Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
So we went to the ballpark Tuesday night and had a great time watching the Twins bang around Zach Greinke and then set up Matt Guerrier for a one-batter save when Michael Cuddyer made like a Little League right-fielder in the ninth and Jose Mijares seemed to take it personally. It was great to see Danny Valencia get three hits and Jason Kubel bash the ball a couple of times and Cuddyer get a key first-inning hit that helped set the tone. And if Kevin Slowey pitches Sunday like he did against the Royals, the Atlanta announcers shouldn't be embarrassed if they drop a reference or two to Glavine and Maddux.
But there's always something...
I've never gotten involved in any of the ridiculous All-Star Game voting nonsense. Section 219 maintains a strict Swiss-like policy of disengagement because urging you to vote for this Twin or that Twin would make me complicit with an intentionally flawed system. There are any number of ways to fix the process, but as long as fans are encouraged to vote 25 times for their favorites -- and then 25 more after clearing the cookies from their web browsers (Wink! Wink!) -- it's just silly.
Not that I needed any reinforcement on my position, but Tuesday night provided it.
When All-Star ballots were passed down our row, me and Young 219 and the guy sitting to our left saw that we didn't have any work to do.
The ballots were already filled out:
Yes, on the American League side, it's an all-Twins ballot.
From Morneau to Punto, every Twins was punched. Hardy over Jeter, Punto over Longoria, Cuddyer over Ichiro. (On the National League side, alumni Carlos Gomez and Orlando Cabrera were punched, as well as an assortment of others who don't deserve the honor.)
I'll let you decide if this is scandalous or simply sheer stupidity. (But I would like to know if this happened to anyone else.)
Outrage over All-Star balloting is overkill. But the Twins should be embarrassed that, apparently, they can't find anything else for the interns to do.
(Update from the Twins: Patrick Klinger, the team's marketing vice president, e-mailed with this explanation: "Over 750,000 ballots will be passed out at Target Field during the voting process and it appears that some previously completed ballots were inadvertently mixed with clean ones. While we’re disappointed this occurred, you can be assured we do not have interns punching ballots as you suggested. If that were the case those ballots would have been shipped directly to MLB. Our staff, including interns, have far too much to do during a busy homestand than to complete ballots on behalf of our players. Though we aggressively promote our lads for the Mid-Summer Classic we do not bastardize the voting process in any way.")
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