There are still two MLB All-Star Game roster spots to be filled -- one for each league -- and they will go to the winners of the final vote. This vote, which is open to fans, will conclude at 4 P.M. Eastern on Thursday, July 8th.
Here are the American League's final vote nominees:
Paul Konerko, White Sox. Konerko's career had been waning over the past few seasons, but in 2010 he's hitting better than he ever has. Despite the ChiSox' slow start, they're now within a couple of games of the AL Central lead, thanks in part to Konerko's .950 OPS.
Nick Swisher, Yankees. Save for Robinson Cano, he's perhaps the Yankees' most valuable bat.
Delmon Young, Twins. Young is finally piecing together an above-average season, but he's a tough sell here.
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox. One factor that might work against Youkilis here is that the Red Sox already have 95 million players on the All-Star team this year. It's a shame, because Youkilis' OPS nears 1.000, and he leads the league in runs.
Michael Young, Rangers. He's having a good year, but like the other Young in this bunch, he's unlikely to win this vote.
My vote: Youkilis, although I certainly wouldn't call it a crime if Konerko won.
Here are the National League's final vote nominees:
Heath Bell, Padres. A pitcher! Bell is averaging over 12 K/9 and leads the league in saves.
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies. I like him and all, but I couldn't vote a .325 on-base percentage into the All-Star Game in good conscience.
Joey Votto, Reds. Votto's snub from the first round of voting sparked plenty of outrage, and for good reason. Entering Sunday's game, Votto leads the league in OPS with .988. I mean, I understand how it happened. Albert Pujols is arguably the face of baseball, and Adrian Gonzalez has put his Padres in first, even though he's the only guy on his team who owns a baseball bat. But Votto couldn't possibly be any more deserving.
Billy Wagner, Braves. Another pitcher! Wagner and his 17 saves have been invaluable out of the bullpen for Atlanta
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals. The 25-year-old is chalking up another productive season for the Nationals, but this guy's already been to an All-Star game. Let the kids have a chance, old man.
My vote: ...sigh.
If you're asking me who the best player in this group is, my answer is Votto. If you're asking me who is most deserving of a spot, who is most valuable to his team, whose snubbing would be the most egregious oversight, or who I would be most likely to invite to my birthday party, I would give you the same answer.
But if I want the National League to win the All-Star Game, I have to go with either Bell or Wagner. I want an extra pitcher in case the game goes deep into extra innings. Coming to this conclusion was not fun for me at all. I'm sorry.
Stay tuned to this StoryStream for more news, opinions, and analysis leading up to the All-Star Game on July 13.