BISMARCK, ND -- Disgruntled baseball fans in North Dakota believe that Chase Utley -- not Hideki Matsui -- deserved the World Series MVP award, according to 13 state residents who responded to an ESPN Sportsnation poll on Wednesday.
"Hideki Matsui?" questioned a dubious Bill Helmond as he thumbed his overalls and adjusted his crotch over his trousers while spitting a rancid wad of chewing tobacco onto the dirt next to his rotting picket fence. "I didn't know Japan was playing in America's World Series."
Matsui went 8-for-13 with three homers and eight RBIs in the series, notching six of the ribbies in the Yankees
' clinching Game 6. Utley went 6-for-21 with a record-tying five home runs, but went hitless in three of the Series' six games.
Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees
, had the utmost praise for Matsui after his award. "He's a phenomenal player, but more important, he's a phenomenal person."
Levine's laudatory comments did little to halt the wave of outrage that rumbled like hellfire from the "Roughrider State." ESPN.com reported early Wednesday morning that its servers had slowed to a grinding halt following the overwhelming response from the upset North Dakotans.
"We certainly didn't plan for this kind of turnout from North Dakota when we designed this poll," said ESPN.com systems analyst Russell Harvinger. "I mean, we're talking 12 online voters. That's roughly 22 percent of the whole state."
"Next thing you know, they're probably going to show up at our headquarters with pitchforks and blazing torches," Harvinger added, explaining that such a march wouldn't likely take place until mid-January because it takes a long time to walk from North Dakota to the ESPN offices in Bristol, Connecticut.
Tractor mechanic and North Dakota native John Biggur, 44, who used on one of the computers at the Marmarth County Public Library to vote for Chase Utley, said that he had a tough choice to make when he found out that Johnny Damon was a candidate also.
"I remember Damon from when he was a champion winner with the Cincinnati Red Sox
a few years back, so I thought he deserved it," Biggur said as he absent-mindedly kicked an empty can of Royal Crown Cola into the library parking lot. "But I like the name Chase. One of my dogs is named Chase because he's always chasing the crows around the yard."
Twelve-year-old sixth-grader Jimmy "Bubba" Hoover said he stumbled across the ESPN.com poll while goofing around in computer literacy class at Twin Buttes Elementary School.
"The first name I noticed was Mariano Rivera," Hoover recounted as he rummaged through his desk for a pack of Sourpatch Kids he had previously stashed there. "Then I thought to myself: How can an Italian food play baseball?"
Hoover continued to explain that he chose Utley because all the other names were "weird."
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig acknowledged that the league was aware of the issue and taking "appropriate measures [to] review and, if necessary, rectify the problem."
"If a contingent of baseball fans are upset, then we're going to do everything we can to hear them out so we can figure out how to best proceed and treat their problem," an obviously frazzled Selig said to reporters on Wednesday. "When there's this big of a reaction from a state like North Dakota, where baseball history is long and tradition proud, we've got no choice but to take notice."
Yankee fans aren't as enthusiastic as Selig is to appease the mob of angry North Dakotans, early reports indicate. Darryl Flannagan, a 29-year-old iron welder from Sayreville, New Jersey, said he didn't care what people from North Dakota thought.
"I'm from New Jersey. Why don't you ask me who I voted for?" Flannagan shouted, spewing a hurricane of partially-chewed pieces of eggs and bagel from his mouth. "High-deck-EE-Matt-sue-EE," he continued, annunciating each syllable as if speaking to a five-year-old.
Other Yankee fans were just surprised that North Dakotans knew what baseball was.
"They like baseball out there, huh?" asked Debbie D'Allessio, a 47-year-old hair-stylist living in Lindenhurst, Long Island. "I thought they were just into playing lacrosse with severed heads of sacrificed tribesmen. They probably all root for the Indians."
Through an interpreter, Matsui told reporters he has never heard of North Dakota and does not care about what its stupid residents have to say.
Editors Note: As of press time, the number of bloodthirsty North Dakota voters had swelled from 12 to 20.