There’s a good story in the Washington Post today about Ian Desmond’s wife Chelsey and their two young children and the challenges faced by wives and family members of baseball players.
It’ll likely inspire some mixed feelings in you. The Desmonds are, after all, rich, and however logistically difficult it is to keep a family together during a major league baseball season, they don’t have it tough like military families (as Ian Desmond notes) or people who have to struggle to put food on the table, often moving great distances or being away from their families for extended periods do.
But that’s not the point here. The Desmonds aren’t complaining about their lot. The story is more about relaying what it is ballplayers and their families go through to get as much quality family time they can during the season and to show how much of the burden of all of that falls on the wives given the players’ commitments. While this may not inspire sympathy or anything from you, it is an interesting look at a part of the game that we don’t often see.
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: