Sunday, June 29, 2008

Joe Mauer Passes Jason Veritek in All-Star Voting

It has been no small accomplishment for the Twins to wage a political campaign on behalf of a relatively obscure catcher in a forgotten prairie backwater like Minneapolis in an endeavor to overtake Red Sox captain Jason Veritek, who has the distinct advantage of playing in the cosmopolitan baseball hotbed of Boston.

Yet here it is with just three days left to tally the totals, and young Joe Mauer has parlayed his recent hot streak into a tenuous but tangible lead, a shocking misdeed achieved through devious, sinister, underhanded and borderline corrupt (gasp!) BALLOT BOX STUFFING!

Yes, the "Vote for Mauer" mantra has been repeated so often and so ubiquitously that rumor has the young Minnesota native overtaking even Gov. Tim Pawlenty on presumptive presidential nominee John McCain's vice presidential short list.

Dishonest? Sure! Cynical? Most definitely! Republican? Well, let's not go that far. But at any rate, is it Joe Mauer's fault that he finds himself riding the crest of a tidal wave of love, admiration, loyalty and devotion? And whom, after all, is more deserving?

In the best tradition of late broadcaster and National Baseball Hall of Fame board member Tim Russert, an examination of the public record shows Mauer has hit nearly .360 over the past two months, raising his season average to more than .330 while playing outstanding defense, an All-Star qualifying resume if there ever was one.

The All-Star game will be held at Yankee Stadium -- one of the last contests before it is demolished -- on July 15, with voting to be concluded Wednesday via the Monster online ballot at MLB.com, and the winners to be announced July 6.

Barring a filibuster in New England, expect Mauer to be named the starter, and deservedly so.

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