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Angel Hernandez, Joe West are All-Star umpires

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Speak of the Angel.

Major League Baseball announced that Angel Hernandez will be one of the All-Star Game umpires. He’ll cover first base and will be reunited with his former crew chief, Joe West, who will work home plate. Mark Carlson  will cover second, Chris Conroy has third, Manny Gonzalez left field and Mike Estabrook will be in right. The replay umpire will be Doug Eddings.

The official scorers will be Miami-based scorer Ron Jernick, Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. If they disagree on a call, they fight. I guess. I don’t know.

Anyway, I doubt Hernandez’s assignment has anything to do with his lawsuit. To be honest, I wonder if most umpires even like getting assigned to the All-Star Game given that it’s one of the few breaks they otherwise get all season. Remember: when you’re an ump, every game is on the road.

Kyle Schwarber narrowly escapes Alex Bregman to advance in Home Run Derby

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Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber thought his 16 home runs would be enough to take down Astros third baseman Alex Bregman in the first round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. He was right, but Schwarber just barely escaped Bregman.

Because Schwarber hit two home runs that went 440 feet or longer, he unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time, which proved quite necessary. Schwarber added a couple of home runs to his total before giving way to Bregman.

Bregman, who had 20 home runs in the first half, hit a lot of line drives, peppering the stands in left field with home runs. He seemed to have enough time to at least tie Schwarber as the clock ran out. With his final swing, Bregman hit a fly ball to left-center that fell about three feet shy of tying Schwarber at 16. Bregman did not hit any home runs 440 feet or longer. Alas, Bregman was eliminated.

The Schwarber-Bregman round was thrilling and tense. While the four-minute clock isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, it is undeniably what made this round so fun. If you’re not watching the Home Run Derby, you’re really missing out on some enjoyable baseball-adjacent stuff.