Vote for Pablo!

A journalist by profession, I usually refrain from taking sides. I try to see the merits and disadvantages of each aspect of an issue, causing me occasionally to over-analyze a situation. I confess, I’ve been overthinking the issue of fans voting for the American and National league All-Star game rosters.

Major League Baseball is using its “Final Vote” promotion to lure fans to its Web site and vote among five players in each league for the final spots on the AL and NL teams. The traditionalist devil in pinstripes on my left shoulder keeps shouting in my ear, “It’s a crass commercial gimmick that diminishes the dignity of the game.”

The “lighten up” angel wearing Astros’ mustard stripe double-knits on my right shoulder says calmly and confidently: “Hey, it’s game. It’s for the fans. It’s fun.”

I listened to the angelic voice and have been stopping by MLB a couple times each day. I’ve cast most of my AL votes for Carlos Pena of the Tampa Bay Rays. But on every single one of my NL ballots, I’ve marked Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, the guy under the “SF” cap above.

The Giants organization is having some fun with it. On last night’s telecast, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow were plugging Sandoval, the “Kung Fu Panda,” as they broadcast from a platform down the right field line. Behind them were “Vote Pablo” posters plastered to the brick walls of AT&T Park.

I imagine the other teams are likewise pumping the fans to vote for their players. The voting, which ends at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, lasts only a few days. The dignity of baseball can surely survive that.

And now, back to voting, Chicago-style, early and often (and late) for Pablo.

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