Neshek needs boost up from third
Twins reliever trails two candidates for Final Vote
NEW YORK -- Most people would be disappointed to see themselves still sitting in third place of a contest that would earn them a bid to this year's All-Star Game.But Pat Neshek has a different theory. Before Tuesday's results showed Neshek was still in third place in the voting for the 2007 Monster.com All-Star Final Vote, the Twins' right-handed side-armer said he didn't want the results to change. At least, he said, not too soon. "I hope I'm not in first, I'd rather be in second or third," Neshek said. "You don't want to get in first too soon and have people get lazy." Neshek has still been trying to round up the votes of fans on his Web site, and he will need a surge to get back into what has been deemed a tight race. Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima overtook Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman for first place in the voting. Neshek trails behind those two with Angels right-hander Kelvim Escobar and Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay rounding out the voting for the final American League spot in this year's All-Star Game in San Francisco at AT&T Park. Fans have the opportunity to vote online at www.twinsbaseball.com, and fans can also vote for Neshek from a mobile phone by texting A4 to 36197 (with standard rate messaging fees being applied). Voting is taking place now through 5 p.m. CT on Thursday, July 5. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter. Neshek's teammates who arrived at the ballpark for early batting practice on Tuesday donned the shirts that have emblazoned the slogan of the Twins' campaign for their reliever -- "Pitch in for Pat: Vote Neshek!" It was a sea of gray on the field, with so many players wearing the T-shirts, and Neshek admittedly is amazed by all the attention and support. "I've been touched by how the players are pumping me up," Neshek said. "And people on my Web site are going crazy."
Neshek will need those fans to keep going crazy as he battles some stiff competition.
Besides just having the faithful of Japan behind the Boston reliever, Okajima also has the support of another nation -- Red Sox Nation. And Bonderman has had the help of a campaign by the Tigers called "Bondo '07," playing off the James Bond theme.None of this is lost on Neshek, who is continuing to stump not only on his blog, but also is making the television rounds. The side-armer is scheduled to do a TV appearance on ESPN on Wednesday morning, and will also be a guest on the "Mike and Mike Show." The push for votes won't stop any time soon, but Neshek admits that just being a part of this vote is something pretty special. "It's pretty neat for a regular guy to get in this position," Neshek said. "I'm just having fun with it."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.