On this day in 1988: Twins teammates brawled on a lawn

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This story is well known among Minnesotans, but I figured non-Twins fans might be amused by what happened on this date in 1988 (via the Chicago Tribine archive):

A personality conflict turned into a fistfight between Minnesota Twins left-fielder Dan Gladden and second baseman Steve Lombardozzi, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The altercation apparently took place Thursday night at Gladden`s home.

Lombardozzi arrived for Friday’s game with a black eye and scratches down the swollen left side of his face. Gladden suffered a cracked bone in his right ring finger. Neither of the combatants would comment Sunday. Manager Tom Kelly said he was aware of the incident. The problems between the players came to a head during Wednesday’s 9-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox when Kelly used a pinch-hitter for Lombardozzi.

Sources said Lombardozzi became upset and went to the clubhouse, a move that didn’t sit well with a couple of players, including Gladden. Lombardozzi is said to have gone to Gladden’s home to settle the differences when the fight started.

“They settled it like men,” Kelly said. “My understanding is that everything’s hunky dory.”

More like “little boys” than “men” really, but either way. Imagine a story like that happening today (and not involving Miguel Olivo).

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.