a great idea."
Are you still reading? Did you pass out?
You have some challenging decisions to deal with along the way. Go ahead and get the grumbling out of your system now, because so-and-so might not be among the nominees. It doesn't matter. Look at the living legends who are on your ballot. Then keep picturing yourself and 10 friends hosting them in a game of baseball somewhere in your town.
Would you rather have Hall of Famers Johnny Bench or Fisk behind the plate, a rematch of the famous 1975 World Series between the Reds and Red Sox? Or would you go with a probable future Hall of Famer, Mike Piazza? That's what the choices look like, and remember that whoever fans decide on is going to be coming to the winner's town.
"In people's minds, there has always been the question: What would be your Dream Team? No matter what sport it is, who would you want to have on your team?" Fisk said. "People can do this now."
The ballot is comprised of 30 living Major League Baseball greats, many of them Hall of Famers. They include three legendary players at each position -- catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, DH, relief pitcher, starting pitcher and outfield.
Each vote counts as an entry to be selected as one of four regional finalists. In September, when the pennant races are hot and those dreamy Iowa cornstalks are beginning to turn golden, the fan-elected Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team will be announced. The four fan finalists will begin campaigning for a chance to take on this real-life fantasy team.
"Pepsi MAX is all about creating unique, one-of-a-kind opportunities for MLB fans to help amplify their baseball experience," said Mark Rooks, senior director for Pepsi sports marketing. "With this promotion, we are looking to engage MLB fans by allowing them to tell us who they think some of the greatest living legends of the game are, and to top it all off, we are giving them the chance of a lifetime to play against some of their all-time heroes."
Fans visiting MLB.com/PepsiMAX can find voting help by utilizing the interactive stats, high-quality video highlights and background stories featuring the legends on the ballot. Active Major Leaguers also will provide guidance through firsthand video testimonials on how they would cast their votes. In addition, fans will be able to spark balloting debates by sharing their opinions and choices on MLB.com and through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
"It was fun working with Pepsi MAX earlier this year to create the 'Clubhouse in the Corn' and 'Rally' commercials, and now to see how they are bringing that to life for the fans is amazing," said Hall of Famer Eckersley, now also a Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team hopeful. "The guys on the ballot are some of the greatest baseball players of all time. I'm honored to be counted among them and excited to see how the fans vote."
For Pepsi MAX, the official soft drink of MLB, the promotion is an extension of the brand's advertising creative -- launched earlier this year with videos on MLB.com and commercials including "Clubhouse in the Corn" and "Rally."
Ebanks was there to help click the first ballot choices, and immediately surrounding her were Henderson, Eckersley, Fingers and Barry Larkin. At one point, Ebanks looked at the ballot and said, "Look at that mullet!" Eckersley was standing right behind her, expressionless, when she said it, since she was actually trying to decide whether to click on him for reliever. "Haha, she said 'mullet,'" Fingers snapped right back.
When it came to shortstop, Ebanks started debating the stats that appear on the ballot menu. "Stats don't tell the whole story," Larkin told her. Ebanks was unfazed; this is how you might be.
"I have seven brothers, so I'm a bit headstrong," she said. "Even though I am standing next to some of the most legendary players ever to grace the field, I'm still very combative. I was like, 'Well, I don't want to choose him.' I'm pulling out stats, RBIs and home runs. They're like, 'Listen, dude, I played with him. Listen to us.' I'm like, 'No!'"
Let the voting begin. Fingers left everyone with a message:
"It's not a softball game. We're going to be playing regular hardball. I haven't knocked anybody down in about 20 years, so make sure you're wearing a helmet, OK guys?"