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Bryce Harper: Phillies fans not as rude as fans of Mets, Braves

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Speaking to the media as All-Star Game festivities were under way in Miami, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper dropped a bombshell. Per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, he said that Phillies fans were not as rude as fans of the Mets and Braves.

There are several possible explanations Philly fans haven’t been as rude to Harper. Perhaps the reputation of Philly fans has been greatly exaggerated. (It has.) The Phillies have been terrible since 2013, so enthusiasm is at its lowest since the early 2000’s. While the Braves haven’t been anything to write home about recently, they have been competitive in the recent past, so there’s just a bit more animus at relevant Nats players. Maybe most importantly, Philly fans may also be aware that Harper can become a free agent after the 2018 season. The Phillies will have tons of money to spend, so Philly fans don’t want to do anything to sour Harper on a potential move up I-95.

It’s not like Harper hasn’t had beef with the Phillies and the fans. Then-Phillie Cole Hamels hit Harper with a pitch in May 2012. After the game, Hamels straight up admitted he was trying to hit Harper intentionally. Hamels was suspended five games. Harper took a jab at Philly fans a couple weeks later, saying, “Hopefully they don’t throw any batteries at me.”

That wasn’t the only thing Harper had to say on Monday, though. He also suggested a potential alteration to the All-Star Game in which two captains draft teams. He imagined Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw potentially pitching to teammate Justin Turner. Interesting.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.