No shame in stuffing the ballot box for Shane


POSTED: Friday, July 10, 2009

The last time I'd voted for anything having to do with the All-Star Game was in 1975. I penciled in the name of my new favorite player (Red Sox rookie center fielder Fred Lynn had temporarily replaced Yaz on my mental mantle). Just once. I was under the impression that's how you vote. Once.

My single little ballot didn't matter, as Lynn missed the third starting spot by 44,374 write-ins. He went on to be Rookie of the Year and MVP. As for me, my confidence in the democratic system was shaken.

THINGS ARE different now. Today, if you calculate a guy needs 44,375 votes to make the celestial club, you can sit at your computer and vote for him 44,375 times. This, of course, is dependent on you lacking a life.

Shane Victorino was the benefactor this week of a couple of guys who click, click, clicked like Dorothy snapping her heels together, over and over again, for hours at a time. But hordes of sane people—from Wailuku to Las Vegas to Philadelphia—all contributed to the cause, too, of getting Shane that final spot on the National League All-Star team.

It all added up to a Final Vote record of 15.6 million.

It brought back memories of Jasmine Trias, and how massive voting from Hawaii kept her in the game on “;American Idol”; until the very end.

As another recent election winner born and raised here said, when visited at the White House by Ken Niumatalolo, Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada and the rest of the Navy football team, “;That's the Hawaiian spirit. That's how we roll.”;

The president was referring to grace under pressure, but there's another island trait you can always count on: Support for our own. Local folks voted early and often, late and often, to get our first position player into the Midsummer Classic.

State pride was at stake. Could we really afford to let The Flyin' Hawaiian get shown up by somebody called Kung Fu Panda?

A FACEBOOK friend asked if I could vote for her, because she couldn't get to a computer and couldn't do it from her phone. At first I thought, “;Hell no.. Your vote is your vote.”; Then I remembered this wasn't exactly the presidential election, and shenanigans like registering dead people (Chicago) or hanging chads (Florida) would probably be acceptable, too. So I went back to mlb.com and voted twice more for Shane.

I had already clicked with the puka filled next to Victorino's four times on my own behalf. Why four? I don't know, maybe one for each of his hits on Monday.

Why was I moved to vote at all? Well, yes, because we share the same home state. But mostly because I think Shane Victorino belongs among the game's elite. Pablo Sandoval, the aforementioned Panda, has the slugging numbers, but Victorino is a much better all-around player.

I don't like the Bran-Torino concept, this random alliance between Tigers and Phillies flacks and fans to get their guys in. But we've already established this is the kind of election where you do what you need to win and sort out the ethics later (if you must).

Do more people in Hawaii have computers than in the Panda's home of Venezuela? Maybe we are just more willing to stuff the virtual ballot box. Nothing's wrong with that. Another friend summed it up neatly.

“;He earned it.”;





        Winners of the All-Star Game Final Vote:




YearAL player, teamNL player, team
2009Brandon Inge, TigersShane Victorino, Phillies
2008Evan Longoria, RaysCorey Hart, Brewers
2007Hideki Okajima, Red SoxChris Young, Padres
2006A.J. Pierzynski, White SoxNomar Garciaparra, Dodgers
2005Scott Podsednik, White SoxRoy Oswalt, Astros
2004Hideki Matsui, YankeesBobby Abreu, Phillies
2003Jason Varitek, Red SoxGeoff Jenkins, Brewers
2002Johnny Damon, Red SoxAndruw Jones, Braves


Source: Major League Baseball