Tuesday, June 30, 2009



Phillies' Victorino earns final all-star roster spot

By Ray Parrillo
Inquirer Staff Writer

The four-day campaign to get Shane Victorino voted onto the National League all-star team was intense and exhaustive, and it worked.

When the online voting ended at 4 p.m. yesterday, the Phillies centerfielder became the 33d and final player on the roster. He will join teammates Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard for the midseason classic Tuesday in St. Louis.

"I knew this was an opportunity for me to really see and understand what it's like to be a Phillie," Victorino said before last night's game against Cincinnati at Citizens Bank Park. "To get the number of votes I did . . . I'm very appreciative and hopefully, we can keep going and bring them another World Series."

One of five candidates chosen by NL manager Charlie Manuel for the final balloting, Victorino received a record 15.6 million votes, according to MLB.com, the Web site that conducted the voting. A total of 68.6 million fans voted, the most ever in the eight-year history of the final vote, according to MLB.com.

Victorino beat out runner-up Pablo Sandoval, the Giants' third baseman. The other candidates were Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman, and Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds.

Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge won the final spot on the AL roster with 11.8 million votes.

The Phillies and Tigers created a "Bran-Torino" campaign, combining the players' names in a catchphrase that evidently caught on with voters.

The campaign to get Victorino to the All-Star Game began in earnest on Monday when he and Mayor Nutter stumped by knocking on the doors of homes in South Philadelphia near the ballpark.

Victorino was asked if he enjoyed the process. "Oh, yeah, I definitely did," he said. "The first day I was definitely gung-ho. I said to myself, I have to focus on the field and that's what I did, and I'm sure doing what I did last night just added to it, added some excitement."

Victorino alluded to his ninth-inning single that gave the Phillies a 3-2 win over the Reds on Wednesday. Afterward, Phillies pitcher Chan Ho Park pranced in front of television cameras wearing a "Vote for Shane" placard.

Victorino had four hits in Monday's 22-1 rout of Cincinnati and went into last night's game batting .464 (13 for 28) in the first six games of this homestand.

"I never doubted Phillies fans," Victorino said. "But it was about other fans coming through for their players. From day one I said I've got a great chance to win this. Hopefully, they'll be happy and appreciative, and I'm thankful for what they did for me."

www.starbulletin.com > Sports >

No shame in stuffing the ballot box for Shane
By Dave Reardon

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."

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home