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Brian Cashman signs letter endorsing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

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A lot of people tell me to stick to sports and to leave politics out of it. I get that and I have tried to ratchet back a bit here compared to the way I used to be. I mean, on Twitter I’m still a full-on obsessive and I’m probably insufferable, but in this space I’ve made an effort to limit it to stories where there is a clear, relevant connection between the social/political matter at issue and baseball.

Like any addict, though, I’m prone to backsliding. When you offer up a story about the GM of the New York Yankees signing a letter endorsing Donald Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee it’s like putting a bottle of Colonel Kwik-E-Mart Kentucky Bourbon in front of Lionel Hutz. From the Daily News:

The Yankees GM signed a letter endorsing Brett Kavanaugh, the conservative stalwart who if confirmed by the Senate will further shift the court to the right in the midst of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s sudden departure from the bench . . . Cashman and Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Prep at the same time in the 1980s, along with current Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

That last sentence is a reminder that, for all of our talk about ours being a classless society, the country is run, more or less, by a group of people who went to the same half dozen prep schools and who, if they all met up at once, could fit into a Double-A baseball stadium.

Anyway: don’t tell me to stick to sports when Brian Cashman won’t.

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.