Wait, how is this A-Rod’s fault again? Brian Cashman was clearly out-of-line

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I know everyone hates A-Rod and he’s history’s worst monster and everything, but I’m really struggling to see how this latest flap — let’s call it The STFU Affair — is being spun as “here goes A-Rod again!” instead of “wow, Brian Cashman was really out of line there.”

And make no mistake, that’s how it’s being spun already. I’ve yet to see the usual columnists weight in — I’m sure Lupica and the rest will have fun things to say about this, all of which portray A-Rod as the beast here — but when even the normally even-handed and sharp Mark Feinsand of the Daily News is saying “Only Rodriguez could turn a positive story into a negative one this quickly,” you know that this is going to turn into yet another “A-Rod is the worst” fest.

Which is insane to me.

A-Rod’s transgression here: tweeting that he was ready and eager to play:

No, that message had not yet been approved for release by the Yankees yet, but (a) it was already news that was being reported by papers on Monday; and (b) is not something all that unusual in baseball. We often hear of players saying X about their readiness to rehab or come off the DL or whatever while the team says Y. We saw it in Washington just this past week with Bryce Harper. We see it many times a year. It’s something which is less-than-decorous, but it’s an inside-baseball kind of thing. Team officials care about it because they like to control the messaging for understandable reasons. The media may make note of it because any player-team disconnect is newsworthy. But about zero fans care about such things in the normal course and it’s never, ever cast as some scandalous statement.

On the other hand we have a general manager of a team telling his player, through the media, to “shut the f— up.” Think about that: when has that happened in the past? Under what circumstances is it ever considered appropriate for a boss to profanely excoriate his employee, be it privately, in front of people or, as in this case, in the press? If your boss told someone in your office that you should “shut the f— up” I don’t feel like you’d say “well, I did bring this on myself.” You’d be outraged and rightfully so. Your boss would probably be reprimanded.

Put any other player in A-Rod’s shoes here and any other GM in Cashman’s and the GM would be the one under fire here, not Alex Rodriguez.  It’s not that way though because A-Rod is everyone’s favorite punching bag. That’s the only reason Cashman isn’t the one being raked over the coals here, as he should be. It’s just the latest example of A-Rod Derangement Syndrome.

Bryce Harper defeats Kyle Schwarber 19-18 to win the 2018 Home Run Derby

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Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.

Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.

Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.

As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.