One could reasonably criticize the Cubs and Carlos Zambrano for various things he’s done while suffering from a bad back. Gotta be careful and everything, because his health is important.
One could also unreasonably criticize the Cubs and Carlos Zambrano for the way he handles himself while he’s recovering from his injuries. This bit, from Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune, looks pretty damn unreasonable to me:
Now get a load of this: Zambrano plans to fly to Guatemala over the All-Star break to prepare for the adoption of his son. Can you say “utter disrespect,’’ boys and girls?
He calls Zambrano a “dope” for doing this and the Cubs “dopes” for allowing it.
Yeah, I mean, where does he get off? How dare you claim you can’t fly with the team to Washington for an early-July series against the Nationals in which you would not have participated while doing silly stuff like going to Guatemala to adopt a baby boy?! Those things are totally equivalent in terms of importance! How disrespectful of you, dumb dumb Carlos Zambrano for doing it and dumb dumb Cubs for allowing it!
Some folks get criticized for missing the game as a result of having their heads buried in spreadsheets. Better that than to miss the important things in life as a result of having your head buried in a game.
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: