The old saying is Chicago votes early and votes often, that was certainly the case with baseball fans on both the North and South sides for this year’s Final Vote held by Major League Baseball for the 2014 All-Star Game.
White Sox ace Chris Sale basically led the whole way in picking up the last spot on the American League roster and the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo withstood some tough competition in the National League to secure his first ever all-star selection. Both players add to the two Sox (Alexi Ramirez, Jose Abreu) and the Cubs’ Starlin Castro, who were selected by their league’s managers as reserves and revealed earlier this week.
Sale (8-1, 2.08 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, .190 Opp. Avg) was in danger of being one of this year’s biggest all-star snubs when his name wasn’t included in the initial announcements. Not only had he two previous all-star selections under his belt coming into this year (including a recorded win in last year’s mid-summer classic), but his reputation as absolutely one of the toughest lefties in the game is widely known and accepted in the Majors. Scoring 6.7 million votes, Sale overcame competition from four other AL starters, all with at least eight wins this season.
Rizzo, meanwhile, certainly looked to have benefited from the Cubs’ wide and devoted fan base, beating out the veteran Justin Morneau of Colorado. The Rockies’ first baseman has arguably put together a more impressive hitting campaign with advantages in average, hits, doubles and RBI but Rizzo holds a better split in on-base, slugging and on-base plus slugging (.387/.512/.899) and his 20 home runs, good for a sixth-place tie in all of baseball, had to have helped the affable slugger as did his hitting bombs on three consecutive days this week while the voting was going on. In the end, Rizzo ended up with 8.8 million final votes.
While both sides of town will be deep in Tuesday’s actual game, no representatives will be involved in the Home Run Derby Monday as of this writing, even though Rizzo ranks high among the best at taking the ball out the park and, of course, fellow first-timer Abreu is tied for the MLB lead with 28. Would be nice to see at lease one of these axe-swingers try to chop something down in Minnesota, but either way this overall so-so summer of baseball in Chicago has still managed to highlight some of the game’s best young talent and this Final Vote shows that the fans are not sleeping on it at all.
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