Former Braves’ closer John Rocker was made infamous when he went on a xenophobic rant in Jeff Pearlman’s now-immortal SI profile way back when. And in recent years he’s popped up here and there to say something kinda crazy and reactionary.
Now he’s a political commentator for World Net Daily, where he offers columns about how immigrants should speak English and how big government is gonna get you. But even if I don’t share his views there, I’ll give the guy credit for philosophical consistency. He doesn’t just believe that government should stay out of business and stuff. He believes it should stay out of the bedroom and the home as well.
Here he is talking to Politico on gay marriage:
“Am I someone that thinks that I have the right to sit back and judge someone that I don’t know, will never meet, on how they should live their life or what rights they can have to live their life the way they want to? I don’t think I deserve that responsibility.”
And on abortion:
“Obviously, conservatives would look at me cross-eyed and argue vehemently with me, but I just don’t think one man can tell another man how they can live their life within the confines of moral decisions.”
Like I said, I don’t think John Rocker and I would agree on almost anything if we sat down to discuss politics. But I’ll say that, after years of treating him like a punchline, he deserves a little more credit. Not because his views here on a couple of issues hew more closely to mine, but because, if he is writing these columns himself, there is actually some thought put to them and a form of intellectual consistency to them that I admire.
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: