Dave Campbell earns 'ESPN thought police' paycheck--bashes East Coast
- Shulman gives the list of "final-final" AL contenders for the last All Star slot, one of whom is Okajima. Campbell says, I know who'll win. Shulman says, Who? Campbell: "Okajima. They have more computers back east." (Shulman doesn't challenge him).
- Later Campbell says the National League beat the American League in the All Star game for many years, but that changed 'last year.' Shulman says, 'I have here that the last time the NL won was in 1996,' not counting the tie game that happened between then and now. Campbell chuckles but offers no elaboration.
- "Campaigning took on a decidedly different look this week, and most notable was its ever-increasing reliance on technology. Neshek became the first Final Vote candidate to use a personal space on the Internet as his rallying base, with an official MLBlog and his longstanding Web site at PatNeshek.com.
Users far beyond the Metrodome were creating and posting their own YouTube videos, which the sidearming righty encouraged and catalogued. He implored his fans to pull an all-nighter going into the final day of voting, and although he finished third, his vote total was remarkable and in no small part due to this viral campaigning. It is likely to be a recipe for future Final Vote candidates -- or at least it certainly should be as online voters relate more and more to this way of life.
Neshek was not exactly thinking about this race with less than two hours remaining, though. He was on the mound at Yankee Stadium, trying to keep the score tied at 5 in the eighth inning. And then came Hideki Matsui's titanic two-run homer, and the Twins lost, 7-6.
Here is one thing that is absolutely certain: A ton of baseball fans know a lot more about Pat Neshek than they did before the Final Vote. And here's what makes it even more fun: He knows a lot more of you. Like "Spokesman Ethan" -- the creator of one of the homemade videos, who now, at long last, can stop submitting votes for Neshek and get some things done around the house.
Okajima's closest challenger was Bonderman, who he passed for the lead after the first day of balloting. They each had some creative marketing campaigns going on their behalf. There was that "Bondo '07" ad campaign for the Tigers' young right-hander, who has been practically unbeatable in the first half. Bonderman made the first loud statement by any Final Vote contestant with his eight scoreless innings against the Twins on Sunday night, improving to 9-1.
- But anyone who watched the Red Sox was almost constantly aware of Okajima's candidacy, and the Japanese lettering behind home plate told his fans back home to vote for him. Which they obviously did.
Red Sox Nation and a high-tech Japan constituency were too much for four others to overcome."
- From MLB.com, "Young, Okajima Win Final Vote," 7/6/07 by Mark Newman
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