COMMENTARY | Drivers already have to be worried about their windshields with birds flying high overhead; how concerned must we be now that pigs have seemingly been given the gift of flight?
The Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman has shocked the baseball world by winning the MLB Final Vote to be named the last player added to the National League All-Star roster. Most fans assumed Freeman had no chance going up against first-year phenom Yasiel Puig, yet Braves' fans went to the polls in droves and have been rewarded with their team's second All-Star selection of 2013 -- Craig Kimbrel had previously been given the nod on the original ballot.
There is no question that Freeman deserved to win the fan vote, his .307 average was tops among the qualified candidates, and his 56 RBIs were just slightly higher than Puig's 19, yet not even his own teammates initially gave him much of a chance.
Kris Medlen conceded, "Honestly, he [Freeman] has no shot… He's not going to make the All-Star team."
"No, not this year," Uggla said when asked whether Puig should be an All-Star. "But he's going to make it. Which sucks for Freddie and other (Final Vote) guys, because they've been doing it the whole year."
I hope Freeman didn't put any money on Puig winning, because based on how he scored his own chances, not even Freeman expected to contend with the Los Angeles Dodgers' rookie. "Good luck with that, huh?" Freeman joked when asked about going up against Puig in the Final Vote.
Since no one gave Freeman a chance in this race, how did he come out of obscurity to win it all? MLB.com offered fans a very detailed look at the voting as they broke down the ballot by state and county to showcase how each district was leaning. Freeman controlled the entire Southeastern United States, as expected. Freeman dominated the state of Georgia, with some counties even reporting 100 percent support for the Braves' first baseman.
The one factor that might have done Puig in was the fact that he had to split his own state between himself, San Francisco Giants' outfielder Hunter Pence, and his own teammate Adrian Gonzalez. While Freeman won Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina in a landslide, Puig never get more than 87.6 percent support from any district in California. Freeman was also the only candidate to carry at least one county in every single state, including the Dodgers' home state of California.
Although Atlanta does have a nationwide fan base thanks to their years of having their games nationally broadcast on the TBS network, it was still a little strange to see Freeman winning in Hawaii and parts of Alaska. Braves' fans also owe a tip of their hat to our neighbors to the North. Toronto Blue Jays' fans started a movement to help their own candidate, Steve Delabar, win. The Blue Jays and Braves' fans joined forces to help the two eventual winners by agreeing to vote for the other team's player.
"No chance Delabar doesn't go to the All-Star game. We got a whole country plus 1 state voting for him. #RaiseTheBar #VoteFreddie @BlueJays"
Given the fact that Freeman already has the look of someone pretending to impersonate a Canadian Mountie, he was the obvious candidate for Toronto fans to get behind. The Twitter movement certainly helped Freeman, as he went from ranking No. 4 with 10.6 percent of Canada's vote to No. 2 with 27.6 percent after the Blue Jays' fans got involved.
Freeman will join Kimbrel in New York when the National League tries to swipe home-field advantage for the World Series on July 16 in Citi Field. Since the Braves have their sights set squarely on a championship this season, it is nice to know Atlanta's best players will get the opportunity to have a say in something that could be so important to the club come October.
Anthony Schreiber is a freelance sportswriter. He has penned articles for a variety of online publications and magazines.
- Sports & Recreation
- Freddie Freeman
- Yasiel Puig
- Atlanta Braves