ST. LOUIS -- The Brewers' clever attempt to rally the All-Star Game fan vote behind catcher Jonathan Lucroy quickly reached St. Louis, where manager Mike Matheny wasn't exactly thrilled to see his star catcher as the centerpiece of the campaign spoof.
As of Sunday, Molina had nearly 600,000 more votes than San Francisco's Buster Posey, currently second on the list, and close to 900,000 more votes than Lucroy. And so Milwaukee pulled out the creativity card, using a play on traditional political campaign videos to poke fun at Molina and play up Lucroy.
"Do you want another St. Louis Cardinal to star in an All-Star Game? Isn't there a better way?" the narrator begins, before going on to assert that Lucroy is the best catcher in the NL.
"Most importantly," the narrator adds, "he is not a St. Louis Cardinal."
That jab at the Cardinals was what irked Matheny.
"I think you have to take it in the nature in which it was meant, and it was meant to be geared toward their fan base," Matheny said. "It was just amazing that it was that much directed at our organization. I think that part probably caught me off guard the most.
"Not saying that's surprising. We've gone through this the last few years, especially last year with the Cardinal Way stuff getting blown way out of proportion. I think it can put a bad taste in a lot of peoples' mouth. But in defense of the recognition that our guys have had -- whether it's having a number of guys on the All-Star team -- that stuff isn't just handed out. These guys have worked hard for that. They have deserved it, and they have earned it, and I don't think that's anything for us to apologize for."
Lucroy, who was not part of the development of the ad, said no harm was intended.
"Me, personally, I have nothing but respect for the Cardinals and Yadi," Lucroy said. "Yadi's one of the best catchers to ever play. I think that's the general consensus. That commercial was meant as a joke, and obviously, that doesn't reflect my personal belief.
"I don't want people taking it the wrong way."
Lucroy's cell phone started buzzing with text messages on Tuesday after the ad was released, and most of those he heard from got the joke -- that it was a spoof of a bad political attack ad.
"Everybody got a good kick out of it, I guess," he said. "It's one of those things that I really wasn't privy to prior to the development of it. I really didn't know it was going to be portrayed like that. I just don't people taking it the wrong way, because it's not what I personally believe."
Remember that Matheny holds the trump card, too, as his position as the NL All-Star Game manager allows him to make the final selections for his squad. If Molina holds onto the fan vote, Lucroy would need to be voted in through the player's ballot or else wait to see if Matheny chooses him as an additional backstop.
As for the accuracy of the video's assertion, that validity depends upon what numbers one wants to emphasize. Offensively, Lucroy has posted better numbers than Molina to this point. His .342 batting average heading into Wednesday was tops among NL catchers, and he was tied with Atlanta's Evan Gattis for most RBIs, with 34.
However, Molina, who was hitting .288/.335/.416 through Tuesday, has been superior defensively, and has thrown out a Major League-best 47 percent of attempted basestealers. Opponents have swiped only 16 bases with him behind the plate, compared with 30 off Lucroy. Lucroy has thrown out just 29 percent of basestealers.
Molina has a loaded reputation, too, as he has won six straight Gold Glove Awards and been invited to the last five All-Star Games. Last year he led all NL players in the voting.
As for the Cardinals' response to the Brewers' campaign, it doesn't appear that there will be any aside from Matheny's pregame comments on Wednesday. FOX Sports Midwest was ready to counter with their own video, though the Cardinals requested that they not.
Matheny added that a rebuttal is "not something I'm interested in. It's an easy no."
The Cardinals entered Wednesday trailing Milwaukee by 3 1/2 games in the National League Central.
With in-stadium voting having already ended at Busch Stadium, fans still wanting to cast votes for the All-Star Game starters can do so at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 10:59 p.m. CT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.