On Monday I published a blog post titled How to place 1 million All-Star game votes for Royals players with a single email address.
Through a common acquaintance, this blog post was brought to the attention of Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN. Jeff was working on a piece about the Kansas City Royals All-Star voting and fan reaction to the national criticism about Royals fans “stuffing the ballot box.” Jeff and I spoke briefly about the methods I outlined in the blog post above and Royals fans reaction to criticism by the national media and other fan bases.
In his piece, Royals ruling All-Star voting for multiple reasons, all legit, Jeff finds
MLB makes a concerted effort to investigate votes that: 1. come from accounts created using email addresses that appear to have been tweaked in some way that too closely resemble another address; 2. multiple voting accounts that come from the same IP address; and 3. troubling patterns in voting that emerge during the reviews by a third-party company employed to chart All-Star Game balloting trends.
(Bob Bowman, MLB president of business and media) Bowman said that process alone leads to about 20 percent of the votes that are cast online being eliminated every year. With that in mind, all the votes MLB has reported so far have been sanitized.
Bowman’s comments lead me to believe that MLB does everything they can to make sure all votes that are counted for All-Stars are 100% legitimate. Wow! Can this be true?! If so, not a single fan across the other 29 teams’ fan bases have anything to complain about. Nothing.
Can you really vote 1 million times with a single email address?
So, does the “Gmail method” get caught by MLB’s “process?” Who knows. That’s the real answer. Is it an actual person vetting the All-Star votes? Is it an algorithm? How smart is this algorithm? Is firstname.lastname@example.org similar enough to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to be caught by the algorithm? That’s the problem with algorithms, they’re only as smart as the people who write them.
Does the algorithm take into consideration the plus sign? Probably not, most don’t. Is it based on a percentage of similar characters in a string? If so, voteroyals is only 20% of voteroyals+asdfhaliiusdsfghhy8h3938hd35s. Is that similar enough? My guess, no, it’s not, but I doubt MLB will verify how their algorithm actually works (if it is an algorithm).
But let’s back up a bit – What are the actual 2015 MLB All-Star Game voting rules?
According to the official MLB All-Star Game Ballot – “You may vote in the All-Star Balloting Program 35 times between 4/29/15 and 7/2/15.” – This wording assumes each person is allowed to vote only 35 TOTAL times, however, if you visit the ballot page each day, the website allows fans to place 35 additional votes, day after day, after day… Also, see that official esurance All-Star Game image at the top? It definitely suggests fans should vote multiple times.
— Travis Pflanz (@TravisPflanz) June 18, 2015
I doubt either will reply.
Are ALL Royals All-Star Votes Legit?
I hope so. Even if it means my entire “Gmail method” for voting a million times for Royals players is proven useless, the fact that MLB has legitimized and verified EVERY SINGLE vote for EVERY SINGLE Royals player is much more exciting than my personal contribution to “ballot stuffing.”
If all votes for Royals players are legitimate, that’s proof the entire country is behind the Royals “ballot stuffing,” not only Kansas Citians. The entire country loves this Royals team… There’s nothing left to argue. This fact, that the entire country is behind the Royals, leaves little for Cardinals fans, Yankees fans, or anyone else anything to complain about the Royals getting eight All-Stars voted to start the game.