Reworked Home Run Derby showed it was time for a change in annual competition

Baseball's intrigue is supposed to be all about being timelessness, so who would have though that a time clock could have been so valuable to a baseball event? The Home Run Derby, created in 1985 at Minnesota's Metrodome, was reborn with energy, excitement and drama Monday night in Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. The best thing that ever happened to the derby was the buzzer-beating ... read more

O's All-Stars hoping to return from Cincinnati with memories aplenty

Manny Machado spent part of Sunday preparing for his All-Star trip to Cincinnati. He was folding his No. 13 gray Orioles uniform, trying on his orange glove and packing his Orioles duffle. The 2015 All-Star bag was going to Cincinnati empty, but the plan is to return with it full of memorabilia. At 23, Machado, the Orioles' youngest leadoff batter since Paul Blair in 1965, ... read more

Handicapping the major awards at the midpoint of the season

As the All-Star Game approaches, here are candidates for baseball's major awards based on the the first half of play: * AL Manager of the Year: A.J. Hinch, Houston; Joe Girardi, New York, Paul Molitor, Minnesota. ... Any of these could win the award, but Hinch is leading Houston's turnaround with two starters, Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh, and a lineup that doesn't have a ... read more

Breaking down All-Star teams selection process

Just to be clear, it is true that Major League Baseball's selection process for the All-Star teams is confusing. So, let's make it easy in four steps: First, the fans vote for nine starters in the American League and eight in the National League, the AL getting one more because of the designated hitter. Then, the players determine nine AL backups and eight NL backups ... read more

A look at one American League All-Star team ballot

The American League All-Star team will be announced Sunday. Here's a ballot where the starters' common thread is bounceback seasons: First base: Prince Fielder, Texas At 31, Fielder, who leads the majors in multi-hit games, is contending for the AL batting title after a neck injury limited him to 42 games and three home runs last season. This year, he hit his 300th home run, ... read more

A look at one National League All-Star team ballot

Here's one ballot for the National League All-Star team, which will be announced Sunday by Major League Baseball: First base: Paul Goldschmidt, ArizonaThe Diamondbacks are one of the best run-producing teams in the NL, and Goldschmidt might be the best player in team history. He's an excellent defensive player who hits with power and gets on base more than 47 percent of the time. And, ... read more

Will rotation problems around major leagues lead to early trades?

With a month to go before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Orioles and Nationals are surging, but each could use help. In addition to health, the Nationals' biggest need is bullpen help that bridges the rotation to closer Drew Storen. The Orioles' bullpen is fine, but will they trade for a bat or pick up a starter that they can control for a ... read more

Longtime Oriole Nick Markakis is enjoying his transition to the National League

After nine seasons with the Orioles, outfielder Nick Markakis is running into all kinds of firsts with the Atlanta Braves, none more challenging than facing two of the baseball's best lefties - Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner - for the first time on the same road trip. Markakis, a left-handed batter, had a single and double against Kershaw, the Dodgers' three-time National League Cy Young ... read more