NEW YORK - The roll call from the bleacher creatures at Yankee Stadium has lost its appeal with this lineup.
Instead of the fans in the center field bleachers chanting "De-rek Je-ter" until the future Hall of Famer turns and waves his glove - something I always looked forward to on my visits here - we're subjected to "Cruz, Cruz, Cruz." No offense to Luis Cruz, but it's a poor substitution.
Same with "Da-vid Ad-ams."
Might be time to shelve that tradition until the bigger names return.
Anyway, Nick Markakis singled in the first inning tonight, raising his average to .294 with 17 doubles, eight homers and 43 RBIs.
Markakis tumbled to fourth among American League outfielders in All-Star voting. The starters will be revealed Saturday evening. Markakis has never been chosen to the Midsummer Classic.
"Maybe he'll get back to three," said manager Buck Showalter.
"I think everybody is pulling for him. I know his teammates are. Nicky's never been the type of guy that would admit it would mean something. He'd say, 'Well, I'll get to spend the time with my two boys and my wife,' who is due here shortly. And he'd be fine with that. Nicky's not into self-satisfaction. He sincerely cares about us doing well.
"He'd never say it publicly, but I think it would mean as much to us as it would to him. Everybody pulls for him. He's good, solid, real sincere. There's not a lot of bells and whistles to him. He's just solid. You can count on him and you know what you're going to get from him every day. And you'd love to see that get rewarded, but I'm sure there's a lot of other managers that have players that they'd like. Not many of them fit the mold of Nick, though."
The Orioles figure to have at least three starters - outfielder Adam Jones, first baseman Chris Davis and shortstop J.J. Hardy. The club hasn't had more than three since 1970, when Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, Davey Johnson and Boog Powell were in the AL lineup, but Palmer and Johnson weren't voted in that year.
"Does it help us win more games? No. So that's kind of ... the way I'd look at it," Showalter said. "But more than anything, I'd like to see them get rewarded and realize there's recognition for what they're doing. I tell you, the fans have done a pretty good job of this. It'd be hard to argue with a lot of their picks. I'm sure somebody could and will and that's part of it, too.
"I did my balloting. Over and over."
Yankees starter Ivan Nova may have voted for Matt Wieters, considering how the Orioles catcher has such success against him.
Wieters, who took early batting practice today, hit a two-run homer to left field to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Wieters is 10-for-22 with four homers and seven RBIs lifetime against Nova. He entered tonight's game in a 6-for-42 slump that included only three RBIs in his last 13 games.
Wieters' last home run came on June 24 vs. the Indians. He's hit eight career home runs in New York, the most of any road city.
Eight of Wieters' 11 homers this season have come from the left side of the plate.
Update: Miguel Gonzalez retired the first two Yankees in the fourth inning before Vernon Wells singled. Lyle Overbay walked with the count full and Luis Cruz delivered an RBI single to left field.
Wells barely beat the throw from left fielder Nate McLouth. An extremely close play at the plate.
Gonzalez hadn't permitted a hit since Brett Gardner's leadoff double in the first. He retired 11 of 12.