Reynolds enjoyed hype of Final Vote
Infielder came in third on ballot but had fun being a candidate
PHOENIX -- It has been a whirlwind week for D-backs third baseman Mark Reynolds. For five days, Reynolds was one of 10 players -- five from each league -- to enjoy all the national and local hype of competing for the last two All-Star spots via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote.
There was so much attention focused on those 10 guys, the weeks of fan voting for the starters seemed to pale in comparison. A record 68.6 million votes were recorded on MLB.com, the exclusive voting place.Philadelphia outfielder Shane Victorino won the 33rd roster spot in the National League and Detroit third baseman Brandon Inge was given the honor in the Junior Circuit. "It's kind of funny," said Reynolds, who finished third in the NL vote behind Victorino and San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval. "My wife actually said to me, 'Didn't [Dan] Haren and [Justin] Upton make the team?' They didn't mention a word about them. It's been fun, though. I enjoyed it." The vote coincided with a homestand at Chase Field, where the D-backs host the Marlins on Thursday night. And the D-backs sent out their minions carrying signs, exhorting fans to vote quickly and often. D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said he jumped into the action. "I voted for him. I did it multiple times," he said. "I had my whole family going at it. I had the state of Oklahoma where I grew up. I had my whole neighborhood behind him. It became the fastest political campaign in sports, I guess." To prove it, even U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a huge D-backs fan, endorsed Reynolds as his Final Vote candidate, a gesture that Reynolds appreciated. "It's really cool to have a senator back you like that," Reynolds said. "Hearing that, it kind of put things into perspective about what a big deal this actually is. I appreciated his support and the support of everyone who voted for me." Haren, a pitcher, and Upton, an outfielder, were picked as Arizona's representatives to the team on Sunday's All-Star selection day when Reynolds was named to NL's Final Vote ballot along with Victorino, Sandoval, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Washington shortstop Cristian Guzman. It was only last Friday in Denver when Reynolds publicly called out his now 36-49 club for its continued sloppy play. They D-backs have since won five in a row, their longest winning streak of the season, which includes a three-game sweep here of the Padres, Arizona's first series sweep of the season. All of it may be coincidental to his comments and the hoopla over the Final Vote, but then again, it may not. "There might be [something to it]," Reynolds said. "There were cameras in my face just like this after that game, and I was angry. I said what was on my mind. I wasn't trying to be the leader or anything else. Maybe it made some guys look in the mirror that we weren't playing that good." Reynolds has been a paradox this season. He entered Thursday tied for second in the NL with 24 homers and was fifth with 62 RBIs. But he was also far ahead with 115 strikeouts and had a team-high 13 of Arizona's 77 errors. Reynolds said he's gotten mostly positive feedback from his teammates since then. "Winning cures everything," he said. On Thursday, Upton, for one, echoed Reynolds and Hinch -- that it's a disappointment his teammate isn't an All-Star. "I'm sorry he isn't going," Upton said. "My feeling is that he's played well enough to be there." For his part, Reynolds said he'll use the break to play a few rounds of golf and barbecue in the backyard. That's his mind-set right now. If a spot somehow opens because of injury, Reynolds said he wouldn't hesitate to go. "I'll be on the next plane," he said. But this week, Reynolds has had his Andy Warhol 15-minutes of fame and he's made the most of it. "It's difficult when you get into the fan voting because it's always a popularity contest," Hinch said. "They all were deserving, so I don't want to take anything away from Victorino or Sandoval or any of those guys. They're all All-Star caliber players. Unfortunately for Mark, he missed out this time. But it brought a lot of attention to him and now everyone knows what Mark Reynolds is doing out here in the desert." Previous winners of the All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote are: Evan Longoria (AL, 2008); Corey Hart (NL, 2008); Hideki Okajima (AL, 2007); Chris Young (NL, 2007); A.J. Pierzynski (AL, 2006); Nomar Garciaparra (NL, 2006); Scott Podsednik (AL, 2005); Roy Oswalt (NL, 2005); Hideki Matsui (AL, 2004); Bobby Abreu (NL, 2004); Jason Varitek (AL, 2003); Geoff Jenkins (NL, 2003); Johnny Damon (AL, 2002); and Andruw Jones (NL, 2002). The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. MST on Tuesday.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.