Baseball was an integral part of our nation’s healing after the tragedy of 9/11, and as it has done every year on the anniversary of those attacks, baseball will honor the memory of those lost on that day.
Today there will be on-field tributes at all 15 parks hosting games, with players, coaches and umpires, wearing an American flag patch on the side of their caps (the Blue Jays will have an American flag on one side, Canadian flag on the other). Special lineup cards will be used for each game. Home clubs will mark the anniversary with pregame ceremonies, including a moment of silence, and the “We Shall Not Forget” MLB silhouetted batter ribbon will be displayed throughout ballparks. Today at 12:30 PM MLB Network will re-air the “Nine Innings From Ground Zero” special about the Yankees-Diamondbacks World Series which took place after the attacks.
The caps, as has been the case for a few years, will be available for sale at MLB.com, with 100% of the net proceeds being donated to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York, the Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown, Pa., and the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.
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: