You have to work extra hard to hate on A-Rod these days

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I don’t know why I read Lupica, but I do. I suppose there’s no helping me and that I get everything I deserve. Today’s is fun, though. It’s basically a scene-setter, focusing on A-Rod battling his former team, the Texas Rangers.

What makes it fun? The way in which Lupica tries to paint A-Rod as one of the people who “sent the Rangers into bankruptcy,” before nothing that, well, he wasn’t the only one [note: A-Rod has zero responsibility for that; if Tom Hicks offered you that crazy money, you’d take it too and if Tom Hicks hadn’t otherwise mismanaged his affairs the Rangers could have afforded it].  The way that Lupica feels it necessary to reference  A-Rod’s postseason woes before mentioning that, actually, he’s been outrageously clutch in recent years. You can tell that he’s disappointed that he can’t write this up as “Greedy A-Rod seeks redemption.” Despite the fact that he’s already won rings and MVPs and, for whatever quirks and issues he has, has been a fantastic baseball player who has now played longer in New York than he did anywhere else. Query: is he even a True Yankee yet?

Whatever. I hate storylines. I hate the manufacturing of interpersonal drama. It’s baseball. What’s so hard about looking at this series in those terms?

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: