Major League Baseball's annual voting for its 84th annual All-Star Game is in full swing, and fans around the league are diligently grabbing ballots during home games and punching out their favorite players' names.
But it's probably a safe bet that they're not plowing through more than 3,000 ballots a game, like the Tampa Bay Rays' Sombrero Brothers.
You read that right.
Since May 6, fans Bart Graham and Chris Crandall (not really brothers, by the way) have voted almost 30,000 times for Rays players, averaging about 3,300 to 3,500 a night. In addition to getting Rays players into the game, scheduled July 16 at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, Graham and Crandall said they were trying to win tickets to the Hancock Bank Club area in the Trop in a promotion to see who can fill in the most ballots.
They are often shown doing their thing during the broadcast of Rays games.
On Tuesday, in a game against the Red Sox, they were sitting in Section 129, Graham methodically paging through stack after stack of ballots to prepare each one for voting. Crandall had a ballpoint pen and was punching each ballot. They watched the game and voted simultaneously, barely looking down at the ballots as they shuffled through them at blazing speed.
That the voting took place without ever opening the ballot was not lost on a reporter. And while the two didn't want to go into elaborate details about their voting method, they did allow that knowing exactly where Evan Longoria's name is on the ballot is definitely a handy thing to pay attention to. (Watch the video above and see how they do it.)
All-Star Game voting continues until 11:59 p.m. July 4 and can be done online ( tampabay.rays.mlb.com) or at the Trop.
According to mlb.com, more than 20 million ballots were distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, where each will have 25 dates for voting. It also put the ballots in close to 100 Minor League ballparks.
Rays players on the ballot include James Loney (1), Ben Zobrist (2), Yunel Escobar (SS), Evan Longoria (3), Jose Molina (C), Luke Scott (DH) and Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce and Kelly Johnson (OF).