For the most part, it was what we expected. Ortiz, no-brainer because you knew the fans would vote him in. Beckett and Papelbon were as automatic as they were well deserving.
Manny? It’s a below par year but I’m not surprised the players voted him in because the context these guys think of is, "Who is the last guy we want to see at the plate when our team is trying to win a game?". I think Manny qualifies as a consistent answer to a lot of players in baseball. Mike Lowell had a great line when he said that Vegas Oddsmakers were probably setting a line on whether or not he shows.
Mike Lowell? He got off to a great start and third base isn’t a deep position in the AL. And when Manny and Ortiz weren’t hitting for their usual production, Lowell carried a big part of the load early in the season.
As far as snubs go, Youkilis is the one obvious one. I think he’s been the best hitter on the team this year, but the whole thing about Ortiz being considered the AL first baseman for All-Star purposes basically crushed Youk’s chances.
Okajima being on the Final Vote is a great story. I wonder how much they considered putting Matsuzaka on there instead. Dice-K measures up statistically to many of the pitchers who are All-Stars this year. But there’s no doubting Oki’s dominance. I’m thinking he’ll get a lot of on-line votes in two countries. As Jonathan Papelbon said dryly, "I know they have a lot of computers in Japan." And Red Sox Nation has always hit the on-line ballots heavily.
Once I actually get to San Francisco, you know the Bonds story is going to rise above all else. Regardless of what he’s done in his career and how he achieved it, it’s going to be a compelling story watching this all-time great play perhaps his last All-Star game in his home city. Whether or not Bonds cheated on his way to glory isn’t for me to decide. But I do know this. Long before that guy’s body started expanding, he was a first ballot Hall of Famer without question.
I’m looking forward to watching the whole show unfold.
At any rate, I’ll be at Fenway in a little bit.