|Image courtesy of Daylife via AP|
We all knew Jose Bautista was pretty popular in Toronto and throughout Canada. But who knew he was so popular around the Major Leagues?
That’s why I was so stunned to hear when Jose Bautista was leading all of baseball in All-Star Game votes when the first batch of results were released. Really … our quiet demeanor but loud with the stick Joey Bats?
Not since Carlos Delgado has a Toronto Blue Jay been elected into the All-Star Game, and Jose Bautista is definitely well on his way to not only capturing one out the starting outfielder jobs, but the title of most overall votes as well.
These results are very refreshing because I think it signals a change in the way folks vote for the All-Star Game. Rather than voting on reputation, voters should be casting their ballot based on who is performing the best.
I was fully expecting a perennial candidate like Derek Jeter to snag a million votes easily, but he’s not too far behind with 931,410 votes. Ask anyone outside of New York and they’ll say Derek Jeter doesn’t deserve a vote, yet somehow he gets in there most years as the starting shortstop.
The increased media coverage has certainly helped garner Jose Bautista a lot more attention south of the border. People who thought he might be a flash in the pan with an outlier 54 home run season are taking notice that Bautista is the real deal.
Jose Bautista is the best player in the major leagues right now, and over 1.2 million All-Star votes prove that fans everywhere see it as well. He’s not getting onto the ballot because of his reputation or what he’s done in the past, Bautista is getting votes because he is simply the best.
When the Ballots for Bautista campaign was launched last year, it was to help create awareness for a player that was going unheralded and needed to be rewarded for his phenomenal first half of 2010. I just wanted to help drum up some more ballots for Jose Bautista.
I never could have fathomed that just one year later, Jose Bautista would be poised to take over one of the starting outfielder spots in the 2011 All-Star Game in Phoenix. It just goes to show you not only how far Jose Bautista has come in such a short fan, but how quickly he has become the polarizing player he is.
To make things even sweeter, it wasn’t a Yankee or Red Sox player that was at the top of the All-Star voting results, it was a Blue Jay … a Toronto Blue Jay.
And who says you need to play in one of baseball’s “big markets” to get media coverage?