Red Sox fans have to root for the Yankees, right?

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We’ve talked about the strange rooting interests that crop up late in the season. The unbalanced schedule means that the odds are great that fans of one team will have to root for fans of a division rival.

But not everyone feels that way. This AP report set out to find some Boston fans and to ask them whether they’re doing what logic suggests is wise: root for the Yankees over the Rays this week. The answer is not a unanimous one:

“Absolutely not. Anybody that’s going to beat the Yankees, I don’t care,” said Pat Smith, a plumber from Cambridge who watched the Red Sox lose to the Orioles on Monday afternoon — their 12th loss in 15 games. “Even if it hurts the Sox. You never root for the Yankees. I’m sorry. I don’t care” … “You’ve got to root for the Rays,” said Ted Sellars, a grocery manager from the Boston area. “You can’t root for the Yankees. Ever! Ever! Ever!”

I suppose rooting for a rival is hard. And it can make you ashamed of yourself if things don’t work out (see, me last night, rooting for Roy Halladay to beat the Cardinals and then feeling dirty about it when he lost).  But man, how do you not hope against hope that the Rays lose this week?  Even if you’re a plumber from Cambridge?

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.