For Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, it seemed to be a forgone conclusion he had the stats to make the 2013 All-Star Game.
Desmond has transformed into one of Washington’s most important players since last year, and is in the top-10 of every offensive category among shortstops. Desmond’s lowest offensive rank is OBP, which he ranks seventh in. Unfortunately, Desmond was trumped by Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in voting, but will most likely replace him because Tulowitzki is, unsurprisingly, on the DL.
Currently, though, Desmond is one of the five players that were placed on the National League Final Vote ballot, along with Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, Los Angeles Dodgers oufielder Yasiel Puig and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Desmond currently sits in fourth place behind Freeman, Puig and Pence.
There is one sad fact that will most likely be revealed after voting closes this Thursday: Washington’s fan base, though on the rise, is just not large enough yet to make a major difference in any type of fan vote.
Washington is a sports town that has, for years, been scorned by both their teams, and by other fans. Whether it is the Wizards, Capitals, Redskins or the Nationals, Washington fans have known nothing but heartbreak. With that said, it is easily understandable for fans to be skeptical to go “all-in” on a team after one good year, no matter the expectations.
Another factor is that Washington is not as widely known as some other teams. The Braves, for example, have been in Atlanta since 1966, and have had such legends play for them as Hank Aaron, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux among others.
Fans all over the country know about the Braves, Dodgers, Giants, etc. The Nat have not been around long enough, and does not have the same cache. Washington still needs a few more years before they will develop the necessary fan base to win votes such as this, and until they do, expect more of the same.