Oh, if only Jeremy Bonderman had his own blog. Coming from Japan might not have hurt, either. Online balloting for the final All-Star spot ended at 6 p.m., and Boston's Hideki Okajima finished with the most votes.
Bondo surged to the early lead, probably on the strength of his Sunday Night Baseball performance. But from there, it was all Okajima. By Tuesday, he'd taken the voting lead and never gave it up.
It's certainly disappointing not to see one more Detroit Tiger named to the All-Star team, and Okajima gives the Red Sox six players on the AL squad, which is the most in the majors. But even if Okajima essentially won a popularity contest, he deserved to go to San Francisco. He's been the lights-out set-up man the Tigers wish they had right now. In 41 innings, Okajima has a 0.88 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and 37 strikeouts.
I know middle relievers have made All-Star teams before, especially because each team gets a representative. But I wonder how much of an influence fantasy baseball has played in increased knowledge and awareness of the game. Certainly, it's not the only factor. More games are on TV than ever before. The internet is stuffed full of blogs, fan sites, and baseball resources. Etc., etc. No bigger point here; I'm just thinking out loud.