Bryce Harper cranks it up to 11 in GQ interview

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Will Leitch interviewed Bryce Harper for GQ, and the interview just went live.  It’s fantastic.  If for no other reason than the picture of Harper with a baseball in his mouth right at the top.

But it can also be summed up with Leitch’s observation that “Harper seems to have emerged fully formed to piss off the baseball establishment.”

Highlights:

  • “When I hit the ball…I do want to hurt it … I want to play the game hard. I want to ram it down your throat, put you into left field when I’m going into second base.”
  • “Playing football… I’m getting chills just thinking about it. That first knock of the game, you are going on kickoff and you are just trying to smack somebody just as hard as you can. That’s how I play baseball. I want to hit you. I want to run your ass over. Sorry.”
  • “baseball needs more superstars.”
  • And a quote from Mike Schmidt:  “I would think at some point the game itself, the competition on the field, is going to have to figure out a way to police this young man.”

Harper is one of the most interesting young players to have emerged in my lifetime.  If he lives up to the hype — or even comes close to living up to it — he’s going to be one of the most astounding things the game has ever seen. Pete Rose meets Muhammad Ali, maybe.

And if he doesn’t, God help the guy who has to do the article in which a 30-something Harper talks about how full of piss and vinegar he was when he was 19 and how he wishes he hadn’t said some of the things he said.

For now, though: Mercy. I’m kinda excited.

Sean Manaea pitches the first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.