Well done, baseball fans

Colorado Rockies second baseman Eric Young, Jr. dives back to first base with the pick off throw going to Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto at Coors Field in Denver on September 10, 2009. Young stole two bases with two base hits against the Reds. Colorado swept Cincinnati 5-1 in the series finale. UPI/Gary C. Caskey... Photo via Newscom

While fans are often criticized (and deservedly so) for making the MLB All-Star Game a popularity contest when it comes to voting, they got it right on Thursday when they selected the Reds’ Joey Votto to be the final representative for the National League at this year’s Midsummer Classic.

From SI.com:

Votto earned the 34th and final spot on the National League roster by beating out Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and Atlanta closer Billy Wagner. Padres reliever Heath Bell was a candidate before being chosen as an injury replacement on the NL squad.

“I would say I’m relieved,” Votto said. “I’m really glad this whole thing is over with. It was kind of taxing on me. I’m excited and I really, really appreciate the fans and their support.”

Cincinnati players campaigned for their teammate, donning “Vote Votto” red T-shirts during batting practice Wednesday before their game against the New York Mets.

“I just really appreciate the accomplishment. I’m going to take it in,” Votto added. “It means a lot to me. I’ve always wanted to be an All-Star.”

Votto hit his 22nd homer early in Thursday night’s game against Philadelphia. He began the day batting .313 and leading the NL in homers, slugging percentage (.588) and on-base percentage (.417).

As I wrote earlier this week, I’m well aware that Votto plays in the same league as Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez. But that doesn’t change the fact that he has better numbers than all three of those stars and deserved to play in the ASG this year. It would have been a sports tragedy if he weren’t selected.

Outside of Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies, one could make the argument that no player in the National League has meant more to their team in the first half then Votto. Collectively, the Reds have played good baseball this year, but it’s mainly because of Votto that they’re currently three games ahead of the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central.

Hopefully Votto will have a couple of good at bats and show a national audience what Cincinnati fans already know: that the 26-year-old first baseman can play.

Oh, and Nick Swisher of the Yankees was the fans’ vote in the American League, which is also a well-deserved honor. (Even though he basically politicked for his votes.)

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