July 4, 2011

Holy crap, Jose!

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

Well, we knew the guy was good, but record-shatteringly good? I had no clue! Especially in the popularity department.

Yes, Jose Bautista beat Ken Griffey Jr.’s record for all-star votes of 6.1 million by being selected on an unfathomable 7.4 million ballots. That’s not just besting an old mark, it’s completely destroying it. When you consider that 1994 was around the time of Griffey’s heyday, it really makes you wonder how Bautista could have become so popular – or is he just plain that good?

Well, take a look at Joey Bats’ numbers first. He leads the majors in home runs (27), walks (70), OBP (.471), slugging (.679) and OPS (1.150). He has also hit 81 home runs in the past season and a half. Talk about extraordinary. He’s also third in batting average (.331) and has driven in 56 runs.

All of that for a team that’s ceiling is apparently fourth place in its division. Not to mention, he plays in the baseball vacuum known as Canada, where the team can only top 30,000 in attendance if it’s opening day or a long weekend when its former ace comes back to town.

It’s easy to think that because of Bautista’s overwhelming numbers, combined with the ease of Internet voting – which Griffey couldn’t capitalize on in 1994 – that the Jays 3B/OF wouldn’t have a problem besting Junior’s total. Well, consider this: Even after Internet voting became so popular, even Ichiro, with some big numbers and the support of an entire Internet-loving country, couldn’t beat his former teammate’s total. That, if anything should put Jose’s new record into perspective.

Now, hopefully, he can bail on the Home Run Derby. Does anybody else remember former Jays outfielder Alex Rios’ downfall after competing?

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