Every single day, my buddy's 7-year-old son Patrick gets online, goes to the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian and does his duty on the front lines for one of his favorite players.
It doesn't matter that Lonnie Chisenhall isn't even on the ballot this year and has zero shot of catching Josh Donaldson for the American League's starting third-base slot. Patrick has done his part to ensure the Indians' third baseman will finish with at least a couple dozen write-in votes from a kid in suburban Cleveland. His dad is gearing himself up for the conversation that will inevitably come when the actual starting squad differs from Patrick's picks.
That's really what the ballot -- and voting, in general, come to think of it -- is all about, isn't it?
If you're a fan or a citizen and you believe in something as strongly as Patrick believes in Lonnie Chisenhall, it's your duty to make your voice heard and your vote count.
Now that in-stadium balloting has ended, that duty can only be fulfilled online or on mobile phones and tablets, and time is running out. The balloting that will decide who starts the 85th Midsummer Classic on July 15 at Minneapolis' Target Field ends Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. Fans are allowed to submit up to 25 online ballots, with a one-time bonus of 10 additional ballots.
And if I may be frank, you guys still have work to do.
The most legit ballot battle of all is taking place in the National League, at third base, where, at last count (updated totals will be provided Tuesday), less than 300,000 votes separated the top vote-getter (the Brewers' Aramis Ramirez, with 1,279,902 votes) from the fifth-highest vote-getter (the Rockies' Nolan Arenado, with 1,019,161 votes), with the Mets' David Wright, the Giants' Pablo Sandoval and the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter in between. Fans from all those teams still have a shot at deciding how it shakes out, and fans in Cincinnati can still try to get Todd Frazier his rightful recognition in that group.
Marlins fans, Giancarlo Stanton has committed to the Gillette Home Run Derby. How about committing him to the starting slot he's earned? Stanton was just off the pace in the NL outfield voting, ranking fourth with 2,130,519 votes, behind Yasiel Puig (2,468,376), Andrew McCutchen (2,461,722) and Carlos Gomez (2,409,860).
A's fans, let's get those votes in for Derek Norris, all right? While I have no doubt he'll make the team and probably even start, he deserves to be ahead of the injured Matt Wieters for the top spot in the catching tally. Norris is in second place, trailing by just under 200,000 votes.
Orioles fans, you've got Adam Jones lurking right behind those two, just 76,238 votes shy of Cabrera. And Indians fans, while it's asking too much to whip up enough write-in votes for Chisenhall, you can definitely create a last-minute surge for "Dr. Smooth." Michael Brantley has as good a case for that third slot as anybody, but right now he's sixth in the voting.
(By the way, Royals fans, what in the name of Ewing H. Kauffman is Alex Gordon doing outside the top 15? Let's at least get that snub corrected.)
And whether you're swept up in the sentiment of Derek Jeter starting his final All-Star Game or stubborn about the statistics and want to see Alexei Ramirez overtake him, well, time's-a-wasting, folks.
Obviously, at this late stage of the process, some of this stuff is all but written in cement. But not all of it. And in the heart of at least one young child, there is an earnest belief that every click counts.
You're welcome, Lonnie Chisenhall.