NEW YORK – Overwhelmed by the support the Orioles received at the ballot box in All-Star voting, their manager easily put it in perspective.
“They were counting my votes. The whole Showalter family. We were the difference makers,” Buck Showalter said with a chuckle.
Not only are the Orioles the only team in major league baseball to have three starters, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones, but they had three runners-up: Manny Machado, who was chosen as a reserve, Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis, who finished fourth among outfielders. Davis was the overall vote leader.
Markakis finished about 216,000 votes behind Jose Bautista. Nate McLouth was in fifth about 560,000 votes behind Markakis.
Even Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts, who’ve played little this season, finished sixth among designated hitters and second basemen.
“I think it’s great fan support,” Showalter said. “Fans around the country recognize they’re great players.”
Markakis has had a solid eight-year career, but never been an All-Star. That appears to be all right with the right fielder.
“I’m not going to lose any sleep over it,” Markakis said on Sunday morning.
“My career’s not over. Whether I get there or not is out of my hands.”
Showalter prepared himself when he had to tell Markakis he didn’t make the team.
“I talked to Nick about it yesterday when I had to let everybody know. I thought it was going to be a tough conversation. As usual, he makes it a good one,” Showalter said.
“it doesn’t surprise anybody who knows Nick. He’s so respected in the industry, not only by his teammates, but by other players around baseball. That’s the guy they ask about because it’s not that he’s a mystery. He doesn’t wear it on his sleeve. I tell Chris all the time: ‘It’s ok to not let people in your life. Keep them guessing a little bit.’”
Markakis was pleased for his teammates.
“They all deserve it. They work hard. Stuff like that pays off and you get rewarded,” Markakis said.
McLouth was a National League All-Star in 2008 with Pittsburgh. He was stunned when he found out he got more votes than big names like Torii Hunter, Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Hamilton.
“My mom had so many e-mail addresses. She must have been busy voting a lot,” McLouth said.
“Fans in Baltimore have been doing some work at the voting booth.”
He just assumed that fans in markets larger than this one had been stuffing the ballot boxes. That wasn’t the case. He wasn’t monitoring the votes.
““No. That’s why I didn’t pay attention to it,” McLouth said.