Skin cancer is a big danger for ballplayers, coaches and scouts

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James Wagner of the Washington Post talks about a really important issue that doesn’t get much mention: baseball and skin cancer. Players, coaches and scouts are outside in the sun an awful lot and, as such, skin cancer is a major risk. Wagner talks with a number of baseball men who are skin cancer survivors and who talk about the precautions they take.

As Wagner notes, Major League Baseball is pretty proactive about prevention these days. Whenever you walk into a clubhouse one of the first things you notice is that there is sunscreen everywhere. In spring training you can’t walk around in the morning without seeing guys applying and reapplying sunscreen before heading out onto the fields. Baseball also partners with dermatologists for annual skin cancer checks. It’s a good thing.

As a fair complected person with no hair and many family members who have had skin cancer, I try to do my best to always wear a cap when I’m outside. But even I’m sometimes lax on the sunscreen and I know how easy it is to just overlook it. I see people at ballparks — or out running or doing yardwork or whatever — with no shirts on. I feel like, in general, people are just not very good with this. We should get better.

Good for Wagner for reminding us of this and for ballplayers for setting a good example we should all strive to follow.

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.