Roberts talks about Markakis

I've never been a huge fan of the Home Run Derby. If it has any shot at holding my attention, either the baseballs or the players need to be juiced again.

But seriously ...

Todd Frazier advances to the finals after hitting one home run? Somebody cork this competition.

I can't endorse a home run contest that doesn't include Giancarlo Stanton in the last round. That's a fly ball in the ointment.

Nice showing by Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, who advanced to the second round and would have won it all if long foul balls counted. He was more patient than I anticipated and he clearly had fun with it.

As long as we're focusing on the All-Star Game and its assorted festivities, add former Oriole Brian Roberts to the list of people who wish Nick Markakis could experience all of it.

"We joke about that. Not joke, but we talk about it," said Roberts, who returned to Camden Yards as a Yankee for the first time over the weekend. "It's crazy. He's one of those guys who probably could have been on it every single year and hasn't made it any year. You know? I mean, darn near.

"It's like, he's one of those guys whose numbers are mostly the same all the time and he always seems to get beat out by people who have their career year or something. And that's the tough part when you're so consistent and you never put up one of those first halves where everybody's like, 'My goodness, he has 25 homers at the break,' or whatever. He just always did the same thing. And the same thing was always really good. So, it's kind of a bummer to me.

"Not that it's all that important to any of us who played in an All-Star Game, but I just would have liked for him to experience it once. I don't think anybody ever complains about the four days off. But I would have liked to see him experience it just once."

Markakis is in the final guaranteed year of his contract. He's the longest-tenured Oriole, a title that belonged to Roberts before he signed his one-year deal with the Yankees over the winter.

Roberts never imagined that he'd leave the organization that drafted him in 1999. It wouldn't be any easier for Markakis.

"I always said I never knew how difficult it was. I knew it would be if I ever had to, but I never knew for sure," Roberts said.

"Going through it, in some ways it wasn't as hard as I thought. In other ways it was harder than I thought. When it comes to going in a locker room and getting to know guys, you're going to fit it. That part is really not that hard. But it's just everything else. Not moving back in your house, finding a place to rent or finding another place, or going to a different spring training. Those are the things that I think honestly are at times a lot more difficult than from 7 o'clock to 10 o'clock, because once you put a uniform on and you're in that organization, you know what your job is and you're fully committed to that. But it's all the other stuff that you don't think about sometimes."

I asked Roberts about Markakis' place in Orioles history, what the right fielder has meant to the franchise.

"I think Nick's obviously going to eventually, whether that's the end of this year or six more years or whatever it is, go down as certainly one of the best players who ever played in his organization and wore the uniform," Roberts said. "He's one of those guys that, he just kind of keeps his mouth shut, plays baseball, goes about his business. He's great in the community. He lives here, he loves the city, loves the people. And when you look at his numbers on a year in, year out basis, everybody that I talk to around the league, they're like, 'He's just a really, really good player.' And everybody knows it."

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