Maybe we shouldn't be surprised that Chris Davis is leading all American League first basemen in the latest All-Star voting results released by Major League Baseball on Monday. The guy has been a monster from Day One and he's leading the majors in several categories, so he would figure to be at the top of the list if voters were objective humans who only cared about making sure the best of the best got to start the All-Star Game.
Of course, it doesn't always work that way, since the All-Star voting process is very parochial and MLB encourages teams to encourage their fans to vote early and often, even having big prize drawings for the people who vote the most. I'm not going to get all huffy about that, since the All-Star Game is an exhibition game and it's supposed to be for the fans, but everybody knows that the best man doesn't always win.
The guys from the giant media markets and the players who have built terrific national reputations tend to have a big advantage, which is why it's so refreshing to see Davis on top at first base and Adam Jones second behind only Angels phenom Mike Trout in the outfield. Keep in mind that Trout, who leads Jones by less then 9,000 votes, plays in a Los Angeles metropolitan area that has a total population of nearly 20 million.
(And let's hope those people stay there, so don't be telling any of your West Coast friends how great and cheap it is to live here. We don't want them packing up and pulling a reverse Dust Bowl on us, especially since they apparently aren't that good at stuffing ballot boxes.)
Davis and Jones aren't the only ones getting a lot of All-Star love around the country. Matt Wieters, who already has established a national rep with his previous All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves, ranks second to Minnesota's Joe Mauer. Manny Machado is second behind Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. J.J. Hardy is second behind Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. And both Nick Markakis and Nate McLouth are among the top seven votegetters in the outfield.
Pretty amazing stuff, don't you think? It was only 16 months ago that the Orioles arrived at spring training in 2012 with apparently little prospect of saving fans from their 15th straight losing season. Now they are right in the AL East hunt again and the baseball world has recognized that their success is no fluke.
Feels pretty good, doesn't it?