Thursday, July 9, 2015

Brian Dozier: The All-Star Minnesota Deserves

As he approaches the batter's box, Brian Dozier uses his bat to knock the dirt off his cleats and gazes out towards the outfield. He's come along way since his 2012 rookie season. Dozier struggled to the point where the Twins sent him down in the middle of August and he wouldn't be back for the rest of the year.

Flash-forward to the present day and Dozier is in the midst of fighting for a spot on the American League All-Star roster. Since being nominated as a Final Vote candidate, Dozier has done nothing but impress. He hit a walk-off home run on the first night of voting and on Wednesday afternoon he smacked a two-run shot to give the Twins the lead.

Dozier has quietly become the best second baseman in the game and it feel like most of the nation is having a hard time realizing what they are witnessing. He leads all MLB second basemen in home runs, runs, and RBI while ranking second in walks and OPS. His defense also hasn't been too shabby as he has the highest WAR total among MLB second basemen since the beginning of last season.

Not only has Dozier been performing at the highest level on the field, he's also been doing great things off the field. As part of the Twins Hope Week, Dozier hosted a Miracle League clinic at Target Field. The Miracle League provides children with mental or physical challenges the opportunity to play baseball.

This offseason Dozier and his wife, Renee, celebrated their second wedding anniversary by taking part in a mission trip to Nicaragua. After traveling with a Georgia-based group called Amigos for Christ, Dozier called the adventure "by far the best experience of my life."

Dozier has also become a team leader inside the clubhouse as the Twins attempt to turn around after multiple years of futility. His teammates are rallying behind him by wearing #VoteDozier inspired t-shirts during batting practice, making humorous online videos, and tweeting out support for their second baseman.

With only a couple days remaining in the MLB Final Vote, Dozier was in second place behind Mike Moustakas and the powerhouse Royals voting contingent. It is going to be very tough for Dozier to make a comeback with the way Royals fans have been stuffing the ballot box this year but he is in a good place. Many baseball fans were sick of the way Kansas City was controlling the voting so maybe this will help more people vote for Dozier over another Royal.

After this season is done, it won't matter if Dozier was in uniform with other players in Cincinnati. It would be a great honor and something he'd remember for years to come but that's not the big picture. At 28-years old, he's become the best player at his position while playing at baseball's highest level. This is a far cry from the prospect he was moving through the Twins system.

If the Twins continue their winning ways, there will be other All-Star opportunities. For now, it might help to consider the paraphrased words of Jim Gordon at the end of The Dark Night...

He's the hero Minnesota deserves, but not the one the nation will recognize right now. So we'll vote for him, because he deserves it, because he's not a hero, he's a silent guardian, a watchful protector, our All-Star.

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