Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Election Time!

My fellow Americans, it came to my attention this morning that today is the last day to cast votes for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, which takes place on July 13 in Houston. Having nothing else to do, I did my patriotic duty and submitted my ballot twenty-five times, which is the maximum number you're allowed.

Here's how I voted:

Pos.American LeagueNational League
CIvan Rodriguez, DetroitCharles Johnson, Colorado
1BPaul Konerko, ChicagoSean Casey, Cincinnati
2BAlfonso Soriano, TexasJeff Kent, Houston
3BHank Blalock, TexasScott Rolen, St. Louis
SSCarlos Guillen, DetroitBarry Larkin, Cincinnati
OFDmitri Young, DetroitAdam Dunn, Cincinnati
OFVladimir Guerrero, AnaheimKen Griffey Jr., Cincinnati
OFManny Ramirez, BostonWily Mo Peña, Cincinnati

There are at least a few odd choices on there, I'll readily admit. Let me go through my rationale for some of them.

For one thing, being a Reds fan, I'm not nearly as familiar with the American League as I am with the National League. I had to look at stats to pick players at a couple of positions, especially in the infield. It turns out that Texas has a really good infield, so I picked their players at three out of four positions.

My strangest American League selection has to be Dmitri Young of the Detroit Tigers. I know he was on the disabled list for a good portion of the season, and I honestly don't know how well he's doing since then. I do know that he hit a game-winning home run last night. I also know that he's been one of my favorite players for a long time. He played for the Reds for several years, but I liked him even before that, when he played for St. Louis. I remember watching him when he first came up with St. Louis, and he was so much fun to watch. I was psyched when the Reds got him, and disappointed when they got rid of him. I don't think he'll end up in the All-Star game, but he earned my votes a long time ago.

Moving on to the National League side, the first thing you'll notice is that I voted for Charles Johnson at the catcher position instead of the easy choice, Mike Piazza. Piazza's having a good year, I like him as a player, and the Mets are my second-favorite team behind the Reds. So what gives? Well, Piazza has only played half his games this year as a catcher, playing the other half at first base. Johnson is an awesome defensive catcher, and he's having a pretty solid year offensively as well. Piazza is going to win the voting and be the starting catcher, but it would be nice to see Johnson on the team as well.

The second thing about my National League ballot is that it's laden with players from the Reds. Let's go through them.

First base is a loaded position in the National League. Jim Thome of the Phillies leads the majors in home runs. Albert Pujols of the Cardinals is just awesome, a great all-around player. Piazza plays there when he's not catching. It would be hard to make a bad choice here. My votes go to Casey. For one thing, he's one of my favorite players. More objectively, he's been leading the league in batting average for most of the season, and he's probably the team MVP so far. I doubt he'll get enough votes to earn the start, but I would be very surprised if he's not on the All-Star team as a reserve.

The National League doesn't have the star power at shortstop like the American League does, but there are some solid players. Edgar Renteria (St. Louis) and Adam Kennedy (Houston) are currently leading a very tight race, but I would love to see Barry Larkin win it. This is the last year in an illustrious career for him, and it would be awesome to see him get one more place in the Midsummer Classic. It's not a mercy vote, either, as he's been playing well and has been a large part of Cincinnati's success so far this season. I seriously doubt he's going to win the voting, but I do hope they can find a place for him on the team.

I filled my outfield ballot with Reds players. The vote for Griffey needs no explanation. I don't think a vote for Adam Dunn is much of a stretch--he's second in the league in home runs, and probably in walks as well. I know, however, that Wily Mo Peña hasn't got a chance in hell of making the team, even as a reserve. I needed a third choice, though--I don't think Sosa is deserving this year, and I'll never vote for Bonds. Peña is most definitely not the most deserving outfielder after those guys, but I'd really just like to see him participate in the Home Run Derby. He can hit the ball a long way.

Voting is open until midnight tonight. Click here to vote.

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