How air travel opened up the continent for Major League Baseball

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A great post from Jack Moore, looking at a couple of older publications — and adding his own insight — into how easier air travel opened up the country for Major League Baseball.

The best takeaway? How anger at the Dodgers and Giants for leaving New York in 1958 is misguided. Loyalty never had anything to do with it. They just did first what other teams, had they acted more quickly and decisively, certainly would have done:

Baseball has always been in the business of making money. Owners and teams were not comfortable to remain in any one city out of the goodness of their hearts. They were never beholden to the fans. The logistics simply weren’t there. And once the logistics were in place, following the post-war airplane boom, it was the bottom line and nothing else that demanded expansion.

Also a great anecdote in there about an early flight involving the Yankees which was nothing short of harrowing. It’s enough to put you in mind of George Costanza’s comments to Keith Hernandez.

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.