Nationals ink Bryce Harper to $9.9 million contract

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After plenty of give and take, the Nationals signed first-overall pick Bryce Harper to a major league deal worth a guaranteed $9.9 million prior to Monday’s midnight deadline.
According to ESPN.com, Harper gets a $6.25 million signing bonus, though that will be paid over a five-year span. He’ll receive salaries of $500,000 in 2011 and 2012, $750,000 in 2013, $900,000 in 2014 and $1 million in 2015.
It’s a modest surprise that Harper settled for less than $10 million after Stephen Strasburg got $15.1 million a year ago. Harper, though, did get the major league deal he desired. He’ll go on to the 40-man roster immediately. No word yet, but it’d be no surprise if the arrangement guaranteed him a September callup next year.
The $9.9 million figure does top Mark Teixeira’s $9.5 million deal from 2001, which was the previous high water mark for a position player coming out of the draft.

If there is an ALCS Game 7, Ric Flair will call out “Play Ball!”

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I don’t really care who wins the ALCS, but part of me wants to see it go seven games now. Why? Because if the Astros win tonight and force a Game 7, the series will be visited by a Rolex-wearin,’ kiss-stealin,’ wheelin-dealin,’ limousine ridin,’ jet flyin,’ son of a gun, jack! From the Chronicle:

The Astros-Yankees American League Championship Series gets to a Game 7, the Astros will have pro wrestling superstar Ric Flair call out “Play Ball!” before the game in a video message. Astros right fielder Josh Reddick is a huge wrestling fan and uses Flair’s entrance music every time he steps to the plate at Minute Maid Park. Fans also have adopted the wrestler’s “Woo!” yell throughout the season.

That’s pretty cool. It’d be even cooler if it ended with a Dusty Finish.