If there's justice, Puig will win NL Final Vote
One man, five tools -- and he needs one vote.
The spectacular Yasiel Puig is one of five Final Vote candidates for a spot on the National League All-Star team, and he needs to be at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. However you view the All-Star Game -- as a showcase for the game's stars or a hard-fought contest for home-field advantage in the World Series -- Puig should be on the Senior Circuit's roster.
So get out and vote. Vote early, vote often, vote Puig. Had he been more than a write-in option on the original ballot, he might already be on the roster. According to Major League Baseball, Puig received well over 800,000 write-in votes, the most since Freddy Sanchez, then with the Pirates, topped 850,000 in 2006. Fans want to see him playing in Queens.
Still, he needs fans' help. And Puig, a fantastic ballplayer but a better story, deserves it. So help make it happen.
Now in its 12th year, the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Saturday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and ends Thursday at 1 p.m. PT. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote online. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 14-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 12-26. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on Friday to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Puig, simply text "N5" to 89269. In Canada, fans should text their choices to 101010. Standard message and data rates may apply.
Final Vote candidates
|P||Steve Delabar, TOR|
|P||David Robertson, NYY|
|P||Koji Uehara, BOS|
|P||Tanner Scheppers, TEX|
|P||Joaquin Benoit, DET|
|SS||Ian Desmond, WAS|
|1B||Freddie Freeman, ATL|
|1B||Adrian Gonzalez, LAD|
|OF||Hunter Pence, SF|
|OF||Yasiel Puig, LAD|
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Tools? Puig's got them. He's already shown off his rocket arm on multiple occasions. He has speed to burn, and he's happy to use it -- doing things like scoring from second on a groundout. And of course, there's the bat, which has been nothing short of dazzling since Puig's June 3 debut.
Ah, and there's the rub. Puig has five weeks of big league service time. That's really the only argument against him. In short, so what? He's a star and a stud. The All-Star Game will be better with him in it, and so will the National League team.
Put it this way: If there's a band named after you, you're probably an All-Star. Puig is so sensational that he spawned the band Puig Destroyer and its roaring single, "One Man, Five Tools."
It's safe to say there's no band named after Ian Desmond. The Nationals shortstop is a fine ballplayer. But he's not a sensation. Puig is.
It's not as though there's no precedent for including Puig. Phenoms, even phenoms with limited track records, have been part of the All-Star Game for years. From Bryce Harper and Mike Trout a year ago to Dontrelle Willis in 2003 and Mark Fidrych in 1976, newcomers have played parts in the Midummer Classic.
Even though Willis and Fidrych fell short of their seeming potential, no one laments their inclusion on those rosters. If you remember a season because of a player's debut, that player probably should be an All-Star.
And then there's this simple fact: Puig would be a tactical asset for manager Bruce Bochy. He's played all three outfield positions. He has speed. And of course, there's thunder in his bat.
So, in short, it comes down to this. If the All-Star Game is an exhibition, a show for the fans, then it's simply imperative for Puig to be on the roster. He's the best show in baseball in 2013. And if it's a meaningful game, if winning is what matters, then it's also essential for Puig to be on the roster. He'll help the National League win.
One man, five tools. Get him lots of votes.
Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.