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Heath Bell is not the favorite of Marlins fans at the moment, but that did not stop him from calling out his own fan base on Thursday. The Miami closer challenged Marlins fans to vote outfielder Giancarlo Stanton into the annual MLB All-Star game.
Bell was asked by the Palm Beach Post if he was surprised to learn that Stanton is not currently listed in the top 15 vote-getters among NL outfielders. "I wasn't surprised; I was ticked," he replied.
"And there was a huge (publicity) that he had a great month in May with the (12) home runs and everybody loves him here, and this and that," Bell continued. "Well, where’s your support?"
Stanton won NL Player of the Month in May, when he hit 12 home runs and posted an OPS of 1.201. "Even Matt Kemp out in LA says, 'Giancarlo is crushing. I want him on my home run derby team,'" Bell exclaimed.
Bell said the Marlins' lack of national media coverage is no excuse for Stanton's paltry vote total. "I think the team is doing their part. I think it's the responsibility of the fan to vote for your favorite position player," he said. "If ESPN doesn't promote the Marlins and MLB doesn't promote the Marlins, I think the fans should."
Bell's early season struggles have made him a bit of an unpopular guy in South Florida, but he feels comfortable expressing his feeling. "If I have to step up and take a stand and be a little bit louder to change some things, so be it," he said.
His message: vote often. "It's not that hard when you come to a game to get two or three ballots and vote. Go online, get on your phone. It's not that hard."
If Stanton is selected for the Home Run Derby, as is expected, he would get to travel to the All-Star Game. But even if the fans cannot vote him in, it is quite likely that he would be named a reserve in voting by players, managers and coaches.